Should I Become Certified in Medical Coding?
Medical coding is a popular and in demand career right now. Due to the new healthcare laws and aging of today’s baby boomer population, more people are seeking healthcare service, which creates a high demand for qualified healthcare personnel within the industry. The higher the demand for healthcare services, the more the demand rises for healthcare personnel. Medical coding jobs are on the rise right now. Medical coding salary ranges from $12-$30 an hour depending on experience, location, and certification. Of course, a great job in medical coding starts with excellent medical coding training that will prepare you for the national board exam certification tests. This leads into the question – should medical coders become certified? The answer is “yes.” Even though there are a lot of jobs available, medical coding certification gives you a competitive edge in the industry. Most employers prefer to hire someone who is already certified. Certification through a professional organization like the AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) shows a level of competence and professionalism within the field. When choosing a medical coding training program, it is important to choose one that is geared towards the certification that you want to obtain. As a medical coding instructor, I’m frequently asked if a new graduate is capable of sitting for the AAPC CPC exam. My answer is that it depends upon the student. The Medical Coding Training Program at Meditec uses the gold-standard text for teaching medical coding. If a student did well in the course, and then bought the self-study materials from AAPC including their three practice tests and study guide, I believe there is a good chance of passing the test even without having had work experience. Of course, having some coding experience is always helpful. Some students offer to do internships for an employer to gain valuable on-the-job experience. Many times these internships turn into job offers. Another benefit of becoming a certified medical coder is getting access to good networking opportunities for jobs through your local AAPC chapter. Networking is an important part of landing a good medical coding job. In addition, certified medical coders have a higher salary than non-certified ones. Certification for medical coding shows that you are a professional, you have passed the rigorous testing requirements, and that your skillset is documented by objective testing other than just completing a medical coding program. As mentioned above, there are many benefits why you should become a certified medical coder. When presenting yourself for a medical coding job and wanting to command a decent salary, it is vital to have in hand a copy of your flawlessly written resume, certification from a well-known organization, and a certificate of completion from a well-balanced medical coding training program. Be prepared to sell yourself, your motivation, and your determination in becoming successful in your new career field. Employers love passionate and dedicated employees. These things along with your self-confidence and presentation are the tools needed for success in landing your first medical coding job.