Degree for Medical Coding: What Do You Need to Be a Medical Coder?

Degree for Medical Coding: What Do You Need to Be a Medical Coder?

Medical biller and coders work in physician’s offices, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

They encode medical information for medical records, and for use in filing insurance claims. Medical billers also implement billing and collection procedures, establish payment arrangements, and research billing discrepancies.

In the 2020s, most medical coders and billers work remotely. Coders and billers earn a decent salary, so this job is considered desirable.

Fortunately, you don’t need a four-year degree to work as a biller and coder. While you don’t need a four-year degree, obtaining a specific degree for medical coding can elevate your expertise and potentially your marketability in the job market. In most states, you can earn a certificate program to be qualified to work as a medical coder and biller. The requirements for medical coding vary by state, but most employers favor candidates who have at least completed a targeted training program.

Below, we’ll look at the requirements for working as a medical biller and coder.

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Medical Coder or Medical Biller?

It is not a state or federal requirement that you have a degree to work as a medical coder or biller. The State of California does not require certification to work as a medical coder or biller, but most employers are looking for certified candidates. If you're wondering what degree do you need for medical coding, it's important to know that while not always mandatory, a specialized associate's degree can significantly strengthen your credentials.

Healthcare offices and hospitals rely on revenue to stay open, pay for supplies, and to make payroll. Medical coders and medical billers play a crucial role in in the revenue cycle, ensuring that the medical office is paid by the insurance companies and the patients. The medical records must also be properly encoded so the healthcare office can pass compliance.

Because this is work that must be precise, accurate, and carried out in a timely manner, healthcare employers seek candidates who are ready to work from the very first day. Employers want billers and coders who can step right into the job and work efficiently, without delays, at a high level of accuracy.

For this reason, most medical offices look for candidates with certification in medical coding and billing.

Are There Advantages to Getting a Medical Coding Degree?

If you want to level up your earning potential, you'll want to focus on medical coding certifications. Degree programs are not the same thing, and healthcare employers look for what certifications you have earned.

Not only does medical coding and billing certification give you a practical advantage in getting a job, but it may also help you get a better salary.

A 2021 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the median salary for all medical records specialists (coders and billers) was $46,660.[1] A 2022 salary survey by the American Association of Professional Coders found that medical coders with a CPC certification earned a median salary of $58,895. This data suggests a correlation between medical coding and billing certification and higher median salary.

The AAPC survey also shows a correlation between more coding certifications and higher median salary.

Why are Highly-Trained Billers and Coders Important?

Without medical billers and coders doing their job correctly, the revenue cycle of the medical facility is disrupted.

Medical coders take all the details from a patient visit, including the procedures, diagnosis, treatments, and prescriptions, and turn that into a medical record using universal medical codes. Each of the codes corresponds to an action, evaluation, treatment, or other detail of the patient visit. This information is saved in an electronic health record (EHR), and then sent to the medical biller.

The medical biller takes the coded report and sends it to the insurance company. They work as the point of contact between the insurers, the medical office, and the patients. It is up to the medical biller to make sure the correct information is sent to the insurance company, so the medical office can be properly compensated. Once the insurance company pays their portion, the remaining amount is the patient’s responsibility. The medical biller is responsible for sending notifications to the patients and following up to make sure they pay their portion of the medical bill.

Medical coders and billers have important work within the healthcare industry. Without their efforts, medical offices would not be able to stay open and provide healthcare services.

Minimum Requirements

In most states, a high school diploma or GED is the only immutable requirement for working as a medical biller and coder. However, as previously stated, most healthcare offices are looking for candidates who have completed a training program for medical coding and billing certification.

How Long Does It Take to Train to Become a Medical Biller and Coder?

You can complete a training program to become a Medical Biller and Coder in about 10 months. Campus has an online training program that helps students become a certified Medical Biller and Coder.

Medical coding and billing training programs can vary in length – some are a little shorter in length, and some take up to two years to complete. Most medical coding training programs can be completed in less than a year.

High-quality training programs will feature an externship at a medical office, where students will receive hands-on experience. Ideally, in this externship, students will perform administrative, billing and coding processes under the supervision of an office manager or medical billing manager and receive feedback on their performance.

Can You Pursue a Degree for Medical Coding Online?

Yes, many schools offer medical coding and billing degrees and certifications online. has a Medical Billing and Coding Professional certification program that is entirely online.

Start Your Medical Billing and Coding Career Today

Campus offers a Medical Billing and Coding certification program that can be completed in less than 10 months. This class is entirely online, so you can complete all the coursework from anywhere you have a computer and broadband connection.

If you see working as a medical billing and coding professional in your future, contact our Admissions department today, and they can answer any questions you have about the program.

[1] Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, formerly known as MTI College, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.