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Deciding between medical coding and LPN



I'm not fully decided on what I want to do woth my life so I decided to go to technical college and pick one of their programs. I've narrowed it down bwtween these two. Any pros/cons of either one?

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 44 years experience.

Medical coding means all you can ever do is coding.

LPN means you can work in a variety of places- nursing homes, clinics, home health, group homes, Summer camps, assisted living.

Look on any employment website and compare number of postings for LPN versus coding. That will give you your answer. When I talked about coding my daughter warned me off informing me the hospital systems outsource their coding operations overseas just like companies did with their computer and customer service support years ago. My brother got caught up in that and had to find another line of work. Besides, LPN can turn into RN in the future. Much more opportunity for employment.


Specializes in EMS, LTC, Sub-acute Rehab. Has 6 years experience.

Most positions are low paying to start.

Working for physicians in private are not inclusive to just coding. They will require you to perform other administrative tasks such as scheduling patients, answering phone, submitting claims, verifying insurances, and billing.

The best paying positions require experienced coders who are specialized in Neurosurgery, Cardiology, Hospital, Diagnostic Imaging and the other medical specialties. Some companies offer remote/telework situations.

Billing software is becoming more integrated with EMR and Practice Management Software reducing the need for basic coders. Some software companies offer turn-key solutions and handle the back office billing and coding tasks as a portion of their contract. So you may not be directly employed by the health care provider or facility.

Many companies are outsourcing abroad. Physicians are also becoming more savvy b/c coding is tied to reimbursement. If the physician is coding claims, he/she really just needs a biller who can verify the codes before submitting the claims.

Coding is not going away anytime soon. So there will be a need for coders. But I'd consider looking at other options unless you plan to use it as a stepping stone to higher aspirations.

I used to work as a coder and biller before I became an LPN. That experience eventually helped me land a job as Authorizations Nurse in Utilization Management and Review.