Medical Records Coder (Health Information Management)

Career Studies Certificate

PURPOSE: This program is designed to provide the technical knowledge and skills, along with the practical experience, needed for employment as a basic medical records coder. Assisted by specialized computer equipment and software, medical records coders analyze and interpret the patient's record to determine the proper standardized codes that represent the patient's diagnosis and treatment. These codes may be used for billing purposes, to create accurate standardized records, to maintain health statistics. The need for medical records coders will continue to increase as the health field continues to address reimbursement challenges and move toward a focus on quality improvement related to health care services.

OCCUPATIONAL OBJECTIVES: Medical records coders work in hospitals, doctors' offices, insurance companies, and government agencies.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: General college curricular admission

PROGRAM NOTES: In addition to the general college curricular admission requirements, a personal interview with the faculty advisor is required for advising prior to enrollment in the first HIM course. Courses need to be taken in the sequence listed or advised. Students will be required to repeat any course in which a grade lower than "C" is received.

Upon satisfactory completion of this certification program, graduates will be eligible to take the nationally-accredited exam offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Successfully passing the exam and obtaining certification as a medical coder begins the journey towards an in-demand career within the healthcare industry. The designation of Certified Professional Coder (CPC) is the medical coding certification from AAPC that is nationally recognized by employers, physician societies, and government organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical coding is one of the fastest growing professions in the nation and allows certified medical coders to be more marketable and earn more than non-certified coders.

STUDENT OUTCOMES FOR MEDICAL RECORDS CODER CAREER STUDIES CERTIFICATE: Students who complete the Medical Records Coder Career Studies Certificate will be expected to

  • Recognize and implement professional policies and procedures related to the legal and ethical use of medical information;
  • Interpret health record documentation using knowledge of anatomy, physiology, clinical indicators and disease processes, pharmacology, and medical terminology to identify codeable diagnoses and/or procedures, according to the ICD-10-CM and CPT-4 coding systems;
  • Apply knowledge of major reimbursement systems in the United States to the preparation of universal billing claims; and
  • Demonstrate behaviors and dispositions that are in accord with professional ethics, including integrity, respect for privacy, and commitment to professional growth.

COMPUTER COMPETENCY REQUIREMENT: Students in this program must meet the college's computer competency requirement by successfully completing ITE 115 or CSC 155. Students can also meet this requirement by passing the college's computer competency exam administered in the testing centers on each campus, in which they will receive college credit for ITE 115 or CSC 155. Students not passing the computer competency exam may retake the exam. Either ITE 115, CSC 155, or the competency test must be completed in the first semester or students may not progress to the second semester.

FINANCIAL REQUIREMENTS: In addition to the regular college tuition and fees, the medical records coder program requires the purchase of books and/or electronic resources (these costs are approximate and subject to change): books and supplies $1,200.00

NOTE: Graduates seeking CPC certification from AAPC should be aware of the following additional fees: (1) AAPC Student Membership ($175); and (2) CPC national certification examination fee from AAPC is approximately $400.00 for two, in-person attempts or $300.00 for one, online attempt. CPC Certification is not a requirement for graduation from the program.


  1. Students who have a break in their enrollment must meet with a program faculty advisor to review current enrollment requirements. In some cases, students may be required to retake courses or take additional courses required for the program when industry standards have changed.
  2. Any student who receives a final grade lower than "C" in any courses within the program must repeat the course.

ESSENTIAL SKILLS REQUIREMENTS: Students entering the Medical Records Coder certificate program must possess the following skills:

  • Satisfactory speaking, reading, and writing skills to effectively communicate in English in a timely manner.
  • Satisfactory intellectual, emotional, and psychological health and functioning to exercise independent judgment and discretion in performing assigned tasks.
  • Satisfactory time management of multiple priorities and stimuli to operate in fast-paced environments.
  • Sufficient analysis, synthesis, and comprehension skills to follow detailed instructions and effectively code medical charts and records.






SDV 1011

Orientation to Health Science



ITE 1152

Introduction to Computer Applications and Concepts



BIO 1453 Basic Human Anatomy and Physiology 4


HLT 143 Medical Terminology I 3


HIM 141 Fundamentals of Health Information Systems I 3


HIM 110 Introduction to Human Pathology 3


HIM 250 Health Data Classification Systems I: ICT-9/10-CM 4


HIM 255 Health Data Classification Systems II: Current Procedural Technology 3


HIM 257 Health Data Classification Systems III 3


Medical Records Coder Career Studies Certificate 27


1 SDV 100 may be substituted for SDV 101.

2 CSC 155 may be substituted for ITE 115.

3 BIO 141 and BIO 142 may be substituted for BIO 145.

Name Program Email Phone
Phyllis James Medical Records Coder CSC 804/601-4398

Common Job Titles1: Coder; Health Information Clerk; Health Information Specialist; Health Information Technician (Health Information Tech); Medical Records Analyst; Medical Records Clerk; Medical Records Coordinator; Medical Records Director; Medical Records Technician (Medical Records Tech); Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)

Labor Market Statistics (Richmond, MSA)

Projected Employment (2029): 1,046

Current Wage Range (Entry - Experienced): $30,400 - $60,900

1 This program may prepare you for one or more of the listed jobs; however, graduates may not be qualified for all of the jobs listed in this section.

Reynolds Community College makes every attempt to provide students with the best, most accuarate information possible. The data was sourced from external agencies (O*NET and JobsEQ) on January 29, 2020.