The Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes many healthcare jobs in the “medical records and health information technicians” category. These jobs are seen as organizing and managing health information data and ensuring information maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility and security in paper and electronic systems. While a high school diploma is enough to qualify for some positions, most jobs in this field will require a postsecondary certificate and some may need an associate's degree. Typical course work includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, healthcare statistics, healthcare reimbursement methods and computer systems. Certifications often are required, such as the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) or Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR).
Getting Started in a Medical Coding and Billing Career
Medical billing and coding has a robust future as it’s predicted to grow 13 percent through 2026 Such jobs in this field, as mentioned above, often are classified under the medical records and health information technicians category and can include those who manage and organize health information. Entry-level positions often require a certificate or an associate’s degree program in medical billing and coding and classes may include various medical classification systems such as ICD-9, CPT, DSM-IV and HCPCS. There is also training during classes about both private and public medical insurance and privacy laws. Employers usually want those with common certifications such as Certified Coding Assistant, which is administered through the American Health Information Management Association.
At the same time, other talents are sought for such roles. Employers also need those who have an attention to detail, good communication skills, leadership abilities, organizational talents and analytical skills.
While education, training and interpersonal skills can make you qualified for a job as a healthcare worker, you will need to make other efforts to successfully enter the field.
- Learn to network. The more people who are aware of what you want to do, the better. Contact teachers or former bosses or colleagues who work in the field, letting them know the jobs and/or employers who interest you. Attend industry events or conferences, checking the list of attendees beforehand so you can be more strategic in who you want to meet. You also can network via social media, such as following an employer on Facebook or an industry insider on Twitter. This allows you to ask questions and perhaps open the door to further interactions via email or phone call. At the same time, demonstrate your value to your network connections by posting interesting industry articles on social media or volunteering to work at an industry event.
- Apply for internships. Various job sites list healthcare job internships and schools and/or career centers may have information about local internships for jobs. You also can visit an organization's website to see if they're hiring interns, or attend career fairs to ask about internship possibilities. Internships can be important when getting a fulltime job – they give employers an idea of your skills and can provide important recommendations from supervisors. At the same time, internships are a great way to get an inside look at the healthcare field and see if you're on the right career path. A word of warning: Apply early for internships as they can be very competitive. For example, if you're looking for a summer one, it's a good idea to start applying in December or January.
- Develop a professional image. Those in healthcare jobs must have integrity and a commitment to maintaining patient confidentiality and organizational ethics. It's believed up to 70 percent of employers check the social media accounts of potential employees before interviewing or hiring, so it's a good idea to check your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts to ensure there's nothing portraying you in an unprofessional light if you have public profiles. At the same time, ask friends who have pictures of you in an unflattering position to untag you. Eliminate your Twitter rantings about controversial subjects such as politics, and make sure any public photo of you is professionally appropriate.
- Create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is different than other social media platforms and has made a number of updates in the past several years to improve its effectiveness. For example, a recent feature now notifies qualified candidates looking for a job about the latest job postings in real time. But keep in mind that LinkedIn is not where you post photos of your dog or talk about what you did on vacation. LinkedIn is your professional profile to the world. Take the time to craft an appropriate LinkedIn profile (the site provides tutorials) and then stay active by making new connections, posting relevant content or joining various groups such as professional associations or alumni groups.
At Ajilon, we understand that finding a career that fits can be difficult. We’re ready to help. Our healthcare career guide will help you find your perfect fit.
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