Medical Coding Course (2024): Details, Eligibility, Duration, Fees and Certification (India)

Medical Coder: Exploring the Field of Medical Coding

By Vibha Taneja on 14 Dec 2023
7 mins read

Medical Coding Course Highlights

Medical coding course duration6 months to 3 years (Depending on the course level)
Medical coder qualification

Must have completed - 

  • 10+2 from a recognized board
  • Associate degree/bachelor's degree with any specialization
Medical coding course average annual feesINR 20,000 to INR 2,00,000
Medical coder top recruiting fieldsHealthcare services, government agencies, hospitals & clinics, insurance companies, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, etc.
Medical coder average annual salaryINR 1,30,000 to INR 5,00,000

What is Medical Coding?

In the field of Healthcare Administration, medical coding is a rapidly growing and in-demand career. Medical coding is a transformation process as it translates medical information and reports into universal medical alphanumeric codes that are used in the healthcare industry. The medical information or reports can be related to the patient’s condition, a diagnosis, a prescription from a physician, or other medical procedures, services and components.

Medical coding as a profession involves high ethical standards as the patient data they work with is extremely personal. It must be secure, efficient and accurate.

Healthcare Superhero Banein!

Virohan ke expert career counsellor se baat karein aur healthcare me progressive career options ke bare me aur jankari paayein!

Download Virohan myCarrer App for Paramedical Studies

Who is a Medical Coder?

After a medical provider conducts a health assessment or treatment of a patient, the government provider or insurance company needs to understand what was done for processing the bill. It’s the role of the medical coder to pass along this information in a way that is useful and efficient. A medical coder is an individual who translates details and information from a patient’s medical documents, such as physician's notes, lab reports, diagnoses and procedures into useful uniform medical codes which are in accordance with the industry-standards. 

In India the demand for medical coders and medical coding courses is rising exponentially as the global healthcare sector also experiences tremendous growth.

Types of Codes used by a Medical Coder

Medical coding includes a number of code sets, each having a different purpose and understanding them is essential for medical coders. There are three types of universally known medical alphanumeric codes primarily used in healthcare settings by the medical coders:

  • International Classification of Diseases (ICD): WHO or the World Health Organization created this code which is internationally used by the medical coders for medical coding. ICD is largely used for the purpose of data collection and health recording for diagnosing conditions and diseases. These codes are of great significance to medical coders as these can classify symptoms, illnesses, diseases and causes of death.
  • Current Procedural Terminology (CPT): CPT codes in medical coding identify surgical, diagnostic and medical procedures and services. This system was developed for medical coders by the American Medical Association (AMA).
  • Healthcare Common Procedure Coding (HCPCS): The CMS or Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services developed this medical coding system to help with processing insurance claims for various providers such as Medicare. Medical coders use them to note medical equipment, supplies, products, and services. 

Roles and Responsibilities of a Medical Coder

Medical coders are the professionals who decode the patient's medical journey by extracting vital information from their medical records, which may include clinical reports, physician notes, etc. Their role is to assign the appropriate codes to every aspect of a patient's interaction with the healthcare system. These codes are indispensable for a variety of purposes, including insurance claims, billing, research and healthcare quality assessments.

Some of the responsibilities of medical coding jobs include:

  • Collecting, researching, and filing patient medical information
  • Ensuring all medical documents are grammatically correct 
  • Examining medical documents and records for missing information
  • Converting patient information into appropriate medical codes 
  • Complying with medical coding guidelines and policies
  • Conducting chart audits

Medical Coding Course Qualification: Education and Training

If you're intrigued by the world of medical coding and aspire to become a medical coder, the path to this rewarding career involves specific medical coding training, education and the cultivation of essential skills.

In order to become a professional medical coder, one must pursue a medical coding course. This may include doing a certificate, diploma or a degree in medical coding course from an accredited organization/ university/institute. As a part of a medical coding course you can also explore roles that offer on-the-job training or internships to give you a practical edge when you step into the job market.

Medical Coding Course Qualification

To start your career as a medical coder, you'll need a solid educational foundation. The eligibility criteria for pursuing a medical coding course state that a candidate must have completed:

  • 10+2 from a recognized board
  • Associate/bachelor's degree with any specialization

Medical Coding Course Fee

If you're considering a career as a medical coder, one of the first questions that might come to mind is, "What is the medical coding course fees for different types of courses?" The medical coding course varies according to the type and the duration of the medical coder course offered by an institute/university.

The medical coding course fees can range from anywhere between INR 20,000 to INR 2,00,000 per annum.

Note - Different institutions may have different fees, so please make sure you refer to their details at the time of application.

Medical Coding Course Duration

The time it takes to become a medical coder can vary depending on your educational and career goals. Here are the typical time durations associated with different education paths for a medical coder:

Type of Medical Coding CourseMedical Coding Course Duration
Certificate/Diploma6 months to 1 year
Associate/Bachelor's Degree2 to 3 years
Online CoursesVariable; Some online programs offer self-paced learning, allowing you to progress at your own speed. These programs can take several months to a year or more.
Specialized Certifications1 to 2 years

Also Read: DMLT Course

Medical Coding Course Certification

In India, medical coding is an integral part of healthcare operations, especially in hospitals and healthcare service providers that deal with international patients and health insurance claims. Many healthcare organizations in India, including those with international affiliations, recognize and value certifications from reputable organizations like :

  • Practice Management Institute (PMI)
  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)

You may obtain additional specialized medical coding certifications, some of which are given below:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
  • Certified Medical Coder (CMC)
  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
  • Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA)
  • Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC)
  • Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)
  • Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
  • Certified Professional Biller (CPB)
  • Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO)
  • Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner (CDIP)
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Medical Coding and Reimbursement
  • Advanced Coding Specialist
  • Outpatient Coding

These certifications demonstrate your proficiency in medical coding and can significantly enhance your job prospects and earning potential.

Work Settings of Medical Coders

You may assume you know the answer to this question—hospitals, of course! But there are several other settings in which medical coding jobs are available. Medical coding professionals are employed at every place that provides medical services. This includes:

  • Healthcare services: Medical coding consulting services are offered here, ensuring the accuracy of medical records.
  • Government Agencies: Government agencies such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), hire medical coders to review and analyze data for policy development and reimbursement decisions.
  • Hospitals and Clinics: Medical coders are commonly employed in hospitals and clinics, where multiple billing departments require their expertise.
  • Insurance Companies: Insurance companies hire medical coders to verify the accuracy of medical claims from healthcare providers.
  • Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities: Medical coders in these settings handle codes specific to senior services, working in nursing homes, and residential facilities for the elderly.
  • Remote Work: Some medical coders have the flexibility to work remotely, either as full- or part-time employees or as contractors or freelancers.

Career Outlook for Medical Coders

The future looks bright for medical coders! As the healthcare industry continues its rapid expansion, the need for proficient medical coders is on the rise. In fact, the healthcare field is leading the way in creating medical coding jobs.

Medical Coder’s Salary

You might be thinking "How much do medical coders typically earn?" Medical coding salary in India can vary, ranging from Rs.1.3 Lakhs to Rs. 5.0 Lakhs, with an average annual income of Rs. 3.4 Lakhs. Factors such as experience, education and work setting can also contribute to higher medical coding salary ranges.

You now have a basic understanding of the concept of medical coding, the role of medical coders, and their significant contributions to the healthcare sector. The promising job prospects and short path to entry make this an appealing option for those wanting to get a start in the medical field. So if you’re considering taking up this profession, it’s time to begin your preparations!

Note - Different institutions/organizations/employers may have different salary structures, so please make sure you refer to their details on the employers site.

What does medical coding mean?

What is a medical coding salary?

How to become a medical coder?

What does a medical coder do?

What is medical coding course?

What is medical coding job?

Is medical coding a good career?

How to study medical coding?