Medical coding is one of the highest growth job markets today. It offers lucrative job opportunities in a number of work settings and is considered as the profession of the future. According to the statistics, this job sector is expected to grow at a faster pace than any other industry through the year 2014. This is due to the ever-changing demands and needs of the healthcare industry as a whole. First of all, the population is growing rapidly. Second, healthcare insurance firms are faced with a high level of scrutiny to all types of healthcare procedures. As such, the future of the industry will require more and more medical coders.
There are a number of work settings that require the services of professional medical coders, the most common of which are available in doctors’ clinics, outpatient care centers, nursing homes, family practices, clinics, hospitals, home healthcare services, and general group practices. Apart from these traditional opportunities, medical coders are also in demand in other sectors such as law firms, insurance agencies, consulting firms, medical billing and coding companies, home healthcare agencies, and more.
As with the work settings, the timing for medical coding experts also vary from place to place. Most of the healthcare sector settings are open 24 hours a day, which means employees have an option to select their schedules by days and by shifts. Full-time workers average around 40 hours each week, but it all depends on what kind of institution they are serving. Another option that is available in some of the work settings is the ability to working from home. This is a great option to utilize if you want that kind of relaxed environment, and prefer to completely set your own hours.
Becoming a medical coder doesn’t happen overnight, as it requires a specialized education. You will need an associate degree or a medical coding certificate just to get started with an entry-level job. Of course, for more advanced job opportunities you must have a bachelors or a graduate degree in the field. Knowledge about the medical field is also very important and it includes taking courses on medical terminology, pharmacology, pathology, anatomy and physiology, healthcare laws and ethics, insurance abuse and fraud, CPT surgical coding, CPT non surgical coding and more. Further, certain management courses will enable you to secure managerial positions or advance to such positions in future.
Preparation for a career in medical coding can start as early as high school by taking relevant subjects. From there, college certifications or 2 year associate degrees can be opted for which are offered by community colleges. Certain trading or vocational schools also offer medical coding programs, usually certifications, which span over a period of one to two years. Lastly, enrolling in an online program is also an option.
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