Interested in becoming a medical coder? Now is a great time to enter the industry. Jobs for medical coders and other health information technicians are booming, expected to grow 15% through 2024. And not only are there more medical coding jobs, but there are less coders! 6,000 new professionals will be needed each year to fill the gap created by retirees. However, only about 2,000 grads enter the field each year. This shortage means great opportunities, great jobs, and great earning potential. If you are looking for a flexible, quick-entry career, you’re in luck. Here are some causes of this rapid growth.
1. An aging population
The over-65 crowd has become a larger and larger percentage of the population. According to a 2014 census report, this group will reach 83.7 million by the year 2050, which is about 20% of the population. Today, the aging population has a significant impact on healthcare and continues to demand more professionals. In fact, healthcare-related occupations and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth over the next few years. As more and more people require more and more healthcare services, the demand for medical billing and coding professionals skyrockets.
2. The ICD-10 transition
Last year’s swap to the ICD-10 classification system has shaken the whole medical coding industry, but in a good way. Many industry experts believe this will create lots of opportunities for medical coders. Coders who are skilled and savvy in navigating this complex coding system are in high demand. In fact, there is a shortage in skilled workers, and many health information service providers are gearing up to increase their medical coding workforce to meet demand.
3. Healthcare reforms
In March 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) radically changed the healthcare landscape by, among other things, mandating health insurance for every American. Consequently, at least 30 million more Americans now have health insurance. More insured patients mean more appointments and a higher demand for healthcare professionals, including medical coders and billers.
A career in medical coding and billing has more going for it than high demand. This industry can provide jobs with flexible schedules, work-from-home opportunities, and lots of room for advancement. To top it off, training can take as little as a few months and be done online, thanks to quality certificate programs like Career Step’s medical billing and coding program.
Already in the industry or training to become a coder? What makes medical coding and billing the best choice for you? Let future professionals know in the comments below.