By Michelle A. Dick and Rachel Momeni for AAPC
Employment rates and salaries reflect healthcare business professionals’ rising marketability.
AAPC’s 2014 Salary Survey proves that it’s a good time to be working on the business side of healthcare. Employment opportunities continue to rise for members, especially for apprentices. More members are earning higher education degrees than we’ve ever seen. Salaries are increasing across the board, particularly with members who are working in hospital inpatient settings, education, and those with higher education and more experience.
A Giant Employment Leap for Apprentices
Unemployment among members continues to dip, especially for apprentices. It can be tough for apprentices to get their foot in the door, but new data shows it’s not as tough as it used to be: In 2014, only 9.5 percent of apprentices who responded to our survey were unemployed. That rate has steadily declined since 2011: down 5 percent since 2013, 13 percent since 2012, and 16 percent since 2011.
With an unemployment rate of only 1.4 percent, CPCs® are the most gainfully employed members. Graph A: Unemployment shows a decreasing unemployment rate for all credentialed members, with or without a college degree, over the last four years.
The average salary for all employed members in 2014 was $50,775, which is an 8.4 percent increase and a major jump from 2013.
Higher Education Proves Fruitful
Higher education paid off for members in 2014. AAPC’s survey shows there was a significant increase in members obtaining graduate degrees, which in turn increased the average salary from the previous year. Graph B: Education shows that in 2013, 4.5 percent of members had a master’s degree or higher; that number jumped to 7.2 percent in 2014.
Healthcare business professionals with a master’s degree or higher top the charts with salary earnings, earning $89,546 on average. Salary averages for members with no college made an average income of $44,338 in 2014, while members with some college or an associate’s degree made an average $46,815, and those with bachelor’s degrees made an average $54,552, as shown in Graph C: Salary by Education.
Hard Work Gets the Job Done
AAPC members are hard workers. Most members are working full time, as they have in past years; 74.1 percent work 40-45 hours per week. An impressive 13.6 percent of members are working more than 45 hours per week, as shown in Graph D: Hours Worked Per Week.
Experience Pays More
The more experience members have, the more money they make. And according to survey respondents, members with the most experience are worth more now than ever. Those with 31+ years of experience in our industry make the most, at $68,868 per year, on average. Other experienced members with 21-25 years under their belt make a nice salary of $63,558 on average, while members with 26-30 years average even more at $66,033. Members who have just stepped into the workforce with less than a year’s experience make around $35,048 per year. This starting salary is consistent with the previous year. See Graph E: Salary by Experience for the complete salary comparison.
Salaries Increase in All Settings
2014 was the year for raises and salary increases across the board. Members in the hospital inpatient setting are in the sweet spot for significant increases, with a 16.6 percent salary boost, earning an average salary of $56,554 per year. Medium-sized group practices saw a 10 percent increase, earning $46,762 on average. Health system workers reaped the benefits of an 11.1 percent increase, making $54,186 on average. See Graph F: Salary by Workplace for a breakdown of salary averages in various healthcare settings.
There have been subtle increases across all specialties, with exception of AAPC’s new CPB™ credential. There was an increase in salaries for education positions, as reflected in the 7 percent pay increase (from $71,026 in 2013 to $76,021 in 2014) for CPC-Is.
Educators were paid the highest salary in 2014, at $61,212. See Graph G: Salary by Job Responsibility for a salary breakdown by job.
Salaries Reach New Heights
There were large increases in salaries across the United States this past year, as shown in Table A: Percent Increase (on the next page). Members in the East South Central region (Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Alabama) saw a 11.9 percent increase from last year, with an average salary of $48,181 in 2014. Members in the Mid-Atlantic region (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) saw the next significant increases among regions. In 2014, salaries for these folks rose an average of 9.9 percent, or nearly $6,000, to $56,032. See Graph H: Salary by Region (on the next page) to see the salary results in your region.
The results of AAPC’s 2014 Salary Survey clearly indicate that membership continues to advance the business of healthcare. You’re working hard and it’s paying off. Great job!
Michelle A. Dick is executive editor at AAPC.
Rachel Momeni is executive assistant at AAPC.