Do you want to pursue a profession in healthcare but aren’t sure where to start? Perhaps you’d prefer a career that allows you to work from the comfort of your own home? It’s time you pay attention to the field of medicine! If you’re looking to break into the medical field, earning a medical billing and coding certificate will help you do so in various ways.
Let’s learn about the many career options in medical coding and billing, from advancing in auditing to having your own business.
What Is The Job Of A Medical Coding Specialist?
A medical coding job involves taking a medical record and assigning numerical codes to the procedures and diagnoses included within. What a doctor or hospital is paid for their services is determined by the codes they assign. Accordingly, medical coders use software to assess how much a hospital or doctor will be reimbursed for each treatment and diagnosis.
Hence, medical coders must be familiar with multiple different software programs, including those used for Medicare, long-term care, doctor’s offices, or ambulatory settings, to classify patients.
Moreover, high school graduation or GED is required to become a medical coder. If an applicant has a professional certificate, they may receive a higher salary than a medical coder who is not certified.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a medical coder’s annual pay ranges from $29,000 to $59,000. On the other hand, this number can vary greatly depending on a person’s level of education, prior work experience, and any of the qualifications mentioned above. After gaining experience in the profession, an optional qualification is also available.
What Is The Best Way To Be A Medical Coder?
Becoming a medical coder is the first and most critical step on the career ladder for anyone interested in a medical coding career. You can choose from three options, including:
- The DIY Method: Taking the CPC exam and studying on your own.
- Career Program Method: After completing a brief program that covers the material in the CPC exam, you take the test to become a medical coding specialist.
- Associate’s or Bachelor’s Method: Medical coding and billing can be learned through an AAS or a BS program. Upon completion, you will have the skills and credentials needed to begin a job as a medical coder.
Accredited Certifications That Will Help You Land A Medical Coder Job
Obtaining additional qualifications is the next logical step after becoming a medical coder. Each medical coding certification has a specific objective and a set of testing/certification requirements. There are a few of them:
● Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)
● Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
● Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
● Certified Professional Biller (CPB)
● Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC)
Each of these certificates can open the door to more senior positions with higher pay.
Additionally, the AAPC offers specialty certificates in addition to standard certifications. Coders who want to demonstrate their competence in a specific area of interest might use them. The following are a few examples:
- Family Practice (CFPC): Care for patients of all ages is the core of family practice (CFPC).
- Cardiology (CCC): Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for heart disease are the primary focus of cardiology (CCC).
- Pediatrics (CPEDC): Focused on diseases that are specific to children and infants, pediatrics (CPEDC)
How Long Would It Take to Earn A Medical Coder Certification?
Many online medical coding programs can be finished in less than a year. Training for a coding certification can take as short as four months, depending on the student’s availability. This is good news for anyone who wants to pursue a profession in medical coding.
Plus, preparation for a job in medical coding is possible regardless of whether you recently graduated from high school or are now employed full-time. The rewards of the job, on the other hand, are high, despite the little expenditure of time and money.
Medical Coders: The Future Outlook
Medical coders are in high demand because of the historic demographic shift in the United States. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, our aging population faces healthcare concerns, including a shortfall of 105,000 physicians by 2030.
Medical billers and coders, who serve hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and physician-based practices, will become indispensable to the growing call for healthcare providers. As of 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects an 8% increase in employment for health information technologists, with healthcare occupations gaining more jobs than any other occupational group.
Medical Coders & Billers: Opportunities for Professional Growth
If you’re just starting in the medical field, medical coding and billing are terrific ways to get your feet wet and learn about the industry. The following are some of the jobs you can pursue after a medical billing or coding career and what you’ll need to do to get there:
1. Medical Secretary
Medical coders and billers who want to advance in their careers might consider taking on extra administrative duties as a medical office secretary, as you are already aware of the ins and outs of the practice’s backroom operations.
2. Registered Nurse
If you started as a medical coder to get your foot in the door of the healthcare sector, the transition from medical coder to Registered Nurse isn’t that big of a leap.
Medical coder and biller jobs can be good options for those who want to be a part of the healthcare industry while obtaining a degree in nursing since they provide an opportunity to earn money while completing their education.
3. Medical Claims Processor
It’s possible that after reading the job description of a medical biller, you wondered if insurance companies also employ medical billers. There is no doubt about that. Insurance firms can hire medical coders and billers with additional experience and qualifications to handle claims and deal directly with healthcare providers for billing and payment.
4. Medical and Health Services Manager
As a medical practice administrator, you would be responsible for monitoring the billing and coding staff and paperwork, electronic medical records, and the administrative activities of the institution.
5. Medical Coding Manager
Career advancement as a medical coder manager may be ideal for those who enjoy their work but are ready for a raise in compensation, an expansion of their abilities, and more responsibility.
6. Medical Coding Auditor
As a medical coding auditor, you can still get your “hands dirty,” so to speak, in medical coding while working as a medical coding manager. However, as an auditor, your responsibilities will be far more extensive than those of a medical coder.
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We walked you through the entire process of becoming a medical coder in this article. Starting as a medical coder and working your way up to being a medical coding manager requires a plan.
If you’ve always wanted to try something new, now might be an excellent moment. You can determine where your next opportunity lies by comparing your experience to these other medical coding-related careers.