According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics the outlook for job growth in the medical coding field is 15% over the next 10 years, that’s much faster than average. One reason for this growth is that in October of 2015 a major change in the industry occurred. All healthcare providers were required to switch from using ICD-9 codes to a more complicated, internationally recognized set of codes called ICD-10. This system is even more detailed and has more than quadrupled the number of codes available. It is estimated that this major change will reduce the average coder’s productivity by up to 50%.
Scoring That First Job
As a result of ICD-10, even years after this change-over, many employers are still hiring, and more are willing to overlook their typical 1-2 year experience requirement to train newly certified coders in-house. If you’ve just received your certification, target your search to employers who have in-house training, or look for employers who test prospective candidates. If you’ve attended a school the employer is familiar with, especially one that offers a robust practicum using real medical records, like Career Step, they may be willing to let you take their in-house evaluation.
The average annual salary for medical coders is $52,000, however this varies greatly depending on the region you live in and level of experience. Top-level coders can expect to make $60,000 and up. There are a variety of websites out there that can help you estimate what the average medical coder makes in your area. Glassdoor provides detailed salary information based on your zip code. Indeed uses local job listings to give you an overall picture of what local employers pay.
Working From Home
A remote position is a dream job for many who’d like a little flexibility in their day, parents who’d like to be home when their children return from school, or those who really hate having a daily commute. Coding jobs at home are more often offered to coders with experience, but working from home is definitely a reasonable goal in this industry. In addition, there are larger national healthcare employers with coders all around the country who have many employees working from home.
There is room for even further advancement in the medical coding field. Experienced coders can increase their earnings potential by receiving multiple credentials from the AAPC and AHIMA or by expanding into specialized certifications like cardiology or pediatrics. They can also be promoted to peer reviewers, supervisors and auditors.