1. You'll be part of a growing industry
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.” In fact, due mainly to an aging population, "Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups."
2. You'll be in demand
Job growth for medical records and health information technicians, which includes medical coders, is projected to grow 13 percent by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This rate of growth exceeds the average of all occupations. As demand for healthcare services increases, more trained coders will be needed to manage the increased claims for reimbursement from insurance companies.
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3. You'll earn a competitive salary
As of May 2016, the median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $38,040, per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only is this above average for all occupations, but salaries for coders can be much higher, depending on your qualifications, type of employer, and experience. Certified coders who responded to AAPC's annual salary survey in 2016 earned an average of over $52,000, annually.
4. You'll have educational options
There are multiple paths to becoming a medical coder, including traditional coursework at a technical school, community college, or other institution. Many schools offer convenient, online courses that you can complete at your own pace. AAPC offers a full curriculum of training classes and study guides to help you become a certified coder, including both classroom and online options.
5. You can start a career in months, not years
Although some schools offer a two or four-year degree in medical coding, it isn't necessary to devote extensive time or expense to become a certified professional coder (CPC®). AAPC's training courses may be completed at your own pace, in is little as a few months. To receive a CPC® designation, you must have at least two years' medical coding experience. The good news is, you can earn while you learn.
6. You'll have opportunities for advancement
An experienced certified coder develops skills and knowledge that are valuable in many healthcare business roles, which may include practice management, medical auditing, compliance, documentation improvement, education, and more. AAPC offers a variety of specialized certifications, which can help you expand your career options.
7. You'll always be learning
Healthcare is a dynamic industry due to evolving technology, advancing standards of care, and new regulatory frameworks. A medical coder's job does involve routine, but constant changes to coding requirements will keep you engaged. No matter how long you've been on the job, there's always more to learn — especially for those who take pride in honing their abilities.
8. You can work from home
Many professional coders may work in an office, hospital, or other facility. But, a growing number of coding jobs are work-from-home opportunities. Working remotely affords greater flexibility and can spares you a daily commute, but requires you to be disciplined and productive. Regardless of where you work, you must strictly adhere to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, which protects individuals' medical records.
9. You can dress comfortably at work
Coders typically work in a "back office," or even remotely, which lessens the need (and expense) of "business" dress, or the discomfort of heels or other formal footwear. Many coders working in a facility may be able to wear scrubs, which are designed for comfort. If you like to dress up or work in a “business casual environment”, many facilities, payers, and group practices do require more professional attire.
10. You can make a difference
Although medical coders aren't "saving lives" in the same way healthcare providers do, their contribution is vital to ensure healthcare facilities operate smoothly and efficiently. And as medicine becomes more reliant on accurate data to improve healthcare outcomes, the contribution coders make to the overall health of patients is increasing.