The healthcare industry offers a number of exciting and rewarding careers based upon delivering exceptional care to patient populations. As medicine and technology mingle to advance, the ever changing process medical coding – that is the practice of recording, processing, and reviewing medical data – is a growing field with a huge demand for qualified professionals.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current job outlook for medical records and health information technicians is 22 percent, which is much faster than average. A Medical Coding Certificate is a credential that validates the expertise of a trained and qualified medical coder. After earning their certification, these individuals can go on to work in the billing office inside of a medical practice such as a hospital, physician’s office, outpatient center, or clinic. Medical coders are also the healthcare professionals who handle medical claims so that physicians and hospitals can be reimbursed for insurance payments. As you can see, medical coders are integral members of healthcare teams who require specific and continuing education to remain relevant within a dynamic industry.
What Skills are required for Medical Coding?
Anyone interested in a career in medical coding should be able to work with numbers really well and have excellent attention to detail. It is also important to have training in various types of administrative skills including submitting medical claims. Sometimes a medical coder will have to obtain additional information in order to file a claim successfully. Having solid interpersonal skills can help them communicate with physicians or other medical professionals, as well as representatives from insurance companies when they need to gather facts on a particular claim.
Certifications and other Educational Requirements for Medical Coders
Medical coders must have a high school diploma and a certificate from an accredited program. The American Academy of Professional Coders, or AAPC, offers certification courses where students can obtain their Certified Professional Coder certification as well as other related credentials. Students may attend classes in a traditional classroom setting or find accredited programs that are available online. These courses typically cost anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000. The AAPC recommends that all medical coders complete an anatomy course and a medical terminology course before they earn their certification.
Why choose to be a Medical Coder?
The job outlook alone is enough to convince many people who want to start a career in the health care industry to go the Medical Coding route. Finding a job this secure is difficult these days and the certification process doesn’t take a long time to complete. The median pay for a coder is around $16.42 per hour which comes to $34,160 per year. Even though technology has made it possible for software to do a large amount of a coder’s job, there is still a demand for a qualified technician to enter the data and follow up any issues with health care providers or the insurance companies. Most medical coders get to enjoy a typical 40-hour work week with weekends and most holidays off. A career in medical coding can also lead to even better, higher paying job opportunities such as medical office management or office operations.
A Medical Coding Certificate can open up many new doors for individuals interested in a secure job in the health care industry. This role allows certified coders to help all types of patients get their health care services paid for while also aiding insurance companies in tracking the money they reimburse to physicians. Their work can prevent fraudulent medical claims from occurring which in turn, allows insurance companies to keep their rates low and affordable.