Job – A specific task done as part of a routine; a duty or responsibility; the process, requirements or details of working.
Profession – A vocation requiring knowledge of some department of learning or science.
Career – An occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training.
For some people, their work—the thing they do every day—is by definition, a job. Jobs have a place in the world; all honest labor is respectable and valuable, and selling movie theater tickets or vacuuming endless miles of carpet in office buildings has certainly helped pay for more than one college education. Most jobs don’t change much over time, however, and don’t tend to take you anywhere. This is fine if you like where you are, but if you’re looking for more, you want a career—or better yet, a career path that leads onward and upward to new and exciting opportunities.
One of the wonderful things about medical coding is it’s more than a job—it’s a profession with many possible career paths. Medical coding requires knowledge in many areas: human anatomy, medical terminology, government regulations, third-party payer policies, standards of ethics and coding guidelines, to mention a few. Medical coding also requires specialized training to interpret medical records, run computer software, and efficiently handle office needs.
Often, medical coding is a foot in the door that opens into the health information management (HIM) world. With additional educational opportunities, both formal and informal, medical coders can progress from working with outpatient records to inpatient records to becoming coding supervisors to department managers. Additional HIM opportunities may lead to positions in quality and risk management, clinical documentation improvement, and information technology.
As the healthcare industry and requirements for accountable care organizations continues to grow, new positions that aren’t in place today may become necessary in the next 3-5 years, providing even more exciting and diverse career paths for medical coders who are willing to venture forth to explore and take advantage of new opportunities.
All in all, medical coding is a very viable choice for someone who is looking for an entry-level opportunity into a field with potential for career-long growth opportunities.