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What are some steps involved in becoming an ICD-9 medical coder?

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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.

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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.

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