Best Paid Medical Coding and Billing Positions

Medical coding and billing positions are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that job demand for coding and billing professionals will grow between 13 and 21 percent by 2026. However, healthcare providers are experiencing a shortage of qualified professionals to manage the aging population.

Medical coding and billing has many career paths people can choose from. Each position has different responsibilities, work environment and salaries. In this article, we list the best paid positions available to medical coding and billing specialists.

Read our article to know more about how to start a career in medical coding and billing.

Medical Coder

Medical coders are professionals tasked with reviewing and assigning accurate medical codes to clinical statements. Such codes identify diagnoses, procedures and other services that were performed by a healthcare provider. Medical coders are proficient in many different areas, including surgery, radiology, and general medicine.

To become a medical coder, healthcare workers must train and obtain a certificate. The AAPC, for example, offers the Certified Medical Coder (CPC) certificate. Workers who complete the certification process often have mastery of all code sets, evaluation and management basics, as well as documentation guidelines.

The average salary of a medical coder is around $54,000. However, actual salaries differ according to local demand, individual experience and other credentials. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job demand for medical coders will increase by 22 percent between 2017 and 2022. This means average salary for the position may grow, as the bureau also expect to not be sufficient skilled workers to fill demand.

Outpatient Coder

Outpatient coders are medical coders with the required knowledge to handle specialized payment and coding standards related to outpatient procedures such as same day surgery or diagnostic testing. Most outpatient coders work in places such as ambulatory surgical centers and are also knowledgeable about all standard coding practices.

Workers working in outpatient facilities often hold a Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) or similar certificate. A significant number of workers pursued a CPC certification before undergoing training for specialized outpatient procedures. The training process for outpatient coder is similar to that of certified coder. For example, both teach workers skills related to evaluation, management and documentation guidelines. However, the COC program also gives workers much needed skills to handle specific issues, such as medical necessity and claim denials.

The average salary of an outpatient coder is $60,000. However, actual salary may vary depending on experience and local demand. Expert outpatient coders working on states with high demand for healthcare professionals can earn as much as $65,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job demand for this and similar positions to grow by 13 percent between 2016 and 2026.

Inpatient Coder

The Inpatient Coder job position is relatively new compared to others on this list. AAPC is the only institution offering a Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) certification. This credential prepares healthcare workers to handle medical records which use two specific medical codes related to inpatient procedures. The medical codes handled by inpatient coders are designed to handle medical severity diagnosis groups and prospective payment systems.

Inpatient coders share knowledge with other coding professionals, including expertise with anatomy, physiology and other medical disciplines. This includes medical codes designed to identify diagnosis, procedures and treatments. Becoming a certified inpatient coder does not require a previous coding credential. Potential coders can receive specialized training that covers only the knowledge needed to work in an inpatient setting.

The average salary of an inpatient coder is $49,000. This amount is lower than other positions, such as medical coder and outpatient coder. However, actual salary is often affected by local demand and previous experience. The reason why salary of inpatient coders is lower might be due to how narrow their knowledge is. This may make it difficult for an inpatient coder to, for example, switch to a standard medical coder position without further training.

Risk Adjustment Coder

Risk adjustment coders are healthcare professionals capable of dealing with medical cases related to risk adjustment models. This includes extensive knowledge of hierarchical condition categories (HCC), chronic illness and disability payment systems (CDPS) and other risk adjustment policies established by the U.S. Department of Human Services (HSS). Risk adjustment coders determine which medical codes better represent the medical condition of a patient according to risk of disease or death. Which code is assigned has a significant impact on healthcare costs and needs.

A Certified Risk Adjustment (CRC) credential is often needed to land a job as a risk adjustment coder. In most cases, people working on this position previously trained for a standard medical coder position before specializing in risk adjustment. The AAPC offers a 4-month training course for coders looking to specialize in risk adjustment. During training, coders also learn to understand audit processes and documentation guidelines related to risk adjustment, as well as additional expertise in anatomy and medical terminology.

Risk adjustment coders are among the best paid non-managerial coding positions in the market. On average, risk adjustment coders earn $62,000 per year. However, their salary can be much higher in areas with high demand, or due to previous experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job demand for this position is expected to grow by 13 percent in the next five years.

Medical Biller

Medical billers are healthcare professionals in charge of following up on claims and receiving payment from insurance companies. Medical billers make sure healthcare providers are paid by billing both patients and insurance companies. To do so, they collect information about the patient, including their health coverage, personal details, medical history, and report on which procedures were performed.

Most medical billers hold a high school diploma and a Certified Professional Biller (CPB) certificate. The training process gives healthcare workers expertise on insurance plans, payer policies, local and national coverage determinations. They are also trained on how to compile clinical documents known as claims, which are necessary to bill both patients and insurance companies. Medical billers are also taught coding fundamentals that allow them to work closely with coders.

The average salary of a medical biller is $52,000 per year. However, billers working for large healthcare providers can earn as much as $60,000 to compensate for high volume of claims being processed. Actual salary is also affected by other credentials and years of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for this and other positions is expected to increase at least 10 percent in the next ten years.

Medical Auditor

Medical auditors are professionals that help healthcare providers maintain accurate and compliant medical records. They perform detailed audits that help improve how clinical documentation and other medical records are handled and stored. Such audits also protect healthcare providers from potential fines and other penalties related to non-compliance.

Medical auditors require certification to work in the field. The AAPC, for example, offers a Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA) program that prepares healthcare professionals for the job. The training gives prospective medical auditors knowledge about auditing practices such as Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) and handling private payer denials. It also provides extensive training on coding and documentation guidelines that providers must follow to be in compliance with laws and regulations.

The average salary of medical auditors is $65,000 per year. This amount can vary according to location, years of experience and other credentials held. However, medical auditors can also perform audits for several healthcare providers simultaneously, increasing their earnings. Demand for medical auditors is not expected to grow as fast as other billing and coding careers. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, several thousand new job openings will be made available in the next few years.

Documentation Expert Outpatient

Documentation experts have expertise reviewing outpatient clinical documentation and providing suggestions to guarantee accuracy of medical codes. They aid medical auditors to improve how healthcare providers handle clinical documentation, making sure it meets required quality standards and regulations.

Most documentation experts hold an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or certification from a professional association. AAPC, for example, offers a Certified Documentation Expert Outpatient (CDEO) certificate to medical coding and billing professionals interested in the specialization. AAPC recommends at least two years of coding and billing experience before enrolling in their training program. The online course lasts for three months and provides knowledge on clinical documentation improvement, quality measures, payment methodologies and advanced coding concepts.

The average salary of a documentation expert is around $64,500 per year. This amount is similar to other medical auditor positions, as they often share responsibilities within healthcare providers. Documentation experts working in high demand areas or for several providers may earn up to $70,000. Demand for documentation experts is growing as fast as other medical auditing positions.

Physician Practice Manager

Physician Practice Managers are professionals in charge of managing and administrating the operations of a healthcare provider. They are usually hired to manage doctor offices, medical clinics, hospital departments and other healthcare facilities. As such, they must have extensive understanding of insurance policies, healthcare business, corporate practices and human resource management.

Working as a physician practice manager requires a wide ranges of skills. Unlike other billing and coding positions, most practice managers hold a bachelor’s degree as well as several certifications enhancing their knowledge. AAPC offers the Certified Physician Practice Manager (CPPM) certification, which can obtained by medical coding and billing professionals who hold at least an associate’s degree. Their online training course can be completed in three months.

The average salary of a physician practice manager is $68,000 per year. However, location, type of provider and local demand also affect actual salaries. For example, a physician manager working at a medical clinic may earn as much as $90,000.

Professional Compliance Officer

Compliance Officers are healthcare professionals who have expertise dealing with government regulation, laws and guidelines. Their job is to make sure a healthcare provider’s operations comply with such rules in order to meet the requirements set by the Affordable Care Act. Compliance Officers develop, implement and monitor compliance protocols.

Most compliance officers hold a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare related field. They also hold several credentials, including a Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO) certificate, or similar. AAPC offers a three-month online course designed for experienced medical coders and billers, which provides the necessary skills to work as a compliance officer.

Compliance officers earn a salary that matches other managerial positions. On average, they earn around $74,000 per year, which makes them one of the highest-paid medical coding and billing specializations. U.S. News and World Report has ranked the position among the top 30 best business jobs nationwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that demand for compliance officers will grow 8 percent by 2026.

There are several reasons why people should start a career in medical coding and billing. Read here to learn more about them.

Pursuing a Career in Criminal Justice

While police officers serve on the front line, there is a deep network of talented and well paid jobs that support law enforcement. Criminal Justice career opportunities beyond the front line include canine officers, those who protect fish and game, and government special agents. People who work these jobs often say they are stimulated or challenged by their work and never run short of interesting stories to tell.

K-9 Officer

K-9 officers are law enforcement officials who work on a canine unit. They handle large dogs such as German shepherds and perform a wide range of activities. Among them are searching for hidden drugs, investigate crimes, control riots, locate human remains or provide disaster assistance. K-9 officers develop a bond with their assigned dogs, which is necessary to make them behave as expected.

People who want to become K-9 officers must first meet requirements and complete training as law enforcement officers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least a high school diploma is needed to become a police officer. However, some departments and federal agencies prefer candidates who have a degree in law enforcement or criminal justice. Candidates must also pass a rigorous background check, as well as several physical and mental tests, before working in law enforcement.

After several years of experience understanding police procedures and law enforcement practices, officers can apply for specialized instruction in several dog-related fields, such as canine behavior, dog obedience, search and seizure protocols, and practice exercises in established dog teams. Candidates must also receive certification from the U.S. Police Canine Association before becoming eligible for a position within a K-9 unit.

The salary and compensation received by K-9 officers varies according to certifications and years of experience. For example, a newly-trained K-9 officer would earn around $52,000 at the beginning of their careers. However, several years later, their salary could climb to as much as $97,000. K-9 and other specialised officers also receive additional compensation for their work. The California State Highway Patrol, for example, offers its K-9 unit an additional $160 per month.

United States Marshal

The U.S. Marshal Service is the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the United States. It was originally established by George Washington in 1789 to assist federal courts with their law enforcement functions. The modern version of the agency was established in 1969 and currently handles most fugitive operations and federal arrest warrants. It is also responsible for protection of federal judiciary officers, housing and transportation for federal prisoners, and criminal asset management. The federal Witness Protection Program is also operated by the U.S. Marshal Service.

U.S. deputy marshals are appointed by the president to one of the 94 federal judicial districts. People who want to join the U.S. Marshal Service must meet minimum requirements set by the agency. Only U.S. citizens who are between 21 and 36 years of age are accepted into the training program. Federal rules also require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree or no less than one year of experience in other law enforcement positions. The agency accepts any degree from an accredited college, though most candidates have studies in criminal justice, criminology, or law enforcement.

As with other law enforcement positions, U.S. deputy marshal candidates must go through an extensive selection process. In general, candidates will sit for a lengthy interview, undergo several physical and mental examinations, as well as a rigorous background check. After that, new members must complete a four month training program at the U.S. Marshals Service Training Academy in Georgia. The training program includes seven exams which candidates must pass to receive their certification.

The salary of U.S. deputy marshals is determined by the federal government’s General Schedule (GS) pay grade system. Most newly-trained deputy marshals begin their careers earning around $39,000 per year. As they gain experience, their salary will grow to as much as $50,000 if they remain in the same position. However, employees of the U.S. Marshal Service often receive additional compensation which is not counted towards their base salary.

FBI Agent

Agents for the Federal Bureau of Intelligence, or FBI, are tasked with protecting people and upholding the U.S. Constitution. They are responsible of enforcing over 300 federal statutes, as well as carry out criminal investigations. People from all backgrounds can become an FBI Agent. The agency often hires people with degrees in education, science, business and other careers. This is because of the wide range of activities performed by the FBI, which require people with many different skills. In general, only U.S. citizens who are between 23 and 36 years of age, with a bachelor’s degree in any field, are considered for this position.

To become an FBI agent, people must pass the Special Agent Selection System (SASS), which includes mental and physical tests. However, candidates must also be eligible for a Top Secret sensitive compartmented information clearance and be in compliance with the FBI pre-employment Drug Policy. This policy states that applicants should not have consumed any illegal drug, including marijuana, for at least three years before they apply. It also states that applicants must have never sold, distributed or manufactured drugs without prior authorization.

According to PayScale.com, the average salary of an FBI Agent is around $64,000 annually. However, federal employees are often included in salary and promotion schedules. According to the Office of Personnel Management, most FBI agents start earning around $48,000 per year. This General Schedule (GS) pay grade system has ten levels. At level ten, FBI agents earn around $98,000 each year. Supervisory and executive positions have higher salaries which can reach $137,000 before retirement.

Special Agent

Special agents are law enforcement officials who work as detectives or criminal investigators, often for a federal agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation or Department of Homeland Security. They are tasked with investigations into criminal violations of federal laws, and often determine whether or not prosecution is warranted. Special agents are also known as criminal investigators.

Special agents investigate a wide array of criminal activities. These include kidnapping, cyber attacks, drug trafficking, bank robbery, financial fraud, and violations of federal statutes. Most criminal investigators work across state lines and are constantly monitoring the landscape for potential threats to national security. They often perform undercover assignments to gather evidence, carry out surveillance, wiretap suspects, interview witnesses and examine personal or business records.

In general, special agents hold a certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree in law enforcement or criminal justice. Federal agencies often hire workers with other skills, such as engineering, or medicine. However, they may be required to obtain a certificate in law enforcement or criminal justice to better perform their responsibilities. Like any other law enforcement officer, special agents are also subject to background checks, mental and physical tests to determine qualification. Some federal agencies also demand compliance with drug policies.

According to PayScale.com, the average salary of a federal special agents is around $80,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job demand for this position will grow an average 4.5 percent in the next few years. However, demand could also be affected by policy changes enacted by individual states or the federal government. Like FBI agents, the salary of criminal investigators is tied to the General Schedule (GS) pay grade system. This means that before retirement, a special agent could earn as much as $120,000 per year.

Conservation Officer

Conservation officers, also known as fish and game wardens, are law enforcement officials who make sure that local and federal Fish and Wildlife Codes are followed. They oversee fishing, hunting and boating activities in their states, making sure that wildlife is protected from illegal practices, such as poaching and trapping. Conservation officers also act as criminal investigators, writing reports, making arrests, gathering evidence and interviewing suspects. They are also responsible for attending wildlife-related emergencies, such as wild animals invading residential areas.

Most states ask potential conservation officers to have a bachelor’s degree before being hired. However, some jurisdictions accept associate’s degrees if the candidate has previous experience law enforcement or wildlife conservation. In general, only U.S. citizens who are at least 18 or 21 years old are considered for the position.

Newly-selected conservation officers must enroll in a training academy before being deployed. The training period lasts between three and twelve months. People hired directly by the federal government must also complete a 20-week law enforcement training program in Georgia. Like any other law enforcement official, conservation officers must pass a background check, physical and mental examinations, and a drug test. Once training is complete, officers are assigned to a field training officer for 10 weeks, before being deployed on their own.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a conservation officer is around $59,000 per year. Senior officers with ten or more years of experience can earn as much as $80,000. As of May 2017, there were 6,020 conservation officers nationwide. However, one drawback of this career path is slow job growth. In 2017, the Bureau predicted that job demand for conservation officers would grow only one percent. Conservation worker, a similar position, is expected to grow 4 percent.

Five Colleges Where You Can Start A Career In Nursing

As the workforce gets older, the need for healthcare professionals continues to rise. Nursing is among the top jobs where demand continues to increase year after year. Pursuing a career in nursing could help struggling families get out of financial hardship.

Why start a career in nursing?

Healthcare recently became the largest employer in 2017, with more than 17 million people working in the industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, the majority of jobs positions expected to grow significantly in the next few years are related to healthcare. Among them is nursing. The Bureau of Health Professions estimates that by 2020, the shortage of nursing professionals will reach 1 million.

This makes pursuing a career in nursing more attractive. Another factor is education costs and potential salaries. In Florida, registered nurses make on average $65,000 each year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing professionals with master’s or doctoral degrees earn above $100,000. By 2020, increasing demand will most likely push salaries up.

Several colleges offer specialized registered and professional nursing degree programs costing from $23,000 to $40,000. Some programs come with practice sessions and internships that help prospective students land a job as soon as they graduate. Evening and weekend programs also help working parents get started in nursing without sacrificing their income. Also, most students are eligible for local, private and federal aid, as well as scholarships.

Keiser University

Keiser University is among the best institutions to start a nursing career. This college has over fifteen campuses in the state of Florida, and has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. it is also a member of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida association. Keiser University also operates an eCampus, which offers online degree programs designed for working parents and adults.

Keiser University was founded in 1977 as a for-profit institution by Arthur Keiser and his mother Evelyn. Since 2011, the university has operated as a not-for-profit college, offering certificates and degrees in the associate, bachelor, masters, specialist and doctoral levels. The university offers ten nursing degrees, four of which are designed for people interested in becoming a registered nurse. The remaining six programs are for registered nurses who want to expand their qualifications. This includes their popular RN to BSN program, which can be completed in under twelve months.

As of 2015, Keiser University has around 16,000 students enrolled in its degree programs. Average tuition is around $18,000 for an associate’s degree in Nursing. However, more than 80 percent of students receive financial aid, reducing tuition costs to around $12,000. Also, students can take online classes through eCampus to graduate faster, saving money in the process. In addition to that, Keiser University offers scholarships to all qualified active-duty personnel, retirees and dependants. These scholarships are part of the Yellow Ribbon program for veterans training.

Herzing University

Herzing University is another private non-profit institution offering some of the most comprehensive nursing degree programs nationwide. Founded in 1965 by Henry and Suzanne Herzing, the institution has 10 college campuses across seven states and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its business degree programs have also been accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education. Until 2009, the institution was known as Herzing College. It wasn’t until the addition of graduate programs that it changed its name to Herzing University.

The university also operates online programs designed to help distance learning students who cannot study full-time. Its online programs have been recognized among the best nationwide for six consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report. Although nursing is only available in their Alabama, Florida and Ohio campuses, students have access to online classes that can help them speed up their degree programs.

The university offers a 20-month associate degree nursing program which can help prospective students start a career in the field in less than two years. In general their associate degree in nursing includes 72 credits which are spread across six semesters. However, if the student plans to transfer credits, the program can be finished in around twelve months. The average tuition cost for the program is $10,000 per semester, though students can reduce the cost by requesting financial aid.

West Coast University

West Coast University is a private for-profit institution originally established in 1909 in Los Angeles as a small ophthalmology school. In 1997, it merged with the American Career College, which was founded by David Pyle, and reorganized its educational programs towards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in healthcare.

This university has campuses in California, Texas and Florida. As of 2018, around 5,000 students are enrolled in at least one of its programs. Around 90 percent are full-time students, although most take at least one online course. West Coast University has been accredited by the WASC College and University Commission. Its bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing are also approved by the Boards of Nursing of California, Texas and Florida.

West Coast University is one of several institutions which currently offer online-only bachelor’s degrees in nursing. This includes a twelve-month program for people who already hold an associate’s degree as registered nurse, and 24-month programs for people looking to obtain a master’s degree instead. Students who cannot study full-time have the option to take classes on evenings or weekends.

Tuition for a bachelor’s degree in nursing is around $10,000 per semester. The traditional on-campus program lasts for eight semesters, with a total cost of around $82,000. Its online RN to BSN counterpart program has a much lower cost of $19,000. Most students have access to financial aid according to their annual income. The institution also offers merit-based and needs-based scholarships which can further reduce tuition costs. Individuals who have participated in military healthcare training are also eligible to receive credits for their experience.

Maryville University

The Maryville University of St. Louis is a private institution founded in 1872 and located in Missouri. It offers more than 90 degree programs at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level. Although only based in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville operates an distance learning campus where it offers online versions of its most popular degree programs.

Maryville University has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools since 1941. It also eventually received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Its nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Missouri’s State Board of Nursing.

Similar to West Coast University, Maryville offers an online nursing degree for people who already hold an associate’s degree as registered nurse. Traditional degree programs for people looking to start a career in nursing are also available. However, students also have access to special nursing programs called Fast Track and Weekend College.

The Fast Track nursing program is designed for transfer students who have already completed at least 65 hours of liberal arts and science courses. Weekend College is a part-time option for students who plan to study and work at the same time. Under Weekend College, classes take place on evenings and weekends. However, students must have also completed at least 65 hours of liberal arts and science courses to access this .

As of 2018, Maryville University has over 9,100 students who are enrolled in at least one of its degree programs. Average tuition for a nursing degree is $13,000 per semester. However, students can lower the cost through financial aid, such as a Pell Grant. The institution also operates merit-based scholarship programs which award students between $6,000 to $14,000 per academic year. Over 93 percent of Maryville students received some form of financial aid in 2018, totaling $53 million.

Jersey College

Jersey College is a private institution founded in 2003 that specializes in nursing education. The college has six campuses in New Jersey and Florida, and has been accredited by the Council on Occupational Education and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. Jersey College was originally named Center for Allied Health and Nursing Education, but it changed its name after receiving accreditation. Jersey College’s nursing programs have also been accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Jersey College offers Practical (LPN) and Professional (RN) nursing programs. It also offers a “bridge” program practical nurses can take to become a professional nurse. The shortest program to complete is practical nursing, which takes four semesters. The LPN to RN bridge program takes five semesters, and their professional nursing program takes eight semesters. The institution also offers evening programs for their bridge and registered nursing degrees, which take seven and twelve semesters instead.

As of 2018, Jersey College has around 2,000 students who are enrolled in at least one of its nursing programs. It is one of the most affordable nursing education institutions nationwide. Tuition depends on which program is chosen. For example, the practical nursing program has a cost of $23,000, or around $6,000 per semester. Their professional nursing program costs $43,000, or around $5,500 per semester. This cost can vary if students choose the evening program, which lasts longer.

The institution encourages students t request financial aid to lower tuition costs. Jersey College is allied with local and private organizations willing to provide assistance to low income students. Receiving federal aid is also possible in the form of a Pell Grant, which awards up to $6,000 per academic year.

How To Save For Retirement As A Gig Economy Worker

A study by Betterment.com revealed that over 30 percent of gig economy workers are not saving money for retirement. This is because the nature of these jobs leaves most workers unprepared when it comes to planning for their eventual retirement.

Without employer benefits such as matching contributions, gig economy workers must rely on alternatives to save for retirement. However, most gig economy workers are not aware of how to best carry this out by themselves. In this article, we explain five strategies gig economy workers will find useful to boost retirement savings.

Get your finances in order, including money available and outstanding debt accounts

A significant number of families do not keep track of their finances. This means they are usually not aware of how much money they have at hand. The first thing gig economy workers should do when they start saving for retirement is putting the books in order and creating an overview of their current financial position.

To do this, workers must first take a look at how much cash they have. This should include, for example, money received from tips if they work as drivers for a ride-sharing company. Then, they can add that money up to what they have stored in checking and savings accounts. Those who have been employed before can also include money available in previous retirement accounts, such as a 401(k).

Another important thing to keep in mind is debt accounts. A significant number of gig economy workers have mortgages, car loans or credit card debt. Having a clear picture of outstanding debt is needed to determine debt-to-income ratio. This number represents how much income goes into debt and is critical to determine how much money can be set aside for retirement.

Open a individual retirement account, or IRA

Opening a retirement savings account is the next logical step after getting finances in order, unless people already have one they can contribute to. Not all previous retirement savings accounts from past jobs can be used. In general, those accounts are 401(k)s that were tied to a specific employer who was matching contributions. However, most 401(k) accounts can be rolled into an individual retirement account, or IRA.

IRAs are retirement savings accounts anyone can open regardless of employment status. They are not tied to an employer and gig economy workers can contribute at their own capacity. Opening an IRA often requires an initial investment, which can be around $1,000. Workers who have old 401(k) accounts can use those funds as investment to open their IRAs. If someone has no previous retirement savings accounts or personal savings to use as funds, opening a Roth IRA may be a better solution.

Traditional IRAs are funded using pre-tax dollars, which means workers will have to pay taxes once they reach retirement. This approach can be problematic for workers who expect to end up in a higher tax bracket, as they will have to set aside a larger portion of their retirements to pay taxes. In contrast, Roth IRAs are funded with post-tax money, which will be tax-free when workers reach retirement.

Roth IRAs are the preferred individual retirement account for gig economy workers. This is because most are currently in a lower tax bracket, and anticipate earning more in the following years. A Roth IRA also protects them against future tax increases.
Traditional and Roth IRAs have annual contribution limits. For 2019, the limit is $6,000. Workers over 50 can contribute more to make up for previous years when contributions were not made. Gig economy workers who also have a full-time job can contribute to a 401(k) and IRA at the same time, with the potential to set aside up to $25,000 each year.

Invest wisely, avoiding options with expensive investment fees

Gig economy workers who don’t have access to employer-sponsored retirement savings plans cannot rely only on IRAs. The $6,000 annual limit may be too low to save enough money, especially for workers approaching retirement. Therefore, investing money in the stock market or a private enterprise might be needed to offset the difference.

When investing, gig economy workers must keep two things in mind. First, they should always try to maintain a diversified portfolio of investments. This will minimize exposure to risk if something goes wrong. Second, they should focus on options with the least amount of investment fees.

One potential way of avoiding hefty investment fees is through index funds. They are mutual funds designed to match or track the behavior of a stock market index. In general, most index funds use the S&P 500 as their benchmark for profits, although some use other indexes such as the Russell 2000 for small companies, or MSCI EAFE for foreign stocks.

The main benefit of index funds is their low investment cost compared to other types of funds such as those being actively managed. On average, the expense ratio of an index fund, or percentage of invested money that goes to the fund company, is around 0.03 percent. This means that someone investing $10,000 only pays $3 in fees. By comparison, actively managed funds have an average expense ratio of 0.69 percent. Investing the same amount of money in such a fund will incur fees of at least $69.

Some gig economy workers might ask what is the benefit of investing in an index fund instead of purchasing stocks directly from the market. It may be tempting to purchase stocks from companies like Apple, Netflix or Facebook, which have grown significantly in value in recent years. However, investing in a single company increases risk. An index fund is made up of stocks from all the companies in the matching index, reducing risk and exposure to heavy losses.

Take advantage of modern tools to streamline contributions towards retirement

Most gig economy workers do not have fixed salaries. Uber drivers, for example, will earn according to how many passengers they take, the length of rides and local fare prices. Freelancers working as graphic designers or web developers will earn according to the nature of the project, and under specific budgets. It is not unusual for a gig economy worker to make $5,000 one month, then $2,500 the following month.

Making fixed contributions to a retirement savings account is more difficult for gig economy workers. However, there are several tools they can use to make sure contributions are still being made each month. For example, workers can use their bank accounts to set up automatic monthly transfers to IRAs. Money transferred should be an amount of money they know will be available each month. For some workers, this can be $200, for others $50. What matters is to make sure money is being set aside for retirement without affecting debt payments, rent and other critical expenses.

Nowadays, many savings apps have been developed to help people achieve this purpose. For example, one popular mobile app called Digit analyzes account information, including deposits and withdrawals, to determine how much money can be transferred each month to IRAs. The program also helps schedule automatic transfers after workers have approved an amount they feel comfortable with.

One side benefit of using savings apps is that they help avoid overdrafts, which can be expensive. Also, they can set up alerts to inform workers when there are not enough funds to carry out an incoming transfer. However, most savings apps are not free. Digit, for example, charges $3/month, though it has a free 30-day trial. A similar app called Mint is available at no cost and includes a wide variety of additional services.

Count extra money as income and set aside a portion towards retirement

Gig economy workers should look beyond their job’s income to fund retirement. The lack of employer matching contributions and other full-time job benefits has to be offset through non-traditional methods. This includes funneling extra money, such as bonus payments, birthday gifts or tax credits and refunds towards their retirement savings account.

A significant number of gig economy workers only count earnings from their main jobs as real income. However, this calculation often fails to show the full picture. For example, Uber drivers receive around 6 percent additional income through tips. The best drivers receive as much as 20 percent. It may not seem like much, but a driver who completes 300 fares each month can make an extra $350 from tips.

How much extra money can be put aside depends on several factors. For some gig economy workers, their income only allows them to set aside $50 each month for retirement. However, workers who have some free time could take advantage of resources such as TaskRabbit, an online labor marketplace, to increase their income.

Four High Paying Jobs For Web Developer

So you’ve dedicated six months learning how to become a web developer, developed some example projects and created a portfolio to show employers. However, you may be unsure which job positions can be filled with your newly-found skills.

In this article, we explore four potential jobs a web developer can apply for to make at least $60,000 each year. Some companies may ask for a college degree to complete the application process. However, entry-level positions are often available to self-taught web developers.

Read our article to learn how you can you can become a web developer in just six months.

Front-End Web Developer

A front-end web developer is a professional trained to produce web content customers directly interact with. In general most front-end web developers create and maintain the HTML, CSS and JavaScript code of a website. Most companies redesign their websites every few years in an attempt to incorporate new trends. This means that front-end web developers are always in constant demand.

However, it also means that front-end web developers must stay informed about how the tools and techniques used to develop websites are changing. Programming language updates, artistic trends and best user experience practices are some of the things a web developer must always keep in mind. They also must have an understanding of the business they work for to make sure customers are presented with the right information.

According to Glassdoor.com, front-end web developer is one of the best paid web design positions in the market. Their average salary is around $75,000 annually, an amount rivalling other popular jobs such as junior software engineer and UX designer. In competitive areas, the median salary of an experienced front-end web developer can go beyond $100,000.

Back-End Web Developer

Back-end web developers are programmers who create and maintain the logical backbone of a website, software product or information system. Their main job is to make sure data or services requested by front-end web applications are delivered successfully. To achieve this task, they create components and features that users do not directly interact with, such as databases and server management applications.

Back-end web developers are knowledgeable in server-side programming languages such as C++, C#, Java and PHP. They also have extensive knowledge on APIs, or application programming interfaces. APIs are used by many front-end applications to gain access, write and modify information stored in the back-end portion of a website, which is often a database. Databases can store many types of information, such as mailing lists, user login credentials, text and images.

According to PayScale.com, the average salary of a back-end web developer is $67,000 annually. However, most senior positions have salaries above $90,000, which is on par to other programming-heavy jobs such as software engineer. People working as back-end web developers often hold a tech-related bachelor’s degree, although companies often hire self-taught workers to fill entry-level positions.

Full Stack Web Developer

A full stack web developer is a professional who can take care of both front-end and back-end development projects on their own. They have the tools to manage databases, servers and system applications while also being skilled enough in client-side technologies. However, full stack developers usually specialize in one of three fields: mobile development, web design or native application.

The term full stack is used to refer to all technologies needed to complete a web development project. A stack is a group of modules used to complete a certain section of the project. For example, HTML, CSS and JavaScript are modules or technologies belonging to the front-end stack of a project. In contrast, database management would belong to the back-end stack. The technologie included in the stack depend on which field a full stack web developer is working on.

According to PayScale.com, the average salary of a junior full stack web developer is $66,000. Senior developers have reported salaries of up to $98,000 each year. In general, full stack web developers earn about the same as their back-end and front-end counterparts, despite the additional knowledge required for this position. However, employees working for companies located in cities with a large tech industry, such as San Diego and Baltimore, have reported salaries above $130,000 annually.

Web Application Developer

A web application developer is a professional who creates application programs run by websites. For example, web application developers create and maintain code behind stock trading websites, social media platforms, email services. Web application development is similar in many ways to software development. However, the latter specializes in creating products designed to run on specific platforms. In contrast, web app developers create products that work across many devices and platforms.

To create web applications, developers rely on a variety of specialized tools such as Ajax, ASP, ActionScript and ColdFusion. Web app developers are also knowledgeable about standard back- and front-end tools such as PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Developing web applications carries more risk than front- or back-end web development. This is because most complex web applications like Facebook and Gmail often handle personal information and are vulnerable to hacking attempts. As such, professionals working in the field must also be prepared to troubleshoot and bug test applications.

According to PayScale.com, the average salary of a junior web application developer is around $64,000 annually. Senior personnel earn significantly more, at $92,000 each year. The salary of web application developers is heavily influenced by location. People working in cities with a large tech industry earn 30 percent more, on average. In San Diego, for example, the average web app developer salary is $85,000. Most companies require a bachelor’s degree in computer science to hire someone as web application developer. However, some employers are known to fill entry-level positions with self-taught workers.

How To Become A Web Developer In Six Months Or Less

Becoming a web developer is something a significant number of people have thought about before. Given all the websites the average person visits every day, it’s not unusual that some might have wondered if they could make money developing websites.

The answer is yes, but it takes some time to get there. To become a web developer, people must first learn coding basics such as HTML and JavaScript. Once those are mastered, moving onto more complex tools is the logical next step. In this article, we explain the first steps which must be taken if you want to start a career in web development.

Learn HTML and CSS, the building blocks of any webpage

The first thing prospective web developers learn is coding in HTML and CSS. HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, is a programming language used by web developers to give web pages a basic structure. The language helps them determine content hierarchy and identifiers, information about images or videos, and links to other pages or websites. HTML also provides basic information to search engines, such as website name, type of content, page titles and subtitles, and character encryption.

CSS, which stands for Cascading Style Sheet, is a programming language used to give websites their unique appearance. This language handles style preferences, such as margins, padding, background and item color, font type, text size and image position. HTML and CSS go hand in hand and form the first layer of tools most web developers use to create websites. All other tools are placed on top of code written in those two languages.

A prospective web developer needs to become proficient in HTML and CSS before moving on to more complex programming tools. In general, HTML and CSS are fairly simple and easy to learn. However, most experienced web developers recommend newcomers practice for at least one month to obtain as much knowledge as possible.
Free HTML and CSS coding resources are available in the Internet. Several online platforms, such as CodeAcademy and FreeCodeCamp, provide coding classes at no cost. Additionally, Microsoft maintains several HTML and CSS references web developers can use to familiarize themselves with both programming languages.

Learn to create interactive content with JavaScript

A logical second step would be to learn JavaScript. Prospective web developers may have heard that name before, as it is one of the most widely used programming languages today. JavaScript was developed and published in 1995 by Netscape, a now defunct computer services company. The purpose of the programming language was to enhance the web browsing experience by adding interactive elements. As of today, almost all websites rely on JavaScript to interact with visitors and customers.

JavaScript helps developers add interactive content to websites, such as animations, visual effects and games. Experienced web developers rely on jQuery, a programming framework built from JavaScript, to write and execute written code much faster. JavaScript is classified as a client-side programming language. This means it changes how things look or behave on the client side, which is usually a web browser. In contrast, server-side languages modify information within the server, such as a database.

JavaScript is considerably more difficult to learn than HTML and CSS. However, it can be mastered in one to two months of constant training. Veteran web developers also recommend learning JavaScript first before using jQuery. Otherwise, they may face problems understanding some specific coding parameters, which can lead to many issues during their careers.

Some expert web developers consider JavaScript to be the third building block of the Internet. Nowadays, most websites rely on interactive content such as complex animations and login services to create better experiences for their customers. However, websites can and are often developed without using JavaScript. For some small businesses, HTML and CSS are enough to accomplish their goals.

Just like HTML and CSS, prospective web developers can receive JavaScript training at no cost at CodeAcademy and FreeCodeCamp. Online educational platforms such as Udacity and Udemy have paid courses for people looking to enhance their knowledge. They also provide a significant boost when looking for a job as a web developer.

Creating websites and web applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript is known as front-end web development. It’s called front-end because such content directly interacts with users. Front-end web development is supported by back-end developers, which develop and maintain applications run by servers, such as databases.

Learn one or two supporting programming languages

Learning front-end web development may seem good enough to start a career in the field. However, most modern websites also rely on additional programming tools to create enhanced browsing experiences. Nowadays, companies also use tools such as PHP and WordPress to develop websites that are easy to use and update.

PHP, which stands for Hypertext Preprocessor, is a server-side programming language used by web developers to simplify page creation. It is most commonly used to create sitewide templates that control how parts of a website look. Using HTML alone, web developers would have to write down entire sections of code for each item on a webpage. With PHP, they can instead do this process once and then embed the code throughout all pages in the website, saving many hours of repetitive work.

WordPress is a free and open-source website management system used by more than 60 million websites. It is the most popular website management tool at the moment. The reason is twofold. First, WordPress has an intuitive and easy to understand interface that gives significant flexibility to web developers. Second, it includes many features most websites use nowadays, such as handling mailing lists, plugins, search engine optimization, online store capabilities and database management.

Learning the programming tools needed to become a web developer can take between three and six months. Although it may seem like a long time, it pales in comparison to a college career. The key to success is organization and persistence. There are some topics, such as Object Oriented Programming that are hard to grasp at first. By practicing four hours a day, people guarantee that they will eventually learn these complex tools.

Some people might ask whether obtaining the knowledge is enough to land a job. Although freelancing is a valid option, freelancer web developers face tough competition and low earnings. A tech-related college degree such as computer sciences might improve your odds when looking for a job. However, creating a portfolio where your skills are showcased might be what puts you over the line.

If you are interested in this career, read our article about best paid web development jobs to learn more about potential salaries and career choices.

Becoming A UX Designer

If seeking a career that will pay to tap your design savvy, UX design may be your calling. UX design helps companies create meaningful and relevant user experiences. In recent years, the field has been focused on computer programs, websites and mobile applications.

Although UX design requires a fair amount of technical skill, the potential income makes it worth the trouble. On average, UX designers earn around $80,000 each year.

What Is UX Design?

The job of a UX designer is to make sure customers can carry out important tasks with ease. Often times, these tasks affect a company’s ability to be profitable.

In general, UX design is focused on software, websites and applications. These days most UX designers work in technology-related industries. They typically have serious technical skills, including programming and graphic design. Outside of the internet world UX design is important in manufacturing, designing public transport systems, and industrial design.

How Much Money A UX Designer Makes?

Salary for UX designers can depend on education and experience. For example, a junior UX designer with an associate’s degree and no previous experience in the field can earn around $50,000 to start. Someone with 3-5 years of experience and a bachelor’s degree can earn around $90,000 annually.

The best paid UX designers hold senior positions such as Director of Design. Senior UX designers have at least ten years of experience, and the majority hold a master’s degree in a tech-related field. On average, they can earn between $110,000 and $185,000 annually. In 2017, software company Adobe Systems surveyed 500 managers. They found out that 73 percent planned to expand their companies’ UX Design personnel in the near future. This means higher demand and possibly better salaries.

What Do You Need To Become A UX Designer?

UX Design has just enough complexity to attract all sorts of very talented employees. To be credible in the field there is a significant amount of preparation and training which separates novices from the pros. So far we haven’t seen degrees focused exclusively on UX design. Instead, UX designers hold technical degrees or certificates similar to computer science or graphic design. Technical training offers prospective designers flexibility when searching for their first job in UX.

In later stages of a UX career, practitioners need to know about usability design and testing. A bachelor’s degree in an area such as programming or application design could provide the necessary training to become a senior designer. Senior UX designers might even pursue a master’s degree in areas that help them better understand how people interact with software.

UX design is a dynamic career path that requires some degree of improvising. Attending college is just one path to learning the job, which is often not enough. UX designers can also learn from peers and hands on work experience to become a Senior UX Designer.

How Affordable Is UX Design?

Most UX Design job positions require at least an associate’s degree, which can be completed for around $25,000. If you continue on to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degrees, you can spend up to an additional $100,000 on education.

As a result, UX design can be less affordable than other career paths. However, the earning potential is higher than many jobs that require less training. Although learning UX design doesn’t require a college degree, having one along with some conviction to grow is a sure path to a senior position.

If you are looking to gradually build UX design skills, there are several online courses available at various prices. Online education platforms Coursera and Udacity have free courses on UX. Other institutions charge from $149 to $500 per course. Starting with this basic training, once can immediately start working in UX design as a freelancer or part time.

Golden Age for a Career in Medical Billing

If you are thinking about switching to a career in the medical field, medical billing and coding might be what you’re looking for. On average, medical billing and coding specialists make around $61,000 annually, with no college degree required. These medical specialists help healthcare providers get paid for services billed to customers of insurance companies. Read here to learn more about the day-to-day of a Medical Billing and Coding specialist.

Increased demand for healthcare services by an aging population has caused a shortage in qualified medical workers, including billing and coding specialists. For those considering a switch to healthcare, now might be a good time to get started, here is why.

Medical billing and coding specialists don’t have to go through college to work in the field

One of the biggest roadblocks people face when thinking about a career in healthcare is affording a 4 year college degree. In contrast, working as a medical billing and coding specialist requires successful completion of a certification program which can take less than a year. The entire certification process costs between $1,200 and $2,500, making it amongst the most accessible but trained medical careers.

People don’t have to worry about not finding a job if they switch careers to medical billing and coding

If you are unhappy with your current job, you are not alone. A study by The Conference Board revealed that 53 percent of employees are unhappy with their jobs. Many people stay in jobs they hate for fear of not finding an opening in a new field. As is often the case, jobs go to the candidates with the most experience. This means those who switch careers may have to fight for even the less competitive positions.

However, medical billing and coding doesn’t follow that pattern. Medical billing and coding specialists are trained to work at hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, medical laboratories, and other healthcare facilities. Most healthcare institution rely on these specialists to carry out their business, which means they will constantly need workers.
The demand for specialists is growing due to an aging population and a shift to modern billing and coding practices

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that demand for medical billing and coding specialists will grow 15 percent by 2024. By comparison, average worker demand for other careers will grow only 7 percent during the same period. This means people pursuing a career in the field are much more likely to find a job.

The reason is twofold. First, the number of senior citizens is growing, which increases demand for healthcare services. Second, health providers are updating to modern billing and coding practices, replacing paper with digital records. Both have caused an above average demand for qualified professionals who have the requisite technical skills.

Medical billing and coding is a career with flexible shifts and the potential to work from home

Large healthcare providers, such as hospitals, operate 24 hours a day. As a result, there is always demand for specialists willing to cover different shifts. There are positions which require working from nine to five, but non-traditional shifts have become popular as health providers outsource their billing cycles to third parties. Extra shift flexibility means that medical billing and coding might be a good choice for people looking for a second job.

Another attractive quality of medical billing and coding as a career choice is the potential to work from home. Innovation in technology and computer programs has allowed specialists to perform their job from any place with internet connection. This means a single specialist can offer their services to several healthcare providers at the same time, increasing income.
If you are looking for a career choice with abundant growth potential, medical billing and coding might meet those requirements. For example, someone starting off as a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) can be promoted to a managerial role as employers adapt to increased customer demand.

Medical billing and coding specialists enjoy good salaries

Medical billing and coding is among the best paid jobs not to require a college degree. In general, how much money a specialist makes depend on several factors, including location, experience, employer size and certifications. However, increased demand has raised salaries as well.

In 2015, workers without a certificate made $45,000 a year, while those those with one certificate receive closer to $51,000. By 2017, those numbers had risen to $49,000 and $54,000 respectively. Medical billing and coding specialists with advanced certifications earn even more. The latest survey from the AAPC reveals that employees holding advanced credentials such as Physician Practice Manager or Professional Compliance Officer make between $65,000 and $74,000 annually.


Starting A Career In Medical Billing And Coding

If medical billing and coding sounds interesting, this position is in high demand and pays well. In the next few years, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that job positions for medical coding and billing professionals will grow by 21 percent. However, healthcare providers have reported a shortage of qualified specialists to manage growing numbers of patients and procedures.

These medical specialists help healthcare providers get paid for services billed to insurance companies. Salaries are about $75,000 annually for well trained specialists.

Read this article to learn more about why it’s a good time to be a Medical Billing or Coding specialist.

What Is Medical Billing And Coding?

Medical billing is the work of following up on claims and receiving payment for health insurance companies. Medical billing and coding professionals are tasked with managing payment information. They assist healthcare providers with patient data, from initial appointment through final payment. Although medical billing and coding are separate processes, they are related and often performed by the same employee.

Medical billers make sure healthcare providers are paid by billing both patients and insurance companies. To do so, they collect information about the patient, including their health coverage, personal details, medical history, and report on which procedures were performed. Medical billers compile a document commonly referred to as a “claim”, which includes all the information collected along with amounts to be paid. Claims are given to insurance companies and patients at the end of the billing process.

Medical coders on the other hand, review clinical statements and assign standard codes to each service. Procedure codes are used to standardize which procedures were performed by a healthcare provider. Medical coders use two standards, known as Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) to organize procedures into codes. Diagnosis codes describe why a particular procedure had to be performed.

A medical biller and coder is in charge of managing the entire billing cycle. They are also responsible for checking that each medical claim is compliant, which means that it has no format errors or inaccuracies. Nowadays, medical billers and coders rely on computer software to streamline the billing process. The complexity in these systems requires several technical skills. As a result, most medical billing and coding specialists enjoy good salaries.

How Much Money A Medical Biller and Coder Makes?

The amount of money a medical biller and coder can make will depend on location, employer, years of experience, and completed certifications. According to the American Academy for Professional Coders (AAPC), the average medical biller earns around $61,000 annually. Workers who are not certified earn approximately $45,000 a year, while employees with at least one certification receive closer to $51,000 annually.

Read this article to learn more about the best paid positions in medical coding and billing.

The salary of medical billers and coders is heavily affected by which certification they complete. Those who are certified as Professional Medical Auditor, Physician Practice Manager and Documentation Expert earn around $65,000 each year. The best paid certifications are Professional Coding Instructor and Professional Compliance Officer, with annual salaries of around $75,000. As of 2017, medical billing and coding is among the best paid jobs not to require a college degree.

What Do You Need To Become A Certified Medical Biller and Coder?

All you need to become a medical biller and coder is a high school diploma and willingness to learn. Although there are associate’s degrees in medical billing and coding, having one is not required to work in the field. Institutions like the AAPC offer courses that teach most fundamental skills medical billers and coders need, at a fraction of the cost it would take to attend college.

The second step would be to gain work experience. Although having work experience is not necessary to become a certified medical biller and coder, obtaining two to three years of experience is highly recommended. The certification process is thorough and requires advanced knowledge of medical terminology and practices, which often can only be acquired through work. Hospitals, clinics and insurance companies are common workplaces where internships are available to newly trained medical billers and coders.

The third step would be to pursue a specialist certification. Institutions like AAPC offer over twenty different certification programs that adapt to the needs of a medical biller and coder. Most specialists begin with a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) or Certified Professional Biller (CPB) certificate. According to their needs, specialists can also pursue other certificates, such as Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) or Certified Physician Practice Manager (CPPM). Most certificate programs can be completed in under twelve months at an affordable price.

How Affordable Is A Medical Billing And Coding Certificate?

Becoming a certified medical coding and billing specialist is more affordable than people might think. Associations like the AAPC offer training programs that cost between $1,500 and $2,000, though there are some additional expenses to consider. For example, the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) training program requires students to have completed medical terminology and anatomy courses, which cost an additional $1,000. However, they are not mandatory and people with prior knowledge in both areas can skip those additional courses.

To complete a training program, students must purchase code books and become members of whichever institution issues the certificate. This can add up to around $300 in additional expenses. However, members usually have access to special discounts when enrolling in training programs. For example, the AAPC offers members permanent discounts of as much as 30 percent on training programs, code books and related courses.

People who complete a training program must sit for a certification exam to receive their certificate. The exam costs around $300, has 150 questions, and takes 6 hours to complete. In total, becoming a certified medical billing and coding specialist can cost between $1,200 and $2,500, depending on which institution and training program students choose. In contrast, obtaining an associate’s degree in medical billing and coding from an accredited college can cost as much as $20,000. The difference is that certifications focus only on medical topics, while an associate’s degree includes general educational courses.

As demand for medical specialists rises, new opportunities will appear for people pursuing a career in the healthcare industry. For many low-income families, starting a career in medical billing and coding might be the way out of financial hardship. With so many affordable options to get certified, there has not been a better time to start working for a brighter future.


Six Best Paid Cyber Security Jobs

In the last decade, cyber threats have become a major concern for companies across the country. As a result, many have decided to invest in cyber security personnel to protect their business and customers from potential cyber attacks. The information security industry has experienced a growing demand for qualified professionals, who have the potential to land a high paying job within the field.

There are many positions a cyber security professional can occupy within a company. Each job is designed to perform specific tasks which guarantee the safety of network and information systems. In this article, we discuss the six best paid cyber security jobs in the industry. These positions offer a salary of no less than $90,000 annually for entry-level workers, and as much as $200,000 for lead and senior personnel.

IS Security Manager

Cyber attacks are a significant risk to most companies, and the job of an IS Security Manager is to make sure the infrastructure is well protected against them. They are responsible of detecting and correcting any weaknesses that may expose a company’s network and information systems.

IS Security Managers are in charge of assessing and maintaining a company’s security devices, including firewalls, antivirus software, and passwords, making sure they meet security standards. IS Security Managers also manage backup systems, security platforms and data recovery systems in emergency situations. Some companies also allow IS Security Managers to train employees.

This position is the highest-paid managerial job in the field, aside from C-level personnel such as CTO and CDO. Most IS Security Managers make between $120,000 and $180,000 annually. Working in this position requires a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, as well as previous experience in management. IS Security Engineers are often promoted to the Manager equivalent once they obtain the required experience.

IS Security Engineer

The IS Security Engineer works under an IS Security Manager and is responsible for the overall maintenance of network and information systems. While the manager analyzes possible solutions against disasters and system weaknesses, the IS Security Engineer takes care of the day-today operations needed to keep the platform running smoothly. For example, they constantly check the network for viruses, perform security tests and verify the integrity of communication protocols.

Most companies hire several engineers to work under the supervision of the IS Security Manager. Their salary ranges from $90,000 for entry-level positions to as much as $150,000 for experienced employees with years of service. A bachelor’s degree is often enough to be hired as a IS Security Engineer, though some companies are willing to offer a position to people with associate’s degrees or enough experience in the field.

Application Security Engineer

Application security is in charge of using software, hardware and procedural algorithms to protect a company’s applications from external threats. Application security engineers develop all the necessary protocols to protect a company’s information and network systems, including privacy standards and safety measures.

Nowadays, most companies rely on third-party programs such as Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure to create systems customized to meet their needs. The job of application security engineers is to perform the modifications required to achieve this goal. Most companies require a bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree in cyber security, before hiring someone to fill the position.

Application Security Engineer one of the best paid positions in the business. On average, an Application Security Engineer earns between $100,000 and $210,000 annually. Those occupying senior and lead-level positions are known to earn more than $220,000. The salary prospects for this position are optimistic due to how important the role of an Application Security Engineer is for modern corporations.

Network Security Analyst

Network Security Analysts are responsible for the security of a company’s networks and information systems. This includes protection against hackers and cyber attacks, as well as looking for unusual activity in server logs and network traffic. A network security analyst also works closely with the application security engineer by providing information about vulnerabilities and suggestions on how to address them.

People working as network security analysts can expect to earn at least $90,000 annually. Most job openings require a bachelor’s degree, though some companies are content with an associate’s degree as long as the employee has enough experience. Senior and Lead positions often pay more than $150,000, but most companies require managerial experience before hiring a potential employee for these positions.

Cybersecurity Analyst

The Cybersecurity Analyst is a professional with experience in handling and protecting databases, networks and information systems. They make sure a company’s computer network runs unimpeded, protecting financial and personal information from being stolen. Cybersecurity Analysts assess and design security strategies to avoid the risk of the company being successfully affected by a cyber attack.

With the help of Network Security Analysts, Cybersecurity Analysts detect network vulnerabilities and make recommendations on how to address them. Some companies allow their cybersecurity analysts to develop security policies and procedures to be followed by all personnel. They often also control access to sensitive information.

Cybersecurity Analysts make no less than $90,000 annually. Senior and lead analysts earn as much as $190,000, though most companies require a master’s degree in cyber security for either position. Lead Analysts are usually trained for management.

Penetration Tester

A penetration test, most commonly known as pen test, is a simulated attack on a network or information system. It is authorized by the company to evaluate the robustness of its system’s defenses. During the test, a full risk assessment is made to detect the system’s strengths and weaknesses, providing IS Security Engineers valuable information to improve the infrastructure. This job is performed by penetration testers, also known as ethical hackers.

In recent years, there has been a surge in demand for penetration testers. Some companies have been forced to outsource pen tests due to lack of qualified personnel. In general, penetration testers earn between $80,000 and $130,000 annually, but their salary is expected to increase due to the aforementioned rise in demand. A bachelor’s degree is often a requirement to work as a penetration tester, though companies have hired people without degrees due to their remarkable hacking skills.

The information security sector has grown significantly, with millions of professionals offering protection from cyber attacks to big and small businesses alike. In 2018, more than 2 million cyber security job openings were available to professionals. Although not all job openings offer salaries above $90,000 at start, getting there is just a matter of time.