Nursing is a very noble profession, but with that, it is also a very tough and challenging profession. Once you spend a few years working as a nurse, only then do you realize how hectic and relentless your job as a nurse is. If you are a nurse yourself struggling with serious anxiety and stress due to long shifts, it’s probably the right time for you to make a career shift from a nurse to a nurse coder. To help you with that, we bring you this medical coding for nurses guide in which we will discuss everything about becoming an RN coder in detail. So let’s start:
What is a Registered Nurse Coder?
A registered nurse coder, also commonly known as an RN coder, is a person who is responsible for assigning medical codes to all the healthcare services that a patient gets.
This assignment of medical codes is done to create an insurance claim and get reimbursement from the patient’s insurer.
An RN nurse must review and analyze patient reports and then assign the exemplary ICD and CPT codes for the diagnosis or treatment provided to the patient.
Moreover, a registered nurse coder must plan and implement effective cost strategies to optimize the financial health of the medical practice.
An RN coder can work full-time and part-time in healthcare practices and insurance companies. Moreover, they can work remotely from home as well.
How Can I Become an RN Coder?
1- Enroll in an Accredited Program and Get an ADN/BSN Degree:
The first step to becoming an RN coder is to enroll in an accredited Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
The ADN degree takes two years, while a BSN degree takes four years. You will get the degree once you complete and pass any of the two nursing degree programs.
You need to know that having a BSN degree can help you get a better and high pay job than having an ADN degree.
2- Take the NCLEX Exam and Pass It:
Once you get a BSN or ADN degree, you must take the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX exam is an examination conducted by the National Council Licensure Examination to evaluate the knowledge and competency of a nurse.
You must pass the NCLEX exam to get the state license to work as a registered nurse. Without passing the NCLEX exam, you won’t be able to get a job as a nurse.
3- Gain Some Experience in Clinical Nursing:
After you pass the NCLEX exam and have an ADN or BSN degree, it’s time to get a registered nurse job and gain some clinical nursing experience.
You can start with an entry-level nursing job and then advance to a mid-level clinical position. Working in a big healthcare organization rather than a small clinic practice is recommended if you want to gain a better experience.
4- Get An AAPC Medical Coding Certification:
After working as a certified nurse for a few years, you must get a medical coding certification from AAPC. Currently, AAPC offers four different medical coding certifications you can get.
We recommend you get the CPC certification from AAPC, as it’s the ultimate certification. However, you need at least two years of working experience as a registered nurse to be eligible for CPC certification.
5- Find A Job As An RN Coder:
As soon as you get a medical coding certification from AAPC¸, you are eligible to work as an RN coder. There are various online job boards where you can find job openings for RN coders.
Moreover, you can join the AAPC forum to find relevant employment opportunities as a nurse coder.
How Much Do RN Coders Make in the US?
As of 2023, the average annual salary of an RN coder is around $45,000. On average, you can make $22 per hour as an RN coder in the US.
However, if you are an experienced and qualified RN medical coder, your hourly wage can be up to $30, while your annual salary can be up to $60,000.
Making a career transition from a nurse to an RN coder is good, as it will help you maintain a better work-life balance. Moreover, pursuing a career as a nurse coder will help you grab better-paying jobs. For more insightful blogs regarding medical billing and coding, follow Medtech Providers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long will it take me to become an RN coder?
If you already have a bachelor of science in nursing degree, you can quickly become a medical coder by completing the online medical coding certification course by AAPC. It will take around six months to complete the course; after that, you will be eligible to work as an RN coder.
You can also get the CPC certification by AAPC after working as an RN coder for two years, and it will help you grow more in your career.
How can I gain experience as a registered nurse coder?
Once you complete a medical coding certification or training program, you must find a job as a nurse coder. If you are having difficulty finding a job, you can start with an internship that will ultimately lead you to the job.
AAPC membership can help you land a job or internship as an RN coder. With an AAPC membership, you will have networking access to medical coders across the US.