When it comes to choosing a coding specialty, there are a number of things to take into consideration before making an informed choice.The first is taking a look at the specialties that pay the most. Typically, the highest paid are Cardiology, Oncology and Gynecology due to the fact that there are a large number of codes (both CPT and ICD) and numerous procedures performed. You'll need to have an in-depth knowledge of medical terminology and anatomy that are specific to these areas of medicine.Next up is discovering what specialties are in the most demand. Evaluation and Management is perhaps the first choice here due to the fact that most coders find it very challenging. E & M is complex and requires a full understanding of the numerous guidelines and rules required to assign the proper codes. However, this may be the best reason to choose E & M as your specialty as it improves your chances of being employed. Down the line, if you choose to work toward becoming an E & M auditor, it usually means an increase in pay.Many coders choose a specialty based on their education and experience. For example, knowledge of chemistry will definitely help you master Pathology and Laboratory coding. If you worked for an orthopedic surgeon for a number of years, your might make the move to Radiology. Have you cared for a parent or friend that had heart issues or asthma? You may know more about Cardiology or Respiratory than you think.
How about playing to your strengths and make your decision based on what you are good at? Some coders have a knack for Musculoskeletal while others are great at coding for the Digestive system. In the working world, choosing an area in which you can really excel can be a major key to success.Finally, make a decision about whether you would like to work for someone in your neighborhood, city or town or focus on working remotely. Both have their pros and cons. Locally, you may be limited in your choices (depending on what your medical community is like) but you have the social aspect of working directly with a team which many coders enjoy. Remote coders perhaps have a better chance of working in their specialty but need to be self-disciplined and the ability to work well independently.Keep in mind that with a little extra work, you can have two specialties, which will improve your chances of employment. Many employers will ask you what your specialties (plural) are as a way to make sure you have a wide range of knowledge and experience.Both AAPC (American Association of Professional Coders) and AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) offer certifications in a number of medical coding specialties. Once you decide, take the steps to become certified and you can carve out a career that's both enjoyable and rewarding