Choosing a career can be difficult, whether you are a fresh-faced graduate or someone already in employment but wants to make a change.
Luckily there are many often-overlooked roles out there that might suit you perfectly; it’s just a case of doing a little research and working out your priorities.
One excellent example of this is medical coding, a job that lets you work in healthcare without needing to train as a doctor or provide direct care to patients.
To help you work out whether this is the right career for you, let’s look at what makes medical coding an appealing prospect in 2022 and how you can get involved.
While it might sound like it shares similarities with computer programming, medical coding is actually far more straightforward when you get to the bottom of what the job entails.
The main medical coder requirements are to translate the diagnosis and treatment plans put together by physicians for their patients into standard codes that go on medical records. Insurers then use these codes for billing purposes. In a sense, a medical coder is crucial to keeping the wheels of healthcare turning smoothly.
Medical coding is not just glorified data entry; it involves a lot more than interpreting the information provided by healthcare pros and making sure it is understandable to insurers and others within the industry.
For example, you will need to have good communication and interpersonal skills. You’ll also be expected to act as the middle person between the various people involved in treating patients and covering the costs. It can be quite a sociable career, rather than a purely administrative one.
There are many reasons to learn medical coding this year, chief among which is the job stability that this career brings with it.
Medical coders are needed at hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide, and modest yet reliable growth in the number of positions available is predicted for at least the next half-decade.
In turn, this means you can find work as a medical coder in many places, whether you want to live in a bustling East Coast city or a rural Midwest town. Having this kind of flexibility and employability is not that common in a lot of careers.
Pay is also appealing, with the average medical coder taking home around $34,000 a year according to official Bureau for Labor Statistics figures, while senior coders can expect to earn upwards of $50,000 annually.
The more experience you have and the more people you manage, the more you will make. It is definitely a career with long-term prospects for growth within the role and the opportunity to get your foot in the door in healthcare administration which could lead you in all sorts of directions.
To learn medical coding and become attractive to prospective employers, you need to undergo formal education, training, and qualification.
Some employers will let you do this as part of the job, while others expect you to acquire accreditation before applying for available positions.
Many institutions offer year-long diploma courses in medical coding. Ideally, you will work towards becoming a Certified Professional Coder, passing an exam set by the American Association for Professional Coders in the process.
There are eligibility requirements to meet to seek accreditation of this kind in the first place. As such, you should take time to research these, as they can vary depending on your region and the regulations which apply there.
The final point about building a career in medical coding is that it is definitely better suited to certain personalities. Aside from the aspects of the job mentioned earlier, there are a few other skills that good medical coders will need to make the most of this job.
Familiarity with accounting and billing software, for example, will help you get ahead quickly. This is because medical coding is closely related to medical billing, and indeed people who do one will often handle the other as well.
More broadly, you will need a decisive, confident outlook that allows you to follow your training and instincts when faced with challenges in interpreting medical documents.
Likewise, being detail-oriented and working precisely and accurately over protracted periods will put you in a strong position.
Learning medical coding could be a way to start a new career that changes your life for the better, and this job is both rewarding and stable, which is what a lot of people are looking for.
If this sounds appealing, don’t delay, but instead, get your act together and look further into the medical coder opportunities available.