Medical billing and coding specialists are required by health care facilities such as hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, physician practices, and other health-related organizations. They can work for themselves or under the supervision of licensed physicians. Medical biller and code provider can work together as a team, although they can work individually.
Qualifications For Medical Biller and Coder
Most health-related facilities or companies prefer medical billing and coding specialists who have at least a two-year degree in health care. There are some job preferences among employees for those with three to four years of training in healthcare information systems (HCSIS), health information management (HIM), medical information systems (MIS), or health information systems (HIS).
Some employers prefer to hire candidates with degrees in health care administration, anatomy, physiology, and other medical fields. However, this shouldn’t discourage you if you don’t have a health care background. The good news is that you can always pursue a technical career in the healthcare billing and coding sector online.
The Outlook For Medical Technical Careers
Health information technician, a profession that encompasses medical billing and all types of medical coding, ranks 55 on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of 100 Best Jobs. (1) According to Usnews.com, medical records technician ranks number 3 in the list of the best jobs without a college degree.
Considering health care reform, advances in technology, the migration from paper to electronic health records, and increased regulatory compliance, health information is an ever-evolving profession. (2)
The aging population, who will require more and more medical services, is driving this demand for more health care professionals, including medical records technicians. (3)
There is a lot of opportunities for you in the health information sector even without a healthcare or college degree background. That makes the outlook for technical careers in the healthcare industry very promising.
Is It Financially Rewarding?
The demand for medical billers and coders is high. The question is, how rewarding is it financially?
Medical billing and coding salaries are based on the number of hours worked each week, experience, and field experience. The senior medical coder usually has an additional charge for insurance payments.
Medical billing and coding salaries vary according to location, company, and state. However, it’s safe to say that the median salary for this job level is $33 hourly rates.
Other requirements for medical billing and coding salary include having a computer with an internet connection, knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, and other Word processing applications, ability to multi-task and critical thinking skills, and a positive attitude towards the job.
Salaries for medical billing and coding clerks may be based on experience, geographic location, level of education, experience, and years of experience. Some medical billing and coding clerks have special certification requirements such as having had a year of experience or having a college degree.
Experience is one factor that influences the salary for experienced coders. On the other hand, having the right educational background such as high school or technical college will make one eligible for higher salaries.
Having certification from an accrediting body or a qualified practitioner also increases the chances of being employed. This makes one eligible for medical biller jobs, especially those that bill private health insurance companies.
Medical billers post their Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) or Certified Professional Coding (CPC) Specialist certifications to prove to employers that they are qualified to perform the job. You can get these certifications through several methods including online courses, hands-on practice at a health information management clinic, or a CPC exam given by the American Academy of Professional Coders. (5)
The American Health Information Management Association offers several online training programs. Several organizations offer certification courses for those who are already certified by other institutions.
On completion of the course, candidates will receive a certificate stating that they are now competent to apply for a health information management certification. There is no restriction on the certification exams, and candidates can repeat the examination if they want to.
Candidates who pass the first examination are normally given a second try, otherwise, they are required to take a refresher exam every year.
Nonetheless, you still have a good opportunity while you’re waiting to be certified. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be at least 27,000 new jobs in the health information sector. In the state of California alone, the demand for medical billing and coding jobs is projected to grow 16% over the next decade. (6)
Even if you’re not certified, it will still be financially rewarding. Across AAPC membership, medical coders (certified and non-certified) make an average salary of $54,890, up 5.8% from last year’s average salary of $51,889. Medical coders without certification earn approximately $42,015 per year while certified professional coders make $55,923 annually on average—33% more than their non-certified colleagues. (7)
Considering a career in the healthcare information sector is certainly a practical choice. It’s such a vast field for you to explore and the opportunities are not just plenty but stable as well. The great thing about considering a career in the healthcare information sector is that you can start now. Medical billing and coding classes are available online.