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Medical coders see salary hike in 2012

The average salary for a certified medical coder in 2012 is $47,796, up nearly $900 from 2011, according to a recent survey from AAPC, a member association focused on the training and credentialing of medical staff.  

[Also: Healthcare employees see modest salary bump in 2012 ]

The 2012 AAPC Health Care Salary Survey is an online survey that was open to AAPC members throughout the summer. The survey had nearly 20,000 respondents.

Key survey findings include:

  • 44 percent of respondents indicated coding/billing was their long-term career goal.
  • 19 percent of respondents work in a rural area; 37 percent work in a suburban location; and 44 percent work in an urban setting.
  • Average salary by workplace has increased from last year by 9.7 percent or more for those in smaller groups or practices. Those working in facilities made more, but received less in raises comparatively, averaging between 4 and 5 percent.
  • Respondents with a bachelor's degree earned 21 percent more than those without a degree or with an associate's degree. Those with a master's degree earned 46 percent more than those with a bachelor's.
  • When broken down by regions in the U.S., the Pacific region (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington) earn the most income with an average of $54,980.

David Blackmer, AAPC spokesperson, said increased government rules and regulations are partly responsible for the pay hike.

“Certified coders with the ability to help maintain compliance and profitability are in more demand,” he said. “I think coders find themselves doing more, in general.”

Blackmer believes this upward trend in salary is likely to continue, at least in the near term.

“Clinicians want to practice medicine and they need knowledgeable and experienced staff to keep their facilities in business,” he noted.

The full results of the salary survey will be published in the October issue of Coding Edge magazine.