This is actually a good question for a prospective student to ask before taking the leap. When choosing a career, it is crucial to know if the field is growing, stable or dying. Wasting money and time to train into an unstable career isn’t a wise or smart idea. It is good to choose a career with good opportunities and a promising future. Right now, because of the medical advances, ageing of the baby boomer population, the Affordable Care Act that insures new patients, increase in chronic diseases like obesity, and population growth, the healthcare field is growing at a fast pace.
So, is medical coding a good career? Well, I find medical coding a great choice for a person who is comfortable working with other individuals, likes learning new things, pays close attention to detail, and enjoys working on a computer. Health care is a fast-growing industry and the need for coders is also growing with it. It is a good career with great opportunities.
In this piece, I am going to answer this question in depth. Thanks for asking it – it’s a great first move. Those who decide to become medical coders should be prepared to code, sit, and read. All-day. Okay. That can be boring sometimes, but a person with interest and experience will genuinely enjoy it. Look. A more experienced person can work from home while listening to audiobooks or music to slow the dull and slow times. Continue reading to have a clear answer on whether you should go for this career.
Is medical coding a good career?
Coding is like a translation. Medical coders take doctors’ medical reports that may include a prescription, the doctor’s diagnosis, patient’s condition, and any other procedure the healthcare provider or doctor performed on the patient and turns the information into a set of codes that make up an essential part of the medical claim.
Ongoing continuing education in this field is necessary to keep up with the changing regulations, compliance issues, and laws. Certification is also a factor in career success in coding. National organizations like AAPC, American Academy of Professional Coders, provide certification to medical billers and coders to document their professionalism and skill set.
This field is oversaturated with new graduates with no experience and most facilities want to employ professionally certified coders with at least two years of experience. So, the best advice is to find a job in HIM, like medical records, account follow up, and billing. Gain experience to become more familiar with reimbursement, CPT, and ICD. After that, you will definitely leverage for a medical coding job.
Aside from working in a doctor’s office, other gaps exist for medical coders. They can secure a job in surgery centers, health care systems, nurse care facility, and hospitals. They can also work as auditors for private companies, which assist other facilities to maintain compliance by assessing their medical documents.
Coding profession is mostly office work; medical coders spend most of their time on a computer. Those who work in a health care facility that operates 24 hours a day, might either work at night, on weekends, or in the evening. There are other medical coding jobs available as telecommuting jobs, also known as remote jobs or work-from-home jobs. This career can favor people who love to work-from-home.
Medical coders need to be analytical and detail-orientated to interpret and understand the documents they code and classify. Technical expertise and individuals’ skills are also essential because coders deal with individuals in the business office, patients inquiring about bills, and doctors.
Medical coding is a bright career for an individual aspiring to work as a coding professional. Due to the competitive nature of the market of this job, quality coding training is needed to land a great job. In training, coders take courses in medical terminology, physiology, and anatomy to understand the documents they deal with.
The students also study coding systems, classification, and medical ethics and use medical coding and billing software. There are a number of commercial schools, technical schools, and community colleges that offer training in medical coding and billing. Training for this field can take as little as twelve to sixteen weeks and can be done online or traditionally. Those who have a health care background can even take less time.
Today, many people prefer online training programs due to their flexible schedule and self-paced nature. Anyone interested in training into a new health career, consider medical coding – the career outlook is bright. If money makes the universe go around, then medical coders can make the healthcare sector to go around.
Average medical coding salary USA, UK, Canada
The average medical coding salary in:
Medical coders make an average salary of $32, 888. The average additional cash compensation is $926, and the range is $203 to $ 3, 500.
The average coder salary is $45, 825 annually or $23.50 per hour. The entry-level positions begin at $45, 825 annually whilst most qualified workers make a salary of up to $66, 671 annually.
• The UK
The national average salary for a coder living in the United Kingdom is £36, 698. The average additional cash compensation is £995, and the range is $£215 to £3, 308.
Is medical coding hard?
No denying, healthcare careers are generally complicated and challenging. Healthcare professionals attempt to diagnose, interpret, and understand issues in the complex human body.
So, is medical coding hard? Medical coding may not be that simple, but it is not impossible. It is like learning a new or foreign language. What makes this field hard is the fact that there are three primary coding systems that are all different. Learning three foreign languages may also seem daunting, but it is not entirely impossible. Right?
Nevertheless, certain aspects take some trial and error, and the hard parts of learning coding are important to the later accomplishment of the job. New medical coders need to keep asking questions about whatever thing that does not make sense. I think a job will be easier than a coding school. Medical coding is white and black, meaning it can be hard to transform complex and cloudy medical symptoms into discernible, clear codes.
Learning how to get around computers and its quirks is the most challenging part. It takes attention-to-detail and diligence to be a prosperous medical coder.
Also, you should know that the basis of coding isn’t science – it doesn’t have white and black edges; it is pretty much gray. Descriptions are vague, instructions and guidance are often couched in a soft language, which allows multiple interpretations.
All this makes computerization of coding a little challenging. Simply put, interpreting medical record documentation is not science, but art because every interaction between a patient and a provider is special to that patient. There are no two episodes of care that are the same. However, they may be same.
Keep in mind that what doesn’t work for one person may work for another. Challenges make medical coders a sought-after. The hunting for efficient and accurate medical coders is fierce.
Medical coding – advantages and disadvantages
· Medical coding is an in-demand job
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job outlook between now to 2024 for health information technician and medical records is 15%. Data shows how coding professionals have a promising and a brighter future. There are many opportunities.
· Great pay
The entry-level coders can enhance their pay potential with experience and skills. There are many extra courses that a coder can take to increase their earning potentials, including certification.
· Social interaction and career satisfaction
Working in a coding environment can offer the opportunity to meet up new persons from all walks of life. Expanding their social circle.
· Medical coders can launch their own business
Ambitious and enterprising persons can examine the gaps to commence their own medical billing and coding business or company. By taking extra business classes, coders can run and set up the business as a sole-proprietor, medical coding entry, and a contractor.
· It is challenging to break in the medical coding field
Fresh graduates with a degree or certificate in medical coding can find it challenging to secure their first job. Many employers prefer coders with experience as they can save up extensive time and cost needed to offer hands-on training to the fresh hire. This means that a new hire can find it hard to gain market competitiveness and value.
· Relocation is an option to advance a career as a coder
Relocation can be a disadvantage for some individuals while at the same time, an advantage to others. Most people are not willing to relocate in a brand-new town or city and be an expat with unfamiliar places and faces for career advancement.
· It can be torturing to a prospective student who is not good in memorizing
A student in the coding field has to deal with lots of abbreviations and coding. Memorizing names and words can turn your dream of becoming a medical coder a terrible nightmare due to the complexities in digesting and recalling the coding needed to excel in the field.
Medical coding career growth
So, what is the medical coding career growth? Out of the fields into this broader healthcare sector, medical coding and billing are actually among the areas experiencing the greatest evolution right now.
Career growth in this field depends on the coder’s certification; AAPC is customarily preferred. It also depends on the ability to work through ranks to gain further experience and qualifications. Prospects for coders will stay great for the next eight to ten years due to the revival and demand in the healthcare industry.
The world is moving towards an internationally accepted standard of practices in reimbursement, payments, and treatment. So, medical coding is an excellent career to consider. Those interested can begin right now by researching and investigating college options and filling online application forms. The profession is rewarding, well-respected, great pay, and challenging, why not go for it? The demand for coders is enhancing all over the globe day by day.
Essential talents and skills for coding specialists include lifelong learner, critical thinking, excellent communication skills, technical skills, integrity, analytical skills, organization, self-motivation, and attention-to-detail. Those who have the skills can take their first step to their medical coding certificate to a better and brighter future career.
There is no right time to earn a medical coding certificate, join this thriving sector full of advancement and potential opportunities. Now that employment is expected to grow continuously join now to gain as much needed experience as well as special specifications.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.