Coders Cash In With Credentials
The results of a 2007 Salary Survey reveal that certified coders earn an average of 17 percent more than their non-certified counterparts.
The 5,155 coding professionals who responded to an AAPC survey offered insight that might surprise some coders, and gave concrete proof that certified coders are in high demand.
In fact, 42 percent of survey respondents said that certification was required for employment at their current positions. Further proving the importance of certification, a recent search of monster.com revealed 310 available medical coding positions, 128 of which required certification. That means that 41 percent of coding positions were closed to non-certified coders.
Coders who hold specialty credentials (such as CPC-E/M) brought in even more money. Eight percent of coders with specialty credentials earned over $85,000, whereas only 2 percent of coders with core certifications earned that much. Just 1 percent of non-certified coders took home over $85,000.
Education, Title Translate Into Bucks
Administrators and consultants brought in the most money this year, both averaging over $85,000 annually. Insurance managers and consultants saw the biggest income growth over the past year. According to our 2006 survey, insurance managers earned about $40,000, but this year they brought in $60,000-$65,000. Last year, coding consultants averaged $58,000, but in 2007 they earned over $85,000.
And if you’re considering a return to school, the evidence shows that you’ll be making a smart money move. Our survey reveals that salaries are strongly driven by education. While coders with some college earned $30,000-$35,000, those who graduated from college brought in $40,000-$45,000. In addition, coding professionals who earned master’s degrees collected over $85,000. This is a big leap from last year, when the survey revealed that those with master’s degrees brought in $55,000.
Experience, Location Pay
Most coding professionals don’t need an incentive to stay in the coding field — the job has infinite rewards on its own. But to put the icing on the cake, the AAPC Salary Survey proves that experience pays. Coders who have been on the job for just one year earned $25,000-$30,000, but those who have worked in the field for 18 years or more averaged $45,000-$50,000 annually.
And your location might also drive your salary. Coding professionals in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Nevada brought in the most income last year, and those in urban settings earned more than those in suburban or rural locations.
Non-certified coders earn (on average) $25K-$30K Certified coders earn $30K-$35K Specialty certified coders earn $35K-$40K