Honestly you'll be hard pressed to get taken on as an inpatient coder off the bat. It's a huge liability to the hospital and they really want a base level of knowledge. Between RAC audits, UHC reviews, core measures, QRI etc. inpatient coders can lose the hospital tons of money. You're not just coding what is on the record anymore either. Everyone is tightening the belt and paying less and less and so your job as an inpatient coder is to look for opportunities to increase revenue as well. By going out and finding ways to add a CC or MCC via valid queries.
Additionally, more and more services are being pushed onto the outpatient side of the equation, so the people you're dealing with are the sickest of the sick and the cases become really confusing. You need a really strong understanding of disease process and understanding of some of the more confusing areas of coding (complications for instance are a huge deal).
We've had open inpatient positions for over a year. Beyond being a liability, it's also a huge commitment on the part of the hospital to train someone for the position. The reality of coding vs what you learn in school is way different.
Don't get me wrong, I love inpatient coding. It's rewarding and challenging and really interesting.
Coding salaries swing wildly by region and specialty. I can make more as an inpatient coder. But part of why I'll make more is because of my experience and the preference hospitals and contract positions place on coders with experience.
I promise I'm not trying to discourage you at all.