Medical billers and coders are an important part of any healthcare setting. Their job is to take medical paperwork and translate it into standardized codes for billing. That way, insurance companies better understand what they’re covering, and nothing is missed or under/overpaid. This crucial function is perhaps the most important part of the billing process, and billers/coders are quite literally the difference between patients’ bills getting paid by the insurance companies or left unpaid.
If you’ve ever thought about being a medical biller and coder, you’re in luck! There are thousands of online and in-person education opportunities in today’s market, and you can fast-track your path into the medical field in just under one year for most programs. Let’s take a look at what medical billers and coders do in various healthcare settings, and where you might be able to find work right after graduation.
Most employers will want you to at least have a medical billing and coding certification, and medical billing and coding classes can prepare you for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). This exam will certify you to work as a medical biller and coder, but you’ll need to check your state’s individual requirements to see if there’s anything else you need to begin work.
The great thing about pursuing a career in billing and coding is that you can add specialty certifications to your resume to potentially increase your salary and employment opportunities.
- Certified ASC Coder
- Certified Anesthesia and Pain Management Coder
- Certified Cardiology Coder
- Certified Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Coder
- Certified Professional Coder in Dermatology
- Certified Emergency Department Coder
- Certified Evaluation and Management Coder
- Certified Family Practice Coder
- Certified Gastroenterology Coder
- Certified General Surgery Coder
- Certified Hematology and Oncology Coder
- Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder
- Certified Obstetrics Gynecology Coder
- Certified Orthopaedic Surgery Coder
- Certified Pediatrics Coder
- Certified Rheumatology Coder
- Certified Urology Coder
These are the specialty certifications you can acquire that will allow you to work in different environments and increase your salary. You can obtain one or more, depending on how much time you want to put into your education. For more information, visit the AAPC website at https://www.aapc.com/certification/.
The Right Program
If you want to become a medical biller and coder, you’ll need to find the right program that fits your budget, time requirements, and is accredited. An unaccredited program can leave you with a degree or certification that you can’t actually use, so always check that the program you’re signing up for is accredited.
There are plenty of online and in-person medical biller and coder classes, and some of the best schools (like Ultimate Medical Academy) offer comprehensive fast-track programs to get you in the field quickly.
Healthcare Settings You Might Work In
As a medical biller and coder, you have more options available to you than other healthcare certifications. This entry-level position has the advantage of being in demand, which a projected growth rate of about 8% through 2029. That’s above-average growth, and just about every kind of clinical facility needs billers and coders on hand. Even the physician’s office needs someone who can bill properly, so you have plenty of options.
Working in a hospital or ER will give you experience in emergency medical terms and long-term healthcare plans. You’ll learn all about what kinds of diseases and illnesses require which treatments, and it’s a pretty rewarding career just for that reason. Being able to understand medicine on a deeper level is something that will benefit you in the long run. Not to mention, you’ll familiarize yourself with the billing process, so, if there’s ever an issue with your own healthcare billing, you might know the solution.
You can also find work behind-the-scenes if you’re not interested in hospitals or doctors’ offices. Many larger healthcare facilities have off-site billing and coding, and you can also work directly for the insurance companies. There are so many choices available, so many extra certifications you can obtain, and so much you can do with a medical billing and coding degree.
Most billers and coders make anywhere from $35,000-$45,000 per year with a certification or associate’s degree. In some cases, having an associate’s degree will actually grant you a higher salary, but it depends on the employer. The bottom line is that this is a viable option for anyone looking for a fast-track into the healthcare system with a good salary, plenty of options, and opportunity for advancement.
The Bottom Line
Billers and coders are some of the most important administrative staff in the medical field. You’ll be responsible for handling billing and payments, and you’ll work closely with insurance companies to make sure the payment process is smooth. It’s rewarding, viable, and fun!