If you would like to work behind the scenes in an office (or home office) setting, medical billing and coding could be an ideal option. The medical billing and coding career outlook looks bright with growing employment opportunities in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics and skilled nursing facilities.
As a medical coder or biller, you won’t have to engage in direct patient care, but you will still play a vital role in helping to keep healthcare organizations operating smoothly.
According to U.S. News and World Report, medical coding specialist jobs have below-average stress levels and above-average flexibility—an appealing combination for many workers.
Another big perk? Medical coding and billing education programs often don’t take long to complete, and you can earn your education online if you wish. Plus, you may have the opportunity to work from home in the future or even start your own business.
Keep in mind that medical billing and coding are distinct functions, though they share similar skills and can overlap.
Depending on the size of the office, these roles may be completed by two separate individuals, or one person. Read on to learn more about the medical billing and medical coding job outlook and salary.
A medical billing coding salary range will vary depending on an individual’s education, type of employer, place of residence, certifications, specific job function, and level of experience.
Average salaries for health information technicians—which includes medical billing and coding specialists—range from $24,810 to $64,610, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The BLS reports that health information technicians earned a median salary of $39,180 in 2017.
However, another survey published by the industry organization the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) points to higher average salaries. According to AAPC data, coding and medical billing salaries averaged $46,001 in 2017.
Coding and billing managers earned higher pay rates, at an average of $64,623.
The medical billing and medical coding hourly rate was a median $18.83 per hour in 2017, according to the BLS. This data is mostly derived from employees who work in physician’s offices, nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.
Many people considering a career in medical coding or billing may be interested in starting a home-based business someday. However, if you work for yourself as a contractor charging an hourly rate, you will be responsible for your own self-employment taxes. You may also need to pay for your own benefits, such as health insurance, as well.
If you choose to become self-employed, you may have more autonomy and flexibility, but you will also have to build your own client base to earn a consistent income, so it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits and have a business plan.
A medical billing salary and medical coding salary will also vary by location. According to the AAPC, states range in their average rates for a medical coding:$41,250 in West Virginia
$41,250 in West Virginia
$47,297 in Indiana
$55,657 in Texas
$57,511 in Minnesota
$62,593 in California
Where you live is just one component affecting your overall salary. As we’ll discuss next, a variety of other factors can also play a big role in boosting your earning power.
Want to maximize your potential salary? Take a look at the following factors to see how you can position yourself for a higher salary range for medical billing and coding:
Here’s how a median medical billing and coding salary measures up to other entry-level positions in allied healthcare, based on data from the BLS:
The medical billing and coding career outlook holds great potential. Employment is expected to grow at a strong rate of 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, far outpacing the average for all occupations, which is just 7 percent.
An aging population will drive the demand for medical billers and coders. Plus, because all types of healthcare providers use electronic health records, medical billers and coders are needed to organize and manage this huge stream of information and help ensure an efficient flow of revenue.
It’s important to note that not all entry-level healthcare jobs have the same positive outlook. For example, employment of medical transcriptionists—who listen to voice recordings of physicians and type them into written reports—is projected to decline due to technologic advances with speech recognition software. In addition, healthcare providers may seek to cut costs by outsourcing these services to other countries.
Most medical and billing jobs require a postsecondary certificate or a two-year associate’s degree to enter the field. A bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration or health information management can qualify you for more career opportunities and management roles in the future.
In addition, many employers prefer to hire staff that have certification or have graduated from an accredited program. Earning one or more certifications can also boost your earning potential.
Two widely recognized organizations that offer certifications are The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
If this role sounds promising to you, don’t hesitate to explore your options and find a program that fits your needs and goals—whether that’s through online medical billing and coding courses or an on-campus degree. Use the “Find Schools” button below to search for programs near you!
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