The steps to a career as an ICD-9 Medical Coder start with a high school diploma or the equivalent, followed by post-secondary education, ideally a related college degree, and a medical coding certificate or apprenticeship. Coding requires significant knowledge of medical terminology and human physiology, attention to detail, and accuracy.
Education impacts salary potential in the field of medical coding. The majority of medical coders responding to a 2013 salary survey reported salaries of more than $20 per hour and of those reporting a salary of $30 an hour or more, 59 percent held an associate's or bachelor's degree.
While some community colleges and technical schools offer ICD-9 medical coding certificates, optional and highly regarded professional certifications are available. The American Academy of Professional Coders and the American Health Information Management Association provide a process for professional certification as an expert in the field of medical coding. In both cases, credentialing requires some prior on-the-job coding experience and an examination. A certified professional coder apprentice credential is also available for candidates with minimal related work experience.
As of Oct. 1, 2015, the United States is replacing the ICD-9 or International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, with the ICD-10, which provides more specific diagnostic information and measurement of treatment outcomes.