It takes more than proficiency in a highly specialized occupational language to excel as a medical coder. And it takes an outstanding medical coder resume to pursue the best job opportunities available in diverse healthcare and business settings.
If you’re ready for such a career move, Resume.io has the right tips and tools to help you succeed. That includes more than 350 occupation-specific writing guides with corresponding resume examples.
The guide you’re reading now is designed specifically for medical coders. Sample wording from a medical coder resume sample is provided to take you through each step. Here’s an overview:
- A snapshot of what medical coders do and the job market
- Getting started with your medical coder resume, including the framework and format
- Hitting the mark in each resume section: header, summary, work history, education and skills
- Layout and design tips for perfect visual results.
What does a medical coder do?
Not to be confused with the coding function of computer programmers in the familiar IT sense, medical coding nonetheless requires highly specialized knowledge of a complex, precisely defined vocabulary. And while health information technology has revolutionized the occupation in modern times, the social welfare importance of medical coding is nothing new.
Its origins date back to 17th-century England, when statistical mortality data were tracked by numerical codes to determine prevalent causes of death. Later systems evolved to track mortality rates and classify health conditions globally.
The vital healthcare administration role of medical coders today is still relevant to population health data collection. Otherwise, the interconnections they provide between clinical patient information and complicated billing processes are immensely far-reaching. Essentially, it’s a translation task, starting with the documentation of each patient visit by the physicians or other healthcare provider. Standardized numerical codes are applied to every procedure detail pertinent to diagnoses, treatment, prescriptions and medical supplies. From this a claim is created for billing the patient and/or healthcare insurance providers.
According to medicalbillingandcoding.org, about 6 billion individual pieces of coded information are transferred for billing purposes in the U.S. each year. That factors in only five separate pieces of coded information per claim. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data indicates the number of visits to physician offices, hospital outpatient facilities and emergency rooms exceeds 1.4 billion a year.
Medical coders typically are employed in physician’s offices, private clinics, hospitals, outpatient clinics, mental health facilities, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and group practices. Others work in contract and private agency positions — sometimes remotely — consistent with outsourcing trends in healthcare administration.
The U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 9% job growth for medical coders and medical records specialists from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the occupational average.
How to write a medical coder resume
No codes need to be cracked when it comes to using the same standard framework recommended for all resumes. Your medical coder resume should include these essential elements, fitting on a single page.
- Summary (sometimes called profile or personal statement)
- Employment history
Where you do need to take a slightly different approach depends on each job you apply for and the workplace. That means every version of your medical coder resume should be tweaked to fit the employer’s explicit requirements and expectations.
Helpful cues and clues usually come from the posted job description. Look closely for certain keywords that stand out — including those specific to your medical coding qualifications. Try to match these keywords precisely in your resume wording.
Search further online for more insight into the hiring organization — core values, corporate culture and communication style.
By striving to customize your medical coder resume accordingly, you can likely optimize it at the same time for the applicant tracking systems (ATS) that many healthcare organizations use to electronically filter online job applications.
Choosing the best resume format for a medical coder
In most instances, the chronological resume format will work just as well for medical coders as it does for other job seekers. It’s the most commonly applied resume format and preferred by recruiters. You’ll find it quite simple and straightforward to list your work experience highlights under employer headings, in reverse order from most recent to earliest dates.
If your occupational background is less straightforward, take a look at other resume formats. Functional or hybrid resumes may be suitable for someone pursuing freelance opportunities, or for those shifting careers.
Stand out in the crowd of medical coder applicants with a resume header that’s distinctively yours. As someone whose job is to uncomplicate and organize mind-boggling amounts of information for multiple end uses, you can show your regard for reader-friendliness here, right off the top.
A header that’s both attractive and functional will direct attention to the right place on the page where your name, occupation and contact information is easily remembered and retrieved. Make the impact consistent with a visually matched resume and cover letter pair.
Resume summary example
As a tersely telling overview of your most relevant qualifications, it should suggest ways that the employer could benefit with you on board. Take your future boss’s perspective of the ideal hire — where does your experience and expertise fit?
And what about your personality and purpose? Let relatable facets shine through in the summary’s narrative writing format. Medical coding is more than a great-with-numbers gig for someone toiling quietly in a corner. Find a way to convey here the “whys” of what you do and the ethical obligations you’re committed to uphold. Use conversational language to demonstrate interpersonal ease and poise.
Below is a medical coder resume sample summary you can customize.
Certified Professional Medical Coder (CPC) with experience in physician’s offices and ambulatory surgery centers. Adept in assigning accurate Evaluation and Management (E&M) codes, ICD diagnoses, current procedural terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) for all outpatient encounters.
Employment history sample
Be selective here in showcasing your most directly relevant work experience, appealing to the hiring organization’s needs. Consider the likelihood that many other contenders for this job will take a more generic approach, giving you a strong advantage.
You have another occupational advantage in being able to quantify so many aspects of medical coding in relation to successful outcomes: data volume increases, improved efficiencies, cost savings, productivity gains and error reductions. Those are the kinds of employment history highlights that should take precedence in this resume section.
Be sure they are described as beneficial contributions and accomplishments, rather than “responsible for” job duties. And the more facts and figures you can use to support measurable results, the better to impress recruiters.
Below is a medical coder employment history resume sample you can modify.
Medical Coder, Sledmore Health Center New York
Oct 2019 - Jun 2022
- Ensured compliance with established coding guidelines, third party reimbursement policies, regulations, and accreditation guidelines.
- Worked a flexible 8 hour shift schedule, including overtime and weekends.
- Managed a variety of complex and technical assignments related to medical coding.
- Resolved discrepancies for coding-related issues.
- Reviewed and corrected rejected claims from various third party carriers.
- Tracked all IDX record requests.
- Documented concise notes within the electronic health record according to established standards to facilitate a comprehensive and accurate claim histories.
Medical Coder, Charles Edgar Healthcare
New York May 2014 - Aug 2019
- Prepared and submitted billing data and medical claims via the practice management system.
- Audited clinical documentation and coded data to validate documentation support services performed for reimbursement and reporting purposes.
- Collaborated with providers to develop templates and improve coding.
- Worked to ensure that the medical information for hundreds of patients was accurate and up to date.
- Collected and reviewed referrals and pre-authorizations.
- Examine denials as necessary and recommend appropriate solutions.
- Maintained billing software by updating rate changes.
Medical coder resume education example
With some exceptions, postsecondary education is generally required for medical coder positions. Various certificate and degree programs in health information technology are offered, while other medical coders have a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare-related field, business or psychology.
In any case, these should appear first in your resume’s education section, organized in reverse chronological order from highest to lowest level. High school information should only be included in the absence of post-secondary graduation.
A variety of certifications are available for medical coders, sometimes requiring work experience or graduation from an accredited program. These should be outlined in the education section too, along with any other forms of continuing education or on-the-job training.
Below is the education section from a medical coder resume example.
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Hunter College New York
Sep 2010 - May 2014
CV skills example
First and foremost, the technical abilities that equip you for any medical coder position should appear prominently on your CV skills list. Again, revisit the employer’s job posting for the hard skills that likely count most in this hiring situation. It can be your best opportunity to replicate keywords, including acronyms, if the meaning is clear. This will not only help ATS-proof your resume, but also to show your understanding of employer priorities.
Above all, don’t overlook the soft skills that enable medical coders to shoulder weighty responsibilities with confidence and integrity, when working independently or collaboratively. Try to put your own spin on the most commonly cited attributes related to problem-solving and critical thinking, time management, dedication, commitment to accuracy and thoroughness, and a positive attitude.
Across virtually all occupations and hiring circumstances, recruiters seek assurance of your communication and interpersonal strengths. Medical coding is no exception, according to author Colleen Gianatasio in her American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) article on the importance of soft skills for job applicants.
“Most of the managers I spoke to said multiple certifications don’t carry as much weight as a person who meshes well with the existing team.”
Check out a medical coder CV sample for the skills section below.
- Medical Coding
- Medical Terminology
- Data Entry
- Knowledge of Medicaid and Medicare
- Knowledge of EMR
- Ability to Work in a Team
- Knowledge of HIPPA Laws and Regulations
Resume layout and design
A medical coder’s propensity for perfection should be on full display from the moment recruiters set eyes on your resume page. The spotlessly uncluttered overall appearance is consistent with the orderly, methodical and functional arrangement of information. Readers can find what they’re looking for in the places they expect.
- The layout you’ve chosen connects one resume section to the next in a logically smooth manner.
- White space in the margins and between lines offsets the black text-dense blocks to balanced effect.
- Appropriate body-text fonts , bold titles and lean graphic touches add up to a higher readability score.
All that’s left is error-proofing, and the stakes could not be higher! Enlist one or two proofreaders to scour for mistakes. Watch for inconsistencies too: capitalization, periods ending bullet points, date formats and the like. Revise, correct and proofread again … as many times as flawless takes.
Key takeaways for a medical coder resume
- Rewarding opportunities for medical coders are available in a wide range of healthcare and business settings. Pursuing the most attractive jobs requires a resume that fully showcases your qualifications.
- However extensive your resume content is in that regard, a generic approach will miss the mark. Be sure to tailor a different version to each position and employer, emphasizing your most directly relevant experience and skills.
- Carefully reviewing the posted job description will help you determine which qualifications to pinpoint in your customized resume. It’s also the best source for optimizing keyword use to avoid ATS rejection.
- A medical coder’s impeccable standards for correctness and functionality should be apparent in your resume’s clean and orderly appearance. And with no room for error in your occupation, be scrupulous about proofreading for mistakes and formatting inconsistencies.