Emergency room coders work in hospitals translating medical descriptions into codes used for medical records and insurance claims. The position usually requires certification and some level of postsecondary education.
Emergency room coding is the practice of translating the names and descriptions of diseases, injuries, diagnoses and medical procedures into codes consisting of numbers and letters. Emergency room coding makes it possible to efficiently classify, retrieve and analyze the medical records of patients and to process health insurance and Medicare claims for prompt and accurate financial reimbursement. ER coders generally need a certificate in the field, though some employers require further education.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree|
|Other Requirements||Most employers prefer professional certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||15%* (for medical records and health information technicians)|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$37,110* (for medical records and health information technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Emergency room coders typically need some postsecondary education, along with one or more certifications from the American Health Information Management Association or the American Association of Professional Coders. Numerous technical schools and 2- and 4-year colleges and universities offer emergency room coding education and training through certificate and associate's degree programs in health information technology and related fields.
Emergency room coders and other medical records and health information technicians had a median income of $37,110 in 2015, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Careers in this area were expected to grow at a brisk rate of 15% over the 2014-2024 time period. As medical technology continues to advance, this career field is expected to adapt and change. The increasing medical needs of the nation's aging population also drives demand for this field.
Emergency room coders work in hospitals, in a clean, well-lighted, weatherproof environment. The BLS notes that more than 80% of the time, they work a full 40-hour week, and they might work overtime. In 24-hour medical facilities, ER coders might work any of three shifts, including nights and weekends.
Emergency room coder jobs have a high expected growth rate due to the continuing technological advances in medicine as well as an aging population. These positions typically require some postsecondary education along with certifications.