By all accounts, this is a great time get started as a medical coder. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for medical coders will grow by 15 percent between 2014 and 2024, and require an additional 29,000 new professionals in order to fill all the open positions. That means the minute you’re qualified to start work, you’re likely to get recruited. If you’re interested in pursuing this in-demand career option, follow the steps outlined below:
Consider Your Decision Carefully
The decision to begin preparing for a career is not one that can be made lightly. Before you start spending time and money on education, decide if medical coding is something you really want to be doing a decade or more down the road. Explore in detail what the work involves and what kind of long-term career prospects it provides. If possible, have a conversion with working medical coders.
Be Realistic about Your Skills
For reasons of aptitude or personality, not everyone is suited to work as a medical coder. You must be very detail oriented, have excellent analytic skills, understand the basics of biology and anatomy, and feel comfortable working independently. Make an honest assessment of your skills and professional character to determine if you have what it takes to thrive in this role.
Seek Out Training
Technically, the only strict educational requirement to become a medical coder is to have a high school diploma. But most coders will need to supplement that with higher education and specific training in medical coding. Many community colleges offer two-year associate degrees in medical coding. There are also applicable four-year degrees in health information technology or healthcare administration. In any case, make sure the program you select is accredited, reputable, and not outrageously expensive. In most areas you have multiple options.
You will have a lot more luck finding a job at a higher salary if you earn a medical coder certification. In many cases, these certifications are built into degree programs, but not in all cases. The most valuable certifications are awarded by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). There are general certifications available as well as specialized certifications that apply to specific coding disciplines.
Find a Job
Once you’ve earned the credentials you need, it’s time to find steady work. The first step is to fine-tune your resume, cover letter, and interview answers. Next, you need to find appealing open positions, make a great impression on hiring managers, and establish yourself as a top candidate. A specialized staffing partner can be a great resource throughout this process. Recruiters with expertise in the field of medical coding can connect you with more vacancies and improve your chances of getting a job. It’s an invaluable career resource that costs you nothing to take advantage of.
Give your medical coding career the best possible start by working with MedPartners.