Learning doesn’t stop once you graduate from school—or at least it shouldn’t! If you are a medical coder and biller and want to keep your career from becoming obsolete, you’ll want to keep your knowledge and connections up-to-date in the fast-paced healthcare industry. Here’s how:
Get trained in the ICD-10 coding system
The United States has been using the ICD-9 coding system since 1979. However, as of October 1, 2015, our nation is transitioning to the ICD-10 coding system, an increase from 17,000 to over 155,000 codes!
In order to keep your career current and find future work, you will need to make sure you know ICD-10 medical coding and billing before this transition takes place.
Keep abreast of industry developments
Affected by legislation and technology, healthcare can change faster than most industries. The Affordable Care Act and meaningful use of electronic health records technology are just a few examples that have had a huge impact on healthcare.
Stay in touch with news in your field by subscribing to newsletters, participating in forum discussions, and attending seminars, conferences, and workshops. AAPC (the American Academy of Professional Coders) and AHIMA (the American Health Information Management Association) are great places to find chapter events, workshops, and conferences near you.
Network through events
Attending local chapter events and industry association conferences does more than keep you informed about the industry; events and conferences are great places to meet others and maintain contacts. Be sure to keep up and strengthen your network via social media—like most other fields, coding positions are often filled by recommendations from other coders rather than an actual job posting. Who you know makes a big difference!
Earn industry credentials
Use your billing and coding training as a building block for other roles and certifications. With a year or two of billing and coding experience, you can earn additional industry credentials that increase your knowledge, opportunities, and earning potential.
For example, AAPC and AHIMA offer various certifications such as RHIT, HRHIA, and CPC-P that can double your earning potential and increase your likelihood of advancing to a supervisory or management role. Additional medical billing and coding careers include a certified professional compliance officer, a certified professional practice manager, a certified professional medical auditor, and many more. Check out Career Step’s infographic on medical coding career paths for more ideas and information.
Nervous about the tuition costs of getting the training you need to earn additional credentials? Ask your employer! Companies often cover or help cover educational expenses that lead to professional credentials.
What are some of your tips on staying ahead of the game in a medical billing and coding career? Tell us!