If you’re interested in jobs in the medical field but aren’t a “people person,” a career as a medical coder might be just the job for you.
Professional medical coders are responsible for keeping track of diagnoses and procedures done on individual patients. By assigning patients different codes depending on what’s wrong with them and what’s being done to treat them, medical coders make sure that hospitals and doctor’s offices can communicate clearly with insurance companies and get properly reimbursed. Medical coding is an important job because if it’s done incorrectly, a health care facility can lose thousands of dollars. Because of this, a potential employee must show an employer that he or she is detail-oriented and can focus on the job for hours at a time.
The average medical coding worker makes around $46,000 per year, but individual pay is usually based on experience and education.
Necessary Education to Become a Medical Coder
Before you start looking for medical coding jobs, you’re going to need to get an education. You can start working with as little as a one-year certificate, but your chances of getting a good job will be better if you earn an associate’s degree and get certified. If you decide to go for a one-year certificate, you won’t have to take any general education courses; all of the classes that you take will have to do with medical coding.
Most certificate courses do not require or offer internships. Degree programs, on the other hand, often have internship or practicum requirements. This is a great way to get experience while you’re still in school, but keep in mind that you’ll probably have to take English and mathematics courses along with technical classes. Many community colleges can also help you find job opportunities once you graduate.
While you may be able to find a job without becoming certified, taking an exam to prove that you know your stuff is never a bad idea. You’ll have more opportunities, and you may even be able to negotiate a higher salary than you would have gotten without certification. Medical coding exams are given by the American Academy of Professional Coders. The AAPC recommends that you earn an associate’s degree before you sit down for the Certified Professional Coder, or CPC, exam. If you don’t have an associate’s degree, you can still take the test, but you should have completed at least 80 hours of coursework at an accredited school. Once you pass the test, you’ll be a certified medical coder. If you haven’t had any on-the-job experience, though, you’ll be designated an apprentice until you’ve worked in the field for at least a year.
Medical coding jobs pay well considering that you don’t need a four-year degree. With a little education and experience, potential medical coders can prepare for a worthwhile career.
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