Step into a Day as a Medical Biller or Coder | Career Training | The Salter School
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Step into a Day as a Medical Biller or Coder

Category(ies): Health Claims Specialist / Medical Billing and Coding

medical billing and coding training, what does a medical biller and coder doFind out what you would do on a typical day on the job

Medical billing and coding is an important part of the healthcare industry. Medical billing and coding specialists are responsible for coding patient charts, recording information in electronic health records, and processing insurance claims for payment. These professionals can also be called Health Claims Specialists.

If you are interested in learning more about this career field, take a moment to read about what these professionals do. What is a typical day like on the job? What is the workplace like? What kinds of responsibilities would you have in this role?

The start of your shift
As a medical coder, you would be working in an office setting. At the beginning of each day, you will start by reviewing your emails and logging into the network. Once logged in, you will find the list of patient charts that need to be processed.

Each chart will need to be reviewed for certain items. For each chart, you will be responsible for assigning the proper diagnosis codes and procedure codes. These codes are described in three major coding systems that you will learn in medical billing and coding school: The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS).

After you have assigned the proper coding, you will complete and submit an insurance claim form to the patient’s private insurer, Medicaid, Medicare, workers’ comp, or whatever form of insurance the patient might have.

The middle of your day
In a perfect world, you could stay at your desk and simply go through each chart one after the other. But life is never perfect. Most days a complication will come up. You may come across a new procedure or a new diagnosis that you don’t know how to code. You may have to do extra research or ask a more experienced colleague how to handle a certain case. Or you may find charts that have not been filled out completely by the doctors or nurses. You may have to contact the doctor or nurse to find out what services were provided during the patient visit.

With the ICD-10 coding system, which was instituted in 2015, you may find that some coders are still trying to get familiar with the system. This could slow things down, but with time, everyone will get used to the new system. Finding the right codes can sometimes be challenging, but most health claims specialists agree that the “detective work” to find the right code can sometimes be a very satisfying part of the job.

The end of your day
By the end of the day, you will have processed many patient records. Many people like to spend the final minutes of their shift getting ready for the next day. They might organize their emails into folders, straighten up their desk, or write a to-do list of tomorrow’s tasks.

Where you work
Medical billers and coders work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. Most of your day will be spent on a computer. You might have your own cubicle, or you might work in a shared space with other billers and coders. If you are lucky, you might have two monitors so that you can keep patient charts open on one monitor, and use the other monitor to look up codes. Your employer will want you to work quickly. Sometimes you will have a quota to fill by the end of the day. So be ready to work accurately and efficiently!

Who you work with
If you work at a large employer, you could be working alongside dozens of other medical billing and coding specialists. Being a part of a large department like this can be great if you like the camaraderie of working with others. Smaller practices like private doctors’ offices may have only one or two office staff devoted to billing and coding. Some people enjoy being a part of a small office because it may feel more like family.  Whatever you do, your work will be meaningful because it ultimately benefits the patients that you serve.

With this article, we hope you now have a better sense of what it means to be a medical biller or medical coder. For more info about the profession, try 5 Things to Know About Being a Medical Biller or Coder.


The Salter School is proud to offer a Health Claims Specialist program at its Fall River, Malden, and Tewksbury, Massachusetts campuses. Learn more about our medical billing and coding training program today.


The Salter School Malden campus is no longer accepting new enrollments.