Medical Coding and Billing – The Career for You?

Written by: Alex Brown
Published on: Aug 26, 2021

Medical Coding

Healthcare jobs are expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations in the US. And while many roles are focused on patient care, you can work in the robust healthcare field without much patient contact in a medical billing and coding career. According to one source, “there is a high demand for medical billers and coders” partly because they play an important administrative function within the industry.

What Do Medical Billing and Coding Specialists Do?

This vital role helps healthcare professionals update patient medical records and obtain payment by entering standard codes for each diagnosis/medical procedure. Knowledge of classification systems and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) codes are key requirements for medical billing and coding jobs.

Medical billing and coding specialists typically work on electronic health records (EHR), ensuring codes are accurate and accessible to staff and other stakeholders. People working in this field may also be responsible for patient data verification, scheduling appointments, managing files, and other duties.

To earn professional credentials as a medical coder, you must pass the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam. There are multiple educators who provide classes to prepare you for the test.

As a medical billing and coding specialist, you can achieve a role as:

  • Clinical Data Manager
  • Claims Analyst
  • Billing Specialist
  • Compliance Auditor

See more open positions related to coding and billing here.

Four Types of Medical Coding Careers

You’ve got options for the type of setting you work in as a biller/coder. The knowledge and skills you gain can be used for various purposes in the following career opportunities:

Doctor’s Office/Healthcare Organization

Whether you work in a large healthcare system or solo doctor’s office, you’ll be expected to perform duties such as:

  • Researching Codes
  • Interpreting Patient Charts
  • Communicating With Insurers
  • Using Digital Coding Software
  • Assigning Proper Codes

Education Facilities

Once you’ve gained appropriate experience, you can become an educator, training the next generation of medical coders as part of a university or an online education site.

Insurance Companies

Medical coders for insurers typically verify the accuracy of submitted claims. You would be also responsible for ensuring that payments are properly processed.

Law Firms

Coding experience can also be used in the legal field. Typically, you would be involved in billing fraud cases. To qualify for this role, you will need a complete knowledge of the Medicaid laws and regulations.

Medical Coders

What Classes Are Required for Medical Billing and Coding?

Medical billing and coding education includes a variety of subjects that prepare you for applying codes, managing medical records, submitting invoices, and assisting with other business procedures.

Subjects include:

  • Diagnostic & Procedural Coding
  • Billing and Coding Application
  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Records Management
  • Healthcare Settings, Claim Cycle, and Claims Processing
  • Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology

How Much Do Medical Billing and Coding Specialists Make?

As of 2018, medical records and health information technicians (the official classification for the role) earned an median annual wage of $40,350. Attaining industry certification, such as a Certified Professional Coder (CPC®), could lead to higher earnings.

 Medical Billing and Coding Job Outlook

An aging population will be driving more demand for medical care. As a result, an increase in medical record updates and insurance claims is expected. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10+% increase in employment of medical secretaries with billing and coding knowledge by 2026, rising to roughly over 682,000 positions over the coming years.

Medical billing and coding is a career that can span multiple venues and applications. As you consider this career, the most important thing is to find an environment that you can enjoy.