In a chance conversation I had with our Dean of Allied Health the other day, she mentioned that she was considering adding a short certificate program in medical billing but she was not sure if there was much of a job market for that skill here. I decided to access the EMSI data base and conduct a “new program” analysis to see what the job market looked like. Not too surprising, there were no job listings for medical billing specialists in Cochise County over the past several years. However, there were a number of jobs listed for a closely-aligned specialty: Medical Office Assistant. It turns out that Cochise College has a rather consistent number of students graduating from that program already (20-25 over the past three years) with an average of 38 annual openings. There would seem to be a need for Medical Office Assistants, who could, I assume, deal with coding, but no call for the specific skill of medical billing specialists.
While the report lists a lot of data, I found the age breakdown interesting with a reasonable spread from 19-64 year-old employees. I also noticed that many of the employers only posted jobs for a few days which means that they are being filled quickly. Finally, the skills gap is in language. Many of the job postings require Spanish but no resumes indicated any Spanish fluency. Perhaps some sort of cooperative arrangement for Spanish training with the Center for Lifelong Learning is an area of growth for the college’s Medical Office Assistant program.