AAPC Survey: Medical coders report good income, career prospects

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

The AAPC just released the results from its 2011 salary survey. Overall, the news is good.

Here are the highlights:

  • 42.4 percent said coding and billing is what they want to do long-term. They're considering careers in auditing, practice management and compliance.
  • "The average wage in 2011 for a Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) was approximately $46,800 (up $1,400 from last year)."
  • "More than 88 percent of our respondents have had at least some college, ... Whereas only 55 percent of Americans have had some college."
  • "Unemployment in the United States has fluctuated around 9-10 percent for much of the past year. Coders are slightly less effected with an 8.7 percent unemployment rate."

Earning their keep

Here's something pretty interesting from the survey:

"This year, we asked respondents to estimate if they saved their practices or facilities annually through better documentation, more accurate coding, or improved billing procedures. Half estimate they saved their practices or facilities at least $10,000-$50,000 in the previous year. One-third said they believe they saved $50,000 or more. Results indicate that hiring skilled, certified coders is a wise investment for employers. Among the highest-earning responders (those earning $50,000 or more annually), greater than 90 percent said they saved their practices or facilities $50,000 or more annually."

While I'm not doubting that good medical coders can help save money for their employers, asking this question is like asking bloggers if they are creating culturally important literature.

Future prospects

Rhonda Buckholtz rounds up the survey and tells medical coders it can get even better with ICD-10 coding. Complicated coding will make the good medical coders even more valuable.

[See also: How ICD-10 can create opportunities for medical coders]