SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake Community College has added a new medical coding degree program to answer a growing demand as the health care industry expands.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 180,000 jobs were available for medical coders in 2010, and the median annual income for them was more than $32,000. The bureau estimates a growth rate of 21 percent over the next decade, meaning an additional 40,000 medical coding jobs.

The career choice includes documenting the services provided in each health care visit at a physician's office, hospital, outpatient facility or surgical center.

Medical coding careers do not require a bachelor's or master's degree, but SLCC provides a certificate of proficiency program, which requires 813 course hours to complete.

SLCC's program joins seven other accredited medical coding programs in Utah, including various applied technology colleges, for-profit schools and LDS Business College.

Wendy Leonard Twitter: wendyleonards