Medical Billing & Coding

Your career in medical billing begins when you obtain your first job after graduation. Although this can be a challenge, many medical billing schools have career placement offices that can provide some assistance with finding medical billing and coding jobs or internships in your area. While the schools cannot guarantee they will secure employment for you, the help they provide will certainly increase your chances of finding a place to work.

Most likely you’ll begin working in a local healthcare facility or medical billing office, and there are two different career paths you can take: medical billing or medical coding. Here are descriptions of these possible careers to help you decide which one you want to work in.

Medical Coding Career

Every visit to the doctor and all the medical procedures performed must be properly coded so that they can be billed to the responsible parties, usually health insurance companies. As a medical coder, your job would be to analyze information and assign the right codes to various medical transactions so they can be submitted for reimbursement. Medical coders work in a variety of places including doctor’s offices, billing agencies, clinics, and hospitals.

A Career in Medical Billing

Medical billers actually handle the billing process. They interact with insurance companies, patients, doctors, and other medical staff to make sure medical procedures are billed and reimbursed properly. A medical biller may work in a healthcare facility or for an outside agency that handles coding and billing for multiple clients.

In addition to following a specific career path into medical coding or medical billing, you can get a job doing a combination of the two. This is why it’s important to select a good school that will train you to do both. Having skills in Medical Billing and Coding increases the probability of securing a job and achieving the highest medical billing and coding salary possible.

Demand for Medical Billing Specialists

An aging population and advancements in medical technology means an increased need for healthcare services. This, in turn, means a need for trained medical billing and coding professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates over 179,000 people were employed in the industry in 2010 and predict job opportunities will increase 21% by 2020. Most people in the field work in physician offices and hospitals on a full time basis, and the average salary is $32,350 per year. As you gain more experience, however, you will qualify for higher paying jobs at supervisory, managerial, and administrative levels.

Freelance Medical Billing

Many people think that setting up shop as a freelance medical biller or coder is as simple as handing out a few business cards or setting up a website. In reality, the opportunity to work from home doing medical billing only comes after years of working in the industry and developing a client base. Unfortunately, there are a number of scams out there that try to sell you inaccurate information about freelance medical billing. It is important to avoid these scams because all they will do is take your money and give you heartache in return. If you come across at work at home medical billing job, take time to thoroughly investigate the opportunity before applying for it.

Additionally, prior to pursuing a degree in medical billing or medical coding, check your local job market to make sure work is available. Although the industry as a whole is growing rapidly, the availability of jobs varies from city to city. If no jobs exist in your town, then you need to decide if you are willing to move to another city to find employment. No matter what you choose, be persistent and you will find the best opportunity for you.

Medical billing and coding degrees can be earned in as little as nine months. This allows you to enter the industry quickly. While shorter programs offer many benefits including lower tuition and quicker graduation, it may be worth the effort to complete a longer program. Read more about Medical Billing and coding schools