Contrary to the belief of many individuals, obtaining a medical coding certification provides a tremendous number of benefits especially for those who have their sight set on developing a long term career in medical coding, as opposed to just a job. Essentially, professionals who attain a medical coding certification, within the health information management industry, set themselves apart from the rest, and place themselves in an elite class.
Of course there is a cost involved, however, anyone looking to establish themselves as a true professional, and set themselves up for a long and prosperous career, should view the cost as an investment not an expense. Do it now or do it soon is the best attitude. I see so many medical coders kick themselves for not taking the initiative 1, 2, or 3 years ago, and see others who attained a medical coding certification surpassing them in terms of earnings and exciting new job opportunities.
Here are some of the benefits which can be expected upon receiving a certification:
Employers Hire Certified Professionals
Doctors recognize that there is a major financial and time commitment to become certified, and upon completion, the individual not only possess a great deal of knowledge, but also a strong desire to excel in the HIM field. Further, there is an inherent level of trust, thus, ensuring quality work, greater productivity, and a reduction of exposure to fraud.
As in most jobs, practical experience and education play a huge role in level of compensation. Employers respect and highly regard individuals with a medical coding certification, and as a result will compensate those medical coders at a higher rate, and are more apt to provide pay increases in the future in order to retain them. A somewhat date study conducted by the American Health Information Management Association indicated that 67% of credentialed employees earned more than their non-credentialed counterparts.
Long Term Success
Certified medical coders in essence, have set the stage for long term future success. Not only are there a variety of continuing education and specialized areas which can be pursued, there are tremendous opportunities within healthcare institutions, insurance providers, and other medical facilities at the supervisory, managerial, and executive level, available only to those who have attained certifications and education achievements. The initial medical job is only a stepping stone for bigger and better things to come.
There are a number of industry related professional associations such as AHIMA to which you can belong only if a medical coding certification is held. Aside from the elite status of belonging to one or all of these organizations, they provide a great opportunity to get connected with peers within the industry, and often provide the inside scoop on industry trends as well as new career opportunities.
I hope you can see that obtaining a medical coding certification provides a number of short term and long term benefits. If you have a desire to pursue a career in the HIM field, achieving the certification is essential. Again, view it as an investment in your future. If something is holding you back, it is likely fear. Fear can only be overcome if you face it. A good starting point is the AHIMA website which can be found at www.ahima.org. It provides a wealth of information. Just get started and good luck.