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Orthopedic Coding Alert

Orthopedic Coders' Salary Survey:

Want to Earn More Money? Stay on the Job

Our survey proves that longevity in the orthopedic field will bring in more money for coders

If you-ve ever wondered whether higher education, certification and years on the job had any effect on your salary, wonder no more. Our first Salary Survey revealed some fascinating information about coding careers--and a few surprises.

Our survey found that the average salary of the 950 orthopedic coding authorities who responded to our Coders- Salary Survey is between $50,000 and $65,000 a year, with the highest-paid coders working in the orthopedic field for 11 or more years. Our study also revealed that coding certification and education helped coders increase their earning potential. 11 Years- Experience May Mean $40,000 More Experience power: Our survey revealed that beginning orthopedic coders (those with one to three years of experience in the field) brought in an average of $25,000 to $30,000. But after 11 or more years in the field, orthopedic coders are bringing in $70,000 or more on average, based on our respondents- data.
 
Certification power: And if there was any doubt that certifications carry earning power, our survey will erase any reservations you may have about honing your skills. A full 37 percent of orthopedic coding professionals who responded to our survey said that certification was required before they were hired, and 56 percent hold either the CPC or CPC-H specialty certification.

Our survey results overall, however, indicated that other specialties may not take certification as seriously. We found that industry-wide (those whom we surveyed from other specialties), only 21 percent of our respondents said that certification was a prerequisite for their jobs, and only 41 percent of non-orthopedic respondents held CPC or CPC-H specialty designations. Therefore, orthopedic practices may be more interested than some other specialists in hiring certified coders.

-It makes sense that employers are interested in hiring certified coders,- says Laureen Jandroep, OTR, CPC, CCS-P, CPC-H, CCS, director and senior instructor for CRN Institute, an online coding certification training center at www.crn-institute.com. -Potential employers want their staff to protect them against fraud and ensure that they are capturing all the revenue they are ethically entitled to. They want certified and well-trained staff.-

In addition, the need for certified coders seems to have increased with the implementation of compliance programs in various sectors of the healthcare industry, says Cindy C. Parman, CPC, CPC-H, RCC, president of the AAPC National Advisory Board and principal of Coding Strategies Inc. in Dallas, Ga.

-The necessity of following rules and -doing things right- make it more important than ever to have skilled medical coders, and I believe that certification is seen as evidence of knowledge and training,- Parman says.

Education power: In the orthopedic field, education pays. Thirty-one percent of our respondents are high- [...]


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