Can You Really Make Money Doing Medical Coding From Home?

If you are looking for a remote job, this certainly looks promising.

But is medical coding a real work from home job, or some kind of scam?

In this article, I’ll show you if it’s possible to make money doing medical coding from home, and what to expect.

What Is Medical Coding?

According to MedicalBillingCareers.org there are two main roles in this space: medical billing and coding.

The billing role is all about making sure the numbers add up and everyone is paying their invoices. It requires liaising between health insurance companies and patients to ensure everything is in place. I guess you could say this is a more balanced role as it involves speaking with people over the phone as well as analysing data.

The medical role is more about ensuring everything is being coded correctly in general since every task in a medical environment has a related code. It is much more data focussed.

Quite often these two distinct roles are combined and taken on by one person depending on the organisation and the role you are applying for.

Getting Qualified

There are several different kinds of certifications but it appears the most popular one is the Certified Professional Coder (CPC). In order to get this you’ll need to sit an exam with the AAPC which costs about $350 and takes almost 6 hours to complete.

If you pass this exam you will be designated with an ‘apprentice’ status until you reach a full 2 years on the job experience, until that time your qualification will be CPC-A.

Sounds pretty good right? Here’s the catch…

In order to sit this exam it is highly recommended (but not essential) for you to hold a minimum of an associates degree in any field which takes at least 2 years of full-time study to obtain.

AAPC requirements

I’ve read reviews from people passing the exam without having a degree or any on the job experience and apparently it’s very tough to find a job.

Most employers want at least 2-3 years experience to give you a job, so in other words it’s going to be very tough landing a job as a CPC-A especially if you are looking to be a remote employee.

Job offer for medical coding

This is a very particular field that requires a very high attention to detail so employers want to be sure you know what you are doing. The training for the CPC certification must be completed within 4 months for the AAPC course.

Another certification is called a ‘Certified Coding Associate’ (CCA) and is run by Ahima which is supposedly one of the only other trustworthy training and accreditation organisations around.

Ahima course requirements

The cost of the exam and the requirement recommendations for this are a fair bit lower but it seems the amount of jobs available is somewhat according to my research. I may be wrong here but this is just what I found.

Available Jobs

I was able to find several thousand coding jobs in the US alone but remote jobs were limited to about 10-15% of this and it seems they prefer more experience than in house positions.

Here’s whats currently available on the indeed.com website and according to Google trends there is an upwards trend in the popularity of this role:

Google Trends data

Cost Of Training

The training that I found ranges from between 2-3k all things considered and another few hundred for taking the test.

If you plan on doing an associate degree you might want to factor in 10k plus for that depending on what you study and where.

How Much Does It Pay?

The yearly pay for a medical coder in the US is between 25-51k according to PayScale.com, with billing coders earning slightly less.

A Word Of Caution

Given the popularity of this position there are many training providers jumping on the bandwagon and making all kinds of promises of getting you a job very easily when this is not necessarily the case. Always research the training providers and make sure they have a reputable history and good reviews.

It is also worth noting that providing your personal information to any training provider or company with a ‘position available’ can be risky.

Why?

Because some of them are outright scams looking to obtain your personal information to use for identity theft, this is becoming more and more common.

Pros

  • A real work from home job
  • Potential to provide a full time income
  • Flexibility of working from anywhere
  • Certification itself is not overly expensive

Cons

  • Extensive accreditation requirements
  • Potentially quite expensive if you need to do additional accreditations or an associate degree
  • Could take up to 5 years until you’re considered a ‘worthy’ job candidate with options and a decent salary (associates degree, training and work experience)
  • Finding a remote job may prove to be very difficult

Final Thoughts

While this is certainly a legitimate job with a reasonable earnings potential it appears as though it is not as easy as some are making out.

This requires real and certified training and the exam isn’t easy from what I’ve read so you’re going to be spending a fair amount of time in the books, particularly if you don’t have a degree under your belt.

If you have a desire to do this kind of thing and are happy to put in the time and effort required, this could be a good option. Just make sure you find a real job with a real employer, and know the requirements clearly before making any decisions.

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