Where Are the Jobs?

stocks22

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I have been trying to find a coding job for a year now. Where are the jobs? I mean good paying jobs. I don't mean $14 an hour. I am thinking of switching careers back to telecom. I don't think coding pays unless you have at least a decade under our belt.

Tell me something different.
email me: fay.l@comcast.net
 

bgundersen

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Remote Coding

If you have 3-5 years coding experience in a specialty you can try and get a remote coding position. Several companies are listed in HealtheCareers.com, some require travel, others are purely remote coding. It depends on what specialty you are in, but some pay a premium for the right coder.
 

kevbshields

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To be honest, I've found myself asking a similar question in the past. You've got to keep a few things in mind though.

* Coding, like any other profession, may require initiates to come in at entry level wages for entry level positions. However, that quickly changes, with (if I'm not mistaken here) salary surveys usually showing the greatest jump to be those with 1-2 years experience and also those with over a decade.

* Job availability can be an issue in your locale. Being from Kentucky, I had no problem locating a position as a new coder, but as my professional interests, experience and credentials changed, it seemed my marketability hit a plateau. I ended up traveling to the West Coast as a consultant for quite some time before finally securing something local. Some areas are really underserved and generally devoid of coding positions. That can be difficult. Although we've made leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, plenty of practices still do not understand what coders do, why we're valuable and the point of paying us a competitive wage. We are also charged with educating our communities and changing that line of thinking.

* New folks in the industry aren't always the only ones suffering. After I'd hit my plateau I was forced to work from home (forced, because it was not my ideal work setting) for over a year. I've been trying to kick down the door of inpatient, facility-fee coding for a number of years. Despite that I did time with a Federal Payer doing DRG validation, hospitals ignored my time spent there as "non-acute care" setting, thus making me disqualified for their positions, but over qualified from a physician practice standpoint. Eventually, I found a coding job that's using both sides of my experience; I just didn't give up when the offers failed to fly my way. Struggles come and go. The point here is to keep your head up and keep looking for that next great opportunity. Years down the road, you may find yourself in a far better spot because of this struggle than the person who got a job offer out of the chute and didn't value the opportunity quite like you will.

Good luck to you.
Kevin B. Shields, CPC, CCP, CCS-P, CPC-P, RCC, ACP
 

ajs

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I think it is true that the rate of pay depends a great deal on what area of the country you are in! I have been doing this type of work for over 20 years and probably 5 years ago I was still making $14 to $15 per hour. Changes I made to my own credentials and a job change finally got me to just over $20/hr. But remember I've been doing this for a very long time!

As with any change in career you will gain with experience so if you really want to be a coder hang in there....if you want to make big money then you are probably in the wrong business.
 

Pam Brooks

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I think it depends on where you are looking. The AAPC Salary Survey can point you in the direction of the better bucks, however here in New England, the salaries really depend upon whether you are in a rural setting or nearer the bigger cities. I am a CPC and coding supervisor, and my staff earns anywhere from $15-25 per hour, depending on experience. However, we are doing more than placing ICD-9 codes on the HCFA. My staff audits, educates the physicians, and writes compliance plans. In Boston (an hour away), we can earn much more than that. but the commute is frightful. Also factoring in benefits....health/dental/life/disability insurance, time off, etc., can make the package more palatable. Most coding positions do not require a degree.....this often devalues the position, and although I agree that a degree isn't imperative, it's hard to explain to Human Resources why a high-school grad (albeit a CPC) deserves $25.00 per hour. I disagree with this train of thought, but I can't control how administration builds its pay structure. Truthfully, the bigger money is with consulting and compliance, which requires many years of experience as well as business skills. I think that the biggest culprits in all of this are the "career schools" that promise big salaries and rewarding careers. I see resumes every day from "coders" who don't understand the revenue cycle, took a handful of "coding" classes, don't know the rectum from the cubitus, and now expect to audit surgery notes at $25.00 an hour.

I would take a good look at why you are doing coding. If you thought this was a get-rich track, I have bad news! This is hard work, and not always worth the salary. But if you really like what you are doing, it is well worth gaining the experience, because the more you know, the more valuable you are and the more money you'll make. Good luck. Pam Brooks, CPC
 
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Hi, new to this site, just took my CPC exam. I am frustrated too, I went into this line because all I heard is how fast this industry is growing.....Also I wish people would understand that to have experience someone first has to give it. Good luck to you.
 

broncsrox

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* New folks in the industry aren't always the only ones suffering. After I'd hit my plateau I was forced to work from home (forced, because it was not my ideal work setting) for over a year. I've been trying to kick down the door of inpatient, facility-fee coding for a number of years. Despite that I did time with a Federal Payer doing DRG validation, hospitals ignored my time spent there as "non-acute care" setting, thus making me disqualified for their positions, but over qualified from a physician practice standpoint. Eventually, I found a coding job that's using both sides of my experience; I just didn't give up when the offers failed to fly my way. Struggles come and go. The point here is to keep your head up and keep looking for that next great opportunity. Years down the road, you may find yourself in a far better spot because of this struggle than the person who got a job offer out of the chute and didn't value the opportunity quite like you will.

Good luck to you.
Kevin B. Shields, CPC, CCP, CCS-P, CPC-P, RCC, ACP

I can relate to the plateau thing. But, unlike you, I really want to work from home but can't find a company that wants me because I don't have outpatient hospital coding experience, only physician. As far as everything I've ever read the coding concepts are the same for physician and outpatient hospital. It's the billing process that is completely different. I do have the billing experience, not the coding. Did you start your own business or work for a company?

Deborah, I hope things look up for you soon. You can be certified but not experienced or visa versa and it's still sometimes hard to find that elusive position. I make $16/hr and have been coding/billing for over 10 years although I just got certified last October. Don't give up if it's something you really want to do. It's really more about the work than the money.

Good luck!
 

kevbshields

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In response to Bronx, no I did not start my own business. I first became a traveling (e.g., 100% traveling) consultant. That project wrapped and my former HIM Director advised me to look at another company involved in that same project, allowing me to work from home.

I also had some family things going on at that time, so working from home looked attractive. However, it took me 6 long years of being a certified coder, about 6 credentialing exams and being a consultant in order to find "at home" work. My advice to you would be to check all available websites for the recruitment ads--there are quite a few out there.

Be sure your Resume looks superb. In my mind, there's very little difference between OP Hospital and Pro-fee (Physician). The main difference is in APC assignment, but 3M is doing that for the coders, let's be honest. (I am not a recruiter, and rarely agree with what those folks think anyhow.)

However, working at home allowed me to hook up with a number of independent, local projects. I appreciated and enjoyed those because they permitted use or expansion of my current skill.

If you have the opportunity, just start in on the consulting companies. I will warn you, the vast majority of remote work isn't coming from physician or OP hospital. You never know what kind of jobs are out there until you search though.

Good luck to all!
 

ajfinn0216

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Having worked as a traveling consultant in the not too distant future, I would caution anyone who is considering such a venture.....it is not all that great or financially lucrative when you take into consideration the amount of time that you spend away from home. Never mind having any family life, it just doesn't happen when you are on the road. Airports aren't fun and it gets lonely after a while. I lived that life for 2 years and while I gained tremendous experience and did make alot of $$$, I feel that I missed out on alot with respect to my personal life.
 

heycola

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well i understand what you mean i am going back to school to become rhit and then rhia along with my coding and i think i will be able to find a really good paying job. i have found that the good paying jobs are in management, even though i have a good paying job now but i see management is where its at.
 

Penny12899

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fellow AAPC member not offering jobs?

I live in an area where remote coding is very limited. Yet, a fellow AAPC member who has a business is looking for experienced coders and not calling back. I live 10 miles from his office!!!! I am not an apprentice and definitely have the experience. I was under the impression that AAPC took pride in putting out the best of the best. Then why isn't a fellow member offering me a position?(He knows I am also an AAPC member.)It's not like there are tons of CPC's in this area. I feel like I have wasted alot of money and time to earn these crendentials.:confused:
 

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WOW! I became interested in coding because all the news was "Medical coding is the wave of the future". I already have a good job, but wanted to work from home. I don't have any experience in coding but I do have 20 years in the medical field. Is it really that hard to find employment? This is unbelievable!:eek:
 

kevbshields

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Allow me to weigh in again.

Is it difficult to find a job? There is no "Yes" or "No" answer to this question. Too many variables exist. From experiences I've had or witnessed, the job market is very competitive right now--including coders. However, it is absolutely a thriving area of medicine.

To add to that uphill battle of gaining employment, you have schools and recruiters trying to make money off of the viability within our field. Some of those schools/recruiters (program recruiters) inflate statistics or use them out of context in order to make profit off the successes that can be gained in coding/compliance/HIM/billing. These are the same ilk of unscrupulous individuals who market the "create your own home billing company" schemes.

One particular national chain of colleges (that promote coding) uses the AAPC and AHIMA salary surveys to lure students into their program--never bothering to site that the survey data relies on Certified Professional Coders (and other credentialed individuals). When those students are informed that after a year of study they are neither prepared to take a certification, nor make the salary recruiters sited, they become very disillusioned and some choose careers outside our area. That is unfortunate.

One thing I always reiterate to students: Recruiters are not (or rarely) coders themselves. It is best to take your advice, mentoring and direction from a veteran HIM professional, not someone in the mass media, someone promoting his/her own business(es), nor anyone with designs on your pocketbook and financial aid. That being said, I hope the folks here did not choose their career direction solely on the hopes that checks would just appear in the mail for them.

Coding and its associated disciplines are duties I've grown to love. Without that valid interest, it is unlikely I'd have survived beyond my first job in the field. However, it was the thought of increased, stable salary that encouraged me to pursue my education and training in coding. The love of what I do is what has sustained me.

Good luck to all!
 

rthames052006

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I was just reading thru this thread and it sounded familiar and then I realized I've seen this on other sites from the original poster...

I do agree that for the majority of new coders it's hard to get that foot in the door and I always "your told" to go to school to have a better career and then once you've paid and finished your still kinda stuck because alot of employers say they want experience and how do they expect you to get the experience if no one will give you the chance... it's unfortunate...

I once taught an icd-9 class at a local college and it's sad what some of these places tell the prospective "students" I had a class of 12 students some who were already in the medical field in someway and some that had no experience at all that were just taking these 12 week courses to get prepared and I applaude anyone for that but the first night of class one of the students and I got into a discussion about salary and she was "told" that she could start out doing billing/coding and make atleast $15 an hour to start, not in "our" part of the woods your not and I told her good luck, she went back to the director of the program and told her that I am now making her want to drop these classes because I'm telling her something differant than what she was 'reeled" into thinking... she didn' t drop my class and finished but still hasn't found any work and has emailed several times telling me "sorry" I just did not want to tell her something that I knew was not true, I've been in this for 15 plus years...

I was maybe "lucky" because I was doing billing/coding 10 years before ever thinking of becoming certified... so in my case I just took the ISP program then the CPC exam and stayed with my current employer who never had a coder work for them, they always paid a consultant firm.. so for me it worked out and I got an excellent pay raise...

I am thinking of venturing outside of my current employer I've been with them for 10 years now, just to see what else is out there I do alot of billing, reimbursement and A/R reconciliation I do educate the physicians and do internal auditing for the practice and I enjoy it all but don't think I want to do just "auditing" I like the variety and wish to continue that venture, don't get me wrong I like doing e/m auditing too and am glad to have that under my belt but just want to see what else is out there.

Good luck to all the new coders and I wish you the best of luck in your careers...

RThames, CPC
 

Kim H

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response to above

Sometimes its not about the $$$$$$$ its about the knowledge and experience you've gained and the joy of doing what you've been trained to do, because you wanted to, not because you had to. Patience is a virtue, remember. Good Luck to you.
 

apierce

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I have had a very different experience. I have been certified for about 4 years now and have had three different positions - all were between $15 and $25 an hour. DO NOT GIVE UP! Keep pushing forward and be determined in making your own opportunities happen. I will say that most people do generally need to put in some "learning time" before landing the high paying positions. I work both as a remote coder and also as an instructor currently and am earning an excellent wage, especially for the extremely rural area that I live in. There are excellent opportunities within this career path...do not be disuaded. I have some contacts in the Oklahoma and Kansas area's. If I can possibly be of any help to anyone in these areas please don't hesitate to let me know.
 

xlbctso

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My experience came through working in the health insurance industry. I worked in claims, then in an intermediary dept responsible to write the specs for programming benefits and policies, then onto writing and documenting medical and reimbursement policies. After being outsourced, I went to work at a local hospital and aside from the incredible amount of credentialing work I did, I also audited our ED, Urgent Care, Neurology and Critical care dept and taught a few education classes to our physician staff. All of it was a wonderful experience and I was fortunate to be able to return to the health insurance world some time later.

Insurance still needs coders. My company uses them in the audit and recovery dept which performs billing validation on both physician and facility claims. They are also needed in the medical policy area, and contracting support (think fee development!).

Sometimes you need to go around a stumbling block while you figure out how to get over the block :) Keep looking and keep trying! You'll gain experience with each job.

Louise
 

msbrowning

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I am a newly certified coder as well. I am interested in traveling with the coding profession. Are there any consulting firms that you would recommend?
 
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CieraDix

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I have been trying to find a coding job for a year now. Where are the jobs? I mean good paying jobs. I don't mean $14 an hour. I am thinking of switching careers back to telecom. I don't think coding pays unless you have at least a decade under our belt.

Tell me something different.
email me: fay.l@comcast.net
I totally agree. I've been looking for a year for a job and nothings coming up or you don't have the experience or your just black; so no one will hire you. I would settle for $14.00 an hour but no oner will even offer that to me.

Help me out.
Email me: Ciera.Dixon@gmail.com:confused: :mad: :(
 

rthames052006

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I don't think it's about the money $$$$. But there are some people out there who are told they can make X amount of dollars if they take this class or that class.

I just wanted to confirm that I didn't get into the coding field because of money, if I were to get into a job for money it would probably be an attorney....

Roxanne Thames,CPC


Sometimes its not about the $$$$$$$ its about the knowledge and experience you've gained and the joy of doing what you've been trained to do, because you wanted to, not because you had to. Patience is a virtue, remember. Good Luck to you.
 

coder722

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Discouraged

After reading your posts, I must say I'm a bit discouraged.
I haven't gone out into the job market yet, I'm newly certified and must do my externship , but I've taken out a large student loan and worked extremely hard to become certified and I'm now worried about my career decision.

I love coding but $14.00 an hour doesn't begin to pay for my education and
hard work to acquire my certification, not to mention the continuing education and work required to stay certified.

My present job pays $20 an hour and I was looking to challenge myself and better myself..........
I'm not sure I made the right decision.
 

relong

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It depends on your geographical area. I'm in Iowa and started at entry level 10 years ago and got my CPC while working in my department because most offices in this area don't require it. Also, I've only worked for smaller practices which can't afford premium pay although it gives some leverage at job review time. It also increases your credibility with your employers.

Your best bet is to get your foot in the door somewhere and get experience under your belt. Then start networking around and move onto bigger pratices or organizations that can afford to pay the salary you want.
 

rthames052006

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It depends on your geographical area. I'm in Iowa and started at entry level 10 years ago and got my CPC while working in my department because most offices in this area don't require it. Also, I've only worked for smaller practices which can't afford premium pay although it gives some leverage at job review time. It also increases your credibility with your employers.

Your best bet is to get your foot in the door somewhere and get experience under your belt. Then start networking around and move onto bigger pratices or organizations that can afford to pay the salary you want.

I agree completely with your statement! Sometimes it does take awhile to get in the field and I've said it before that there are so many other applicants wanting the same jobs, I personally think there are more people wanting jobs than there are to go around in some cases.

But like you said, take an entry level position, a friend of mine got her cpc 2 years before I did and she couldn't get a job in coding, she finally got into one of our local hospitals in the dietary dept, I know dietary has nothing to do with coding but she just wanted to get her foot in the hospital door, and she did the dietary dept for 3 months, and got into ER coding shortly after that. It was a rough route to go for her but it did work out for her in the end.

Just be persistant and hopefully that job will come to you.

Roxanne Thames, CPC
 

jifnif

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I have been coding for almost 11 years. I am just getting certified and I make near the $20 mark for a specialty dr. I have topped out where I am at and having trouble finding a remote job. I lack experience in universal coding. My background is purely radiology. Instead of dropping pay or fiddling around, I am going for my degree in nursing. It just opens up a lot more oppurtunities for remote jobs or more flex scheduling. :)
 

MSKITTY

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I live in the Okllahoma area, looking for about a little over a year, I work in the MedicaL Field processing insurance and billing.Any help or adice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance
LC Johnson
 

mmorningstarcpc

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Hey All,

Kevin offers some good comments. Unfortunately there are schools that make big promises, but all they really care about it getting your money. I know a coder who took a course, several months and does data entry, because she doesn't actually know how to code. The school she went to taught her how to pass the test. She really has no pride in her work, or her credentials. She also thinks she sould make the same money as other in her field, who happen to have years of experience (and do know how to code).

I say I "grew up" with coding. By that I mean I went to college for medical assisting and secretarial (yes, I am dating myself), started in a physicians office and learned billing. I actually learned coding at a prison I worked at (in the hospital of course!), and went from there. I am now a consultant with a national company, but I have paid my dues. I have 20+ years of experience and believe me, when I started years ago, my salary was below what minimum wage is today, and I was thankful to get that.

There are jobs out there but sometimes they are hard to find. Try something a bit different for the experience. I will be honest, my previous job was all coding for a DOD contract. I had moved back to where I live now from out of state and was applying for things out of my "norm" of physicain billing and office management. I got a call about the DOD contract and boy am I glad I took that job. I learned an incredible amount, about coding, anatomy, etc and it was a great experience. It also inadvertently led to my job now, as my boss now, called me as I was an officer in the local chapter near work, to put out his job announcement. I applied as well and talked with him several times and lo and behold I got the job. Spread your wings a little bit and GOOD LUCK to all.

Machelle
CPC, CPC-H, CPC-E/M
 

akolpin

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If you want to make a lot of money--coding is not the place to do it. I am very disappointed with the salary level that goes along with the responsibility that we have. We have the responsibility of helping to keep these providers in compliance and sometimes even out of trouble. Many times I tell a providers "no you can't do that". Coders don't get pain enough money and that's a fact.
 

dmaec

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I'd have to disagree with akolpin - perhaps it depends on where you're at. Where I am, I'm VERY happy with my job responsibilities and I'm compensated very well for doing it. This is a new job I accepted in April of this year and in my negotiations for hire, I told them what "I" needed in order work for them. (and I was very generous ;)) They offer me every opportunity for more training. They value my knowledge as I do theirs. My facility works well within itself, coders, billers, him dept, etc.....
A lot depends on qualifications - experience - where you live and what type of coding expertise they're looking for.
I'm extremely happy in my position and compensation.
 

mmorningstarcpc

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I have to disagree with "akolpin" also. There is money to be made in coding, but you do have to pay your dues first and earn your stripes. Nothing worth having comes easy. I managed a physicians office for 7+ years and made $7 an hour to start and left making $10. I have paid my dues and now have a great job and am extremely happy. I have new challenges every day. I could have made more when I worked for that physician, but at the time I had a small child and was not driving an hour or more for work. My priority then was him. Now he is grown and I have many opportunities, traveling, some remote, consulting, all in the same job. I do agree with previous comments, and as I previously stated, you are not going to take a course and start out making $30 an hour. Schools that are saying that, in my opinion are lying. A lot of hard core coders have had other educaiton and/or work experiences along the way, that have helped them tremendously. Coding is not for everyone, its not an instant money maker. It is hard work and willingness to learn something new all the time. You have to be up to the challange. Good luck to all,

Machelle
CPC, CPC-H, CPC-E/M
 

KellyCPC/CFE

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I would also have to disagree. I make more money coding than I ever had in any other job. Granted with my current position I came in with 12 years experience. I would never leave the medical coding profession I love it. I also love the freedom from working from home. But I busted my butt to get where I am today and I did start in an entry level job that barley covered the rent. We all have to start somewhere and it is very distressing to me to hear all of the negativity on this site. The high paying jobs are not going to be handed to you. You need to earn them.
 
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