Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding careers are among the fastest-growing in the United States, and the one of the only medical careers which does not involve direct contact with patients.  If you are detail-oriented and proficient with computers, medical billing and coding offer a highly rewarding employment opportunity.  The following details can help you decide whether medical billing is right for you.

Traits needed for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists

Medical billing specialists are detail-oriented, accurate, and knowledgeable about data entry and the use of database software.  If you are interested in a medical coding career, you should enjoy working with others, but you should also be self-motivated and able to complete assigned tasks independently.  In addition, you must be honest, discreet, and able to maintain patient confidentiality.

General Information on Medical Coding Careers

Medical billing and coding specialists typically work in clean, well-lit offices with flexible hours; as a medical billing technician, you may find employment in a hospital, physician’s office, dental office, long-term care facility, or other health care setting.  In addition, many medical billing and coding specialists are able to work from home.

Medical Billing and Coding Job Duties

Billing and coding technicians are responsible for updating and maintaining patient databases, assigning the appropriate billing codes to patient diagnoses, requesting payment from insurance companies, and recording received payments.  Because increasing numbers of health care facilities and insurance companies rely on electronic health records to track their patients, accurate record-keeping is a particularly important task.

Medical Billing and Coding Training

In most cases, medical billing and coding specialists are required to have at least a high school diploma, although employers generally prefer job candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, or another related field.  Some billing technicians learn on the job; however, most prospective billing and coding personnel opt for specialized training.  Community colleges, vocational schools, and online learning programs frequently offer courses in medical billing and coding.

Medical Billing Job Outlook

With the increasing reliance on computerized patient records, there is an ongoing need for skilled medical billing and coding specialists; individuals with superior software skills are in especially high demand.  Jobs in the health information field are expected to grow much faster than average over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Salaries for medical billing range from $27,000 to $50,000 per year, with the majority of technicians earning $36,000 to $40,000.