Medical coding is an expanding field, and jobs are expected to increase greatly in the future. Job prospects are very good, especially for those who have passed the exam to earn certification as medical coders. Certification was not necessary years ago, but in today’s employment market, it is almost impossible to obtain a job without being certified. This field is growing quickly, and anyone who is properly trained and certified can plan to have steady employment at a hospital, clinic, or with an insurance company or with the government. Job growth is expected to grow faster than the average in the future due to the increasing number of older Americans who will require additional medical treatment.
A medical coder who is just out of college or who has just earned certification through another type of programs can expect to earn a starting salary of around $30,000 to $35,000. Salaries can differ by as much s $20,000 annually, depending on where the medical coder lives. Those who live in states where the cost of living is very high, such as New York or California earn an average of over $57,000 annually with some experience. States with low cost of living indexes, such as Kentucky, earn around $37,000 annually. The more experience that a medical coder has, the greater change they have of earning more money. Even more important is their education and training. Those with Associate’s Degrees, Bachelor’s Degrees, or Master’s Degrees earn more as their level of education increases.
One of the first places that medical coders can look to find a job is the American Association of Professional Coders, or the AAPA. This group has been in existence since 1988, and they offer training for medical coding jobs through online courses. They also have a website that helps medical coders find jobs. There are also numerous free job websites that post job openings for medical coders among their other openings. They have positions with insurance companies, hospitals, and doctor’s offices that are looking for certified medical coders. Positions with insurance companies and hospitals often require at least an Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding. Two openings for insurance companies require Bachelor’s Degrees.
Medical coding jobs for those who want to work from home are extremely rare. One reason for this is because of the privacy rules and guidelines that affect medical records. Any healthcare facility, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices will usually not allow medical records to leave their facility. Jobs for those who have just earned their certification are almost non-existent. The medical coder first needs to prove that he or she is capable of handling the medical coding in an employment situation at a medical facility before obtaining any work at home. Telling prospective students that they will be able to work at home at this career is often a ploy that those who offer training programs use to encourage prospective students to enroll in their programs. In very rare cases, a medical coder who has worked for a hospital or other institution for years who then has a baby or wants to work at home for some time may be entrusted with medical records for this purpose.
The hours that medical coders work are typically regular office hours of nine to five, five days each week. If they work in a hospital, there may be first, second, and third shifts of medical coders who work throughout the day. Medical coders often interact with insurance companies or with government offices that deal with Medicare or Medicaid, so they must work when these other businesses are open and operating.