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Where Are the Jobs?

  1. Default Where Are the Jobs?
    Medical Coding Books
    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

  2. #2
    Default 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.

  3. #3
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,101
    Default
    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

  4. #4
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
    Posts
    1,087
    Default
    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.

  5. #5
    Location
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,970
    Default
    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

  6. Default
    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.

  7. #7
    Default
    Quote Originally Posted by kevbshields View Post
    * 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!

  8. #8
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,101
    Default
    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!

  9. #9
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    30
    Default
    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.

  10. #10
    Default
    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.

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