Lately I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about a segment of the healthcare IT industry that doesn’t seem to get as much attention as some of the more customer-facing HIT roles, but it’s just as important. Can you guess what it is? The upcoming transition to ICD-10 (a HUGE undertaking), has presented a significant career opportunity in the area of medical coding. Even without the ICD-10 crunch, the need for credential medical coders is on the rise, and according to a 2012 compensation survey conducted by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), medical coders’ salaries are increasing, as well. If you’re at all interested in the profession, the survey is definitely worth a look, as it includes specific numbers on education levels, employment opportunities, and salaries by region. Here’s the average salary breakdown by credential:
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) – $47,796 (up nearly $900 from 2011)
- Certified Professional Coder – Hospital Outpatient (CPC-H®) – $56,466 (up nearly $1,800 from 2011)
- Certified Professional Coder – Payer (CPC-P®) – $55,255 (up nearly $3,800 from 2011)
- Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA®) – $59,365 (up more than $3,200 since 2011)
As you can see from the various certifications, there are many different directions to go as a medical coder. Fortunately, there are also many terrific online resources available to those who are interested in how to become a certified medical coder. In addition to the robust library of information available through the AAPC, coding professional Laureen Jandroep, (CPC, CPC-I, CMSCS, CHCI) offers an outstanding collection of tools on her Coding Certifications website, including a free monthly Medical Coding Q & A Webinar, an informative report on How to Get Your First Job in Medical Coding, a Medical Coding Certification Exam Review Blitz, and even a CPC Practice Exam!
The number of coding positions posted on Healthcare IT Central is on the rise, and based on the state of the industry I fully anticipate that trend to continue – for candidates interested in a stable, promising HIT career path that does not require an advanced degree, medical coding may be the answer.