Medical Coding Careers – Are They for You?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that the need for medical coders will grow 20 percent between now and 2018, adding an additional 35,000 jobs nationwide. That’s pretty good news if you’re just getting started in your medical coding career or are simply seeking to change medical coding jobs.
Additionally, a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, reported that health information management was named one of the fastest-growing careers in 2012.
So, why is a medical coding career so hot? The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages and an aging population requires more medical tests, treatments, and procedures. All of this leads to more reimbursement claims from private and public payers.
Show me the jobs – medical coding career jobs that is…
Where are these medical coding jobs? You can find medical coding jobs at healthcare technology companies, acute-care hospitals, government agencies, consulting firms, healthcare payers, private practices, and more. Here are some good places to begin your medical coding job search:
- The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) Medical Coding Jobs Database: This comprehensive medical coding jobs database allows job seekers to quickly scan through its job database while networking with other health care professionals locally or nationwide.
- Social Media: Use it. Facebook and LinkedIn all have pages dedicated to finding medical coding jobs. In the search bar, type in “medical coding jobs” and several group options to join will pop up. Also, if you have a personal social media page or pages, ask questions there. Tell people that you are looking for a job; you never know who is reading your posts and who they know.
- Medical Coding Job Boards: There are many forums and job boards out there. A few you may want to check out include:
- Job Forums: These are not necessarily specific to medical coding jobs, but they do have job categories that you can search. So, check out places like Indeed.com; Monster.com; CareerBuilder.com; and GlassDoor.com.
- Network. Talk to other medical coders. Join medical coding forums; sign up for medical coding e-newsletters; get involved with medical coding associations. Join your local AAPC or American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) chapter. Read more here: Job Prospects for an AAPC Certified Coder vs. an AHIMA Certified Coder
Also, join our medical coding certification forum. It allows you to ask questions and to network with other medical coders. The article Medical Coding Job Search and Medical Coding Job Search Tips will provide you with more detailed information on this subject.
Tips for Pursuing a Medical Coding Career
Knowing what you want and then going after it is half the battle. But, you’ll pack an even meaner punch when trying to land that perfect medical coding job by keeping the following in mind:
- Pursue education. The more you know; the more valuable you will be. For example, take an online medical coding course.
- Consider interning. This is a great way to get your foot in the door.
- Relocate. Go where the jobs are. Research areas where medical coders are most needed.
- Get certified. In addition to medical coding education, one or more certifications will provide you with a competitive edge.
- Read. In addition to online resources, don’t simply reply on CPT, ICD-9 and HCPCS books, but also read about compliance, your specialty, and job hunting techniques.
- Build an audience. There are many free article sites online where you can post articles. Try writing one on a coding topic or experience. It will build your credibility.
Medical Coding Job Requirements
Since you’re pursuing a medical coding career, you’re likely familiar with the necessary skill set. However, just to make sure, here are some top medical coding job skills to keep in mind:
- Reading and listening skills
- Attention to detail
- Drive and determination
- Flexible and open to change
- Excellent communication
- The ability to work alone, without supervision
- Good computer and keyboard skills.
- Analytical and evaluation skills
Read more here: 6 Essential Medical Coding Skills.
Medical Coding Career Earnings
The AAPC conducts a yearly salary survey. The 2011 survey had 12,000 participants that included medical coders and billers, auditors, and physician practice managers. The average salary for a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) was approximately $46,800 (up $1,400 from 2010). Additionally, more than half of the respondents reported earnings of greater than $40,000 – this was a first for this annual survey.
Other survey highlights:
- the top respondents were coders (38 percent); and
- on average, individuals with advanced certifications earned more.
Read our blog: Four Ways to Earn More Money as a Medical Coder.
Good luck with your job hunting and let us know how we can help!