Clinical Coder Kaiwhakararangi Tohu Hauora

Clinical coders convert information in patient discharge notes into health classification codes. This information is used for research and to plan health funding and services.

Clinical coders may do some or all of the following:

  • analyse patient discharge records to match codes to disease, injuries or medical procedures
  • use coding software to process and code patient discharge records
  • consult with clinical staff, such as doctors, to verify discharge records
  • keep up to date with health classification codes and coding software
  • take part in coding audits and peer reviews
  • answer public queries
  • work with the Ministry of Health to solve coding issues.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for clinical coders includes:

  • work in nursing, medicine, biological sciences or other health services
  • a health-related clerical background such as medical secretary or reception work
  • work in computing and statistics.

Personal Qualities

Clinical coders need to be:

  • good at managing time
  • skilled at problem solving
  • good at seeing patterns
  • excellent communicators, with good people skills
  • responsible, with the ability to keep information confidential
  • accurate, with an eye for detail.


Clinical coders need to have:

  • knowledge of health classification codes
  • knowledge of medical terminology, including anatomy and physiology
  • experience using computers and databases
  • the ability to analyse and interpret medical notes.


Clinical coders:

  • work regular business hours
  • usually work in offices in hospitals.

Clinical Coders can earn around $47K-$63K per year.

Pay for clinical coders varies depending on their experience and qualifications.

  • Trainee clinical coders usually earn $47,000 a year.
  • Qualified clinical coders usually earn between $49,000 and $61,000.
  • Senior clinical coders with extra responsibilities can earn up to $63,000.

Source: PSA/DHBs, 'South Island Administrative Multi-Employer Collective Agreement, 01 February 2016 to 31 January 2019', 2017.

Clinical coders may progress within hospitals to become auditors, data analysts, clinical coding team leaders or coding managers.

Years Of Training

<1 year of training usually required.

There are no specific entry requirements to become a clinical coder. However, employers usually prefer experience and qualifications in medical terminology and in clinical coding.

Medical terminology experience and qualifications

One of the following is preferred:

  • good knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology 
  • completion of the Comprehensive Medical Terminology course, run by the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA), via distance learning 
  • Certificate in Medical Terminology at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).  

Clinical coding qualifications

One of the following is preferred:

  • completion of the Introductory ICD-10-AM Clinical Coding course, run by HIMAA, via distance learning 
  • completion of the Accelerated Coding Education course, run by Auckland District Health Board. 
Clinical Coder