Do you dream of traveling the world but love the stability of a steady paycheck? Do you have great attention to detail and want to be part of a growing industry? A career in medical coding can provide all of that. Here are some great options if your wanderlust and inner-homebody both want a satisfying career.
The medical coding industry is expected to grow almost 20 percent in the next decade. The new Affordable Care Act shifted the responsibility for higher deductibles to the public, creating a need for doctors to increase pinched cash flow. Great coders offset that need by ensuring all records are coded correctly which allows for claims to be paid faster. The need for medical coders is also on the rise because of the new ICD-10 coding system, set to go into effect in 2015. This system increases the number of coding options by the thousands. Needless to say, those in the industry have a steep learning curve. But the upside is this creates more job growth and opportunity in this industry than before.
How to Get Started Traveling the U.S.
Medical coders who travel are known as ‘travel coders’ or ‘remote coders.’ Most have multiple certifications and extensive education in the field. Many have also worked in the industry for a few years, too.
But you can start without any experience or education, in some cases. Here’s how it works: There are companies nationally that both train and pay for medical coders to travel. Companies that hire travel coders include: sourcemed.net, onassignment and Altegra Health services, to name a few well known recruiting services.
How it Works
Hospitals, health firms and departments need either additional coders or outsource their coding entirely. Travel coders arrive at the location and work to either overhaul a big project, working in tandem with the company coders, like on audits, or will work to help an organization ‘catch-up’ on its claim records.
The job includes travel on assignment for different hospital and health departments around the U.S., for at least one month. Once you’re vetted, and this can take anywhere from one to three weeks, some hospitals will pay for you to fly home on weekends.
Sound good? Medical coders can have anywhere from four to ten assignments in one year. They get to see the U.S., traveling from state to state, where needed. It gets better: Some companies will pick up both your travel fare to fly home weekly and your housing expense, depending on their budget or strong need in the area. Not bad.
Travel Outside the U.S.
Some medical coders relish the idea of working internationally. There are ways to have a career that allows you travel. Simply, it’s telecommuting medical coding.
Telecommuting coders are also known as ‘remote medical coders’. They work off site from businesses, and they can work from anywhere in the world.
What to look for? Find companies that have moved entirely to EHR (electronic health records) systems. These are places that can work with you remotely, since all records are digital. These are also companies who are more likely to hire someone remotely, cutting down on their travel or housing expense cost in hiring you as a remote coder, rather than travel coder. Also, these are companies that either have staff and need the extra support, or are small firms, needing coding support without the cost output of hiring a full-time employee.
Coders who telecommute can and do work anywhere in the world, though they must have both access to internet, video chat and phone, to be in touch with their company. Some work part of the year as travel coders in the U.S. and the rest of the year in telecommuting jobs, traveling the world while working.
How Do You Get in the Door?
If you want to telecommute and travel the world, start with recruitment groups who specialize in placing medical coders and inquire whether they know any companies looking for a telecommuting coder.
Try Linked in Groups and reach out to recruiters there. Also, become a member of AAPC, the biggest medical coding certification organization.
Be aware that most telecommuting coders have worked in the industry for a few years, and already have the basic knowledge of an organization’s flow as well as multiple certifications in the industry.
If you want to find a stable job and travel, medical coding as a travel coder or remote coder is a great option. Not only will you have peace of mind, earning a stable paycheck, but you’ll be able to see the world while doing so.