Health

Is it Worth Training to be a Medical Coder?

You might have always wanted to work in the medical industry but simply didn’t get the grades required to be a doctor or a nurse. Well, the good news is that there are many other options when it comes to working in healthcare. For example, you could look at training for an administrative position such as medical coding. 

Why Train to be a Medical Coder

The  at Find-A-Code.com (Current Procedural Terminology Software) say that medical coding is a fantastic career choice with plenty of opportunities for advancement. Indeed, the outlook for medical coders is very bright thanks to a growing and aging population. 

There is high demand for fully trained medical coders and once you achieve your certificate, you are unlikely to have trouble finding employment. The more experience you have working in the industry, the more opportunities will open up to you and the higher pay you can secure. You could even set up your own medical coding companies at a future date as many medical facilities are outsourcing this part of their business.

How Can You Become a Medical Coder? 

Unlike other jobs in the medical field, it is not necessary for you to be educated to degree level in order to be employed as a medical coder. There are some facilities that will hire people with a high school diploma and will provide the necessary training along the way. This means that it is possible to earn while you learn. 

However, many employers prefer their medical coders to have certification; it can take between two and four years to earn an associate degree in college. Whatever course you undertake, it should cover training on things like medical terminology; coding sets such as ICD-10, HCPCS, and CPT; medical ethics; and anatomy and physiology. 

How Much Do Medical Coders Earn? 

How much you are likely to earn as a medical coder will depend on a variety of factors. Someone coming straight from high school with no training or experience will obviously earn less start-up pay than someone who has the necessary qualifications and experience. 

Your location also plays a role with medical coders earning differing amounts depending on the state where they live and the medical facility that they work in. 

Basically, the more experience you have, the more money you can earn as a medical coder. According to AAPC, the average annual salary of a medical coder is $54,797. Those without a certification earn around 27% less than those with training and qualifications. 

Is it Difficult to Become a Medical Coder? 

Training to become a medical coder is not as hard as it is to become a doctor, for example, but how difficult it is will depend on your own skills and commitment to learning. Most medical coders will agree that it can be challenging at first trying to get a handle on the structure of the different codes used. With training and experience though, the job definitely becomes easier. 

What you should remember however is that medical coding is a job that requires total accuracy and attention to detail. If you are not a detail-oriented person, medical coding may not be right for you. Mistakes in coding can be very costly, not only for your employer but also for the patient. 

Learning how to code medical forms can be tricky at first as it can be similar to learning a new language. The good news is that coders do not have to learn all the codes. They do need to know which codes to use for difference scenarios, but this is something that will be covered with education and training.

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