How to Choose Between a Career in Medical Coding Jobs or Medical Assistant Jobs

by GuestPoster on August 8, 2011

There are a number of different medical coding jobs, and people who are interested in this type of work can take several different career paths. For instance, they may work part-time from home doing medical transcriptions, or they may work full-time at a hospital as a medical coder or a health information technician. Alternatively, they may become a medical assistant who has to do some coding as part of their job. Before going down any of these career paths, interested people should do some research about the medical assistant salary range as well as the salary range of medical coding jobs.

The medical assistant salary range tends to start at about 22,000 and extend to about 30,000 per year according to the AMAs (American Medical Association) website. Because these professionals are often employed by hospitals, they can look forward to receiving health insurance as one of their benefits. When comparing the pay scale of various jobs, you should always consider what the benefits are worth. For instance, a job that pays 22,000 per year but includes a great health care plan can actually be worth more than a job that pays 25,000 per year but requires you to buy your own health insurance.

If medical coding jobs interest you more than becoming a medical assistant, you may be interested in learning that their pay scale starts at the same point but extends to almost 40,000 per year. The bottom ten percent of medical coders made less than 20,000 in 2008 while the top coders made over 50,000. The majority of people in that field, however, made approximately 24,000 to 39,000. The differences in salary are largely dependant upon where the coder worked. Information technicians who worked for the federal government made the most money, and those who worked for hospitals made the second most while those who worked in private doctors offices tended to make the least.

After comparing their salaries, you should look at what you can expect to do during a day. Information technicians will spend almost all of their time working with medical billing or insurance codes. Medical assistants will only spend a little of their time doing coding. The rest of their time will be spent doing tasks as diverse as checking patients in to giving them shots. The exact duties that you must complete every day will vary depending upon your employer.

Whether you opt to become a medical assistant or a medical information technician, you can look forward to a long and rewarding career in a growing field. According to most analysts, medical coding jobs are very stable as are medical assistant jobs. They both require one year to two years of training and the completion of any exam. The medical assistant salary range is similar to the median levels of the medical coding salary range. Thus, if you are trying to decide between these two careers, your decision will be based upon what you want to spend your day doing. If you are still unsure, you should contact someone in the industry and see if they will let you shadow them for a day.

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