Are Medical Coders Truly In Demand – Or Is It Just Hype?

While the economy remains tough for so many other professions, the demand for qualified medical coders and billers is on a steady rise.

Medical coding jobs open and close daily—just read the wanted ads in your daily newspaper, or check job websites like MonsterJobs or Indeed.com and you will see ad after ad for medical coding positions needing to be filled. Despite the present bad economy with high unemployment rate jobs in medical and healthcare services continue to thrive. Medical office software engineers, web designers, book publishers, medical coding and billing software vendors, schools and colleges are heeding the call in response to the demand. As an aspiring new medical coder you must be wondering:

"Are medical coders needed? Is this a good time to start my medical coding career? How do I find the best medical coding training without being scammed?"

While everybody is heeding the call and many want a piece of the pie, fact is: the healthcare industry is consistently seeking qualified medical coders not just for hospitals, but also medical clinics, health insurance agencies and local, State and Federal Government agencies like Medicaid, Medicare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, etc. There are over 819,000 practicing physicians in the USA alone in need of medical billers and coders.

There currently are over 819,000 physicians and surgeons, 2.4 million registered nurses, 77,000 occupational therapists, 182,000 physical therapists, 94,000 respiratory therapists and thousands of other allied health professionals in America's hospitals in need of medical coding and medical billers to get paid for their services provided to their patients.

Medical Coder Salary and Income Comparison Charts

AAPC has published a detailed article and charts on their website that shows how much medical coders can earn along with a separate list of salaries by specialty and salaries by title. Furthermore, the website emphasizes that location affects the medical coder's wages, along with the cost of living, urban vs. rural setting and regional economic pressures. More than 10,000 members responded to the AAPC annual salary survey:

  • CPC-I $68,593
  • CPC-P $55,172
  • Specialty $53,725
  • Multiple Specialties $52,777
  • CPC-H $51,980
  • CPC $45,253
  • Certified $44,740
  • CPC-A $34,699
  • Non-certified $…….

Healthcare Adds 41,000 Jobs

The government issued its September 2011 jobs report on Friday. Last month's report by the Department of Labor included several positive signs, among them that the average workweek rose to 34.3 hours from 34.2 hours, reversing a decline in August. Economists estimate that employers added  56,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.1 percent for the third straight month. On a positive note, the ISM's employment index for the manufacturing sector rose, suggesting factories added jobs last month, however manufacturing accounts for only about 10 percent of U.S. employment and can't boost hiring by much on its own. Several strongly performing industries continued to lead in job growth. Professional and business services added 48,000 jobs, while healthcare added 41,000. The average hourly earnings jumped to $23.12 from $22.08.

 

Building a Medical Billing Business From Home

We have discussed this topic a few times, including on our Medical Coding and Billing Blog, for most who eventually started their own medical billing business from a home office it was not something that happened overnight. They have been in the field as an employee with trusted employer relationships for years, and have made contacts with doctors and clinics who have earned their trust. This would be the point where one could say: "Doctor So-and-so, I am looking for opportunities to do this job from my home office. Would you allow me to take some of your billing home."

So, in a nutshell, your education counts, experience counts, employee relationships count, and trust and references count. Then, when you have all this under your belt make sure your resume is updated and shines, also make sure you have researched and know local and state laws as to what is required via city ordincane and zoning, and such, to run a home business. Find out how to incorporate your business. Although you could "freelance" it, an LLC provides you with a certain amount of protection.

medical billing and coding from home
Defining the Medical Biller's Role

Medical Coding Latest Updates and Announcements

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This is our most active page in this navigation sequence that present and future medical coders should bookmark and revisit often for important updates.

We will continuously update this page with latest medical coding news from well known medical coding publications with articles, and dates for medical coding workshops and seminars. Regular reading of medical coding publications and announcements, as well as attending workshops and seminars keeps your medical coding knowledge and credentials current and you on top of current issues and important changes.  For example, there will be major changes in the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Module (CD-10-CM). CD-10-CM This will be a huge change for diagnosis Coding when it becomes effective in 2013. In your role as a medical coder you need to be prepared for this change so that you don't fail the providers who depend on you for their practice's success. 

Consider voluntarily sitting for qualified medical coding certification exams to earn industry recognized credentials…

Speaking of medical coding credentials, we cannot emphasize it enough at this time there is no license, degree, or certification required to work as a medical coder.  Unlike physicians, surgeons, nurses and other licensed medical professionals who are governed by the State Medical Board/Board of Medical Examiners, a governing body of the medical coding and billing field does not exist. This is not to rule out that government health insurance programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, might change the rules, but at this time, anyone who believes, or states that they must be "nationally certified" or have specific credentials before applying for a medical coding positions is misinformed. Here is what you need to know…

Medical coding is a career with excellent wages, benefits and promotions and bears great profit-making potential for those who wish to start their own consulting services or business.