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Clinical Coder

Kaiwhakararangi Tohu Hauora

Alternative titles for this job

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 usually earn

$76K-$88K per year

Senior clinical coders can earn

$93K per year

Source: Te Whatu Ora, 2023 - 2024

Job opportunities

Chances of getting work as a clinical coder are good due to increased demand for health services.


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

  • Clinical coders usually earn $76,000 to $88,000 a year.
  • Senior clinical coders with extra responsibilities can earn $93,000.

Source: Te Whatu Ora Health NZ, 'PSA-National Health Administration Workers Collective Agreement, 1 Jan 2023- 31 Dec 2024'.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

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.

Skills and knowledge

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.

Working conditions

Clinical coders:

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

Entry requirements

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. 

Secondary education

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include biology, chemistry, digital technologies, maths and English. 

Personal requirements

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.

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.
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What are the chances of getting a job?

Chances of finding work as a qualified clinical coder are good because of an increased demand for coding due to:

  • an ageing population with more health problems
  • a worldwide shortage of clinical coders leading to coders leaving to work overseas.

According to the Census, 255 clinical coders worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Limited positions for trainee coders

Most employers prefer to employ trained clinical coders.   

Most clinical coders work at hospitals

Clinical coders mainly work in public and private hospitals, but may also work for the Ministry of Health.


  • Health Careers website, accessed May 2017, (
  • Health Information Management Association Australia website, accessed May 2017, (
  • McDonald, K, 'HIMAA warns of workforce crisis putting eHealth at risk', 21 April 2015, (
  • Ministry of Health, 'Digital Health 2020', August 2016, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • Taranaki District Health Board, 'Clinical Coders Celebrate Milestone Achievements', September 2015, (

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

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

A woman sits at a computer - the screen is full of codes

Clinical coders convert information into codes

Last updated 18 December 2023