There is always more than a little anxiety when a person starts looking for the first job. He or she has finished all the academic coursework, but naturally wonders whether it was all worthwhile. Finding that first job is stressful because a person doesn’t know whether or not anyone is hiring. To anyone inquiring about the job availability for a medical coder, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has one response: relax.
Medical coding is an occupation with serious job growth prospects. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data paints a highly optimistic picture for medical coders. It is expected that in the 2010 – 2020 decade there will be an increase in such jobs of no less than twenty one percent and that is considered faster than average by the Bureau. This is part of the phenomenon of the healthcare industry, which is booming due to the advancing age of the American population. Older people require more medical attention and this in turn will result in greater records and reimbursement activity. It creates a perfect job setting for any medical coder with the right qualifications.
Where should an ambitious medical coder go for that first job? The Bureau gives a few handy tips. Hospitals; whether they be state, local, or private, are institutions where a lot of medical coding jobs can be found. The next employment category for medical coders would be the private offices of physicians. Nursing care facilities and home health care services round out the top locations for employment for medical coders (rural areas hold excellent opportunities for medical coders).
Now that the major areas for job openings have been identified, which one should a medical coder choose? That is essentially up to the medical coder and the career path he or she has designed. This professional may want to start out in a large hospital and better learn the ins and outs of medical coding. It may be possible to stay on with a large hospital and grow professionally until an upper level management position is obtained. Another medical coder may like the small work environment of a doctor’s office, and enjoy working closely with the staff. Medical coding is a great job for someone who wants to be self-employed. For that person, perhaps the best idea is to get experience and contacts in either a small or large organization, and then branch out after a couple of years. It all depends on what the person wants both now and in the years to come.
The profession can accommodate the career planning decisions of an individual. That first job is a starting point for a working lifetime in the arena of medical coding and billing. However, it should not be a dead end. A smart person who goes into medical coding embraces lifelong learning and knows that as an individual skill set grows, opportunities will grow as well. That person can be comfortable in knowing that an entry-level job serves as a means to get one’s feet wet. That first job also provides the experience that will prove extremely beneficial as the years go on.
To summarize, a medical coder should not worry so much about whether or not an entry-level job can be secured, but where such a position ought to be sought. There will be opportunities for quite some time to come. The individual looking for the entry-level medical coding job should view the position in terms of how it can best serve as the first step in a productive and rewarding career.