What is a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
A medical billing and coding specialist (also known as Health Information Technician, Health Information Specialist, Medical Records Technician, Medical Coders, and Medical Records Specialist) is someone that works on the administrative side of the medical industry, coding the medical services provided to the patient, and creating the appropriate bill for those services, whether it be for the patient, their insurance company, or CMS. For more on how to become a medical billing and coding specialist, please visit our medical billing and coding specialist job description page.
The work environment for medical billing and coding specialists is an interesting one, with an office-like setting within the medical milieu. As such, the work environment itself will be clean and well-lit, while also have the professional atmosphere common to a standard office. These professionals work in hospitals, clinics, and often in physicians’ offices as well.
Medical billing and coding professionals may work with others, who are similarly combined in their skills, or do one or the other (ie medical billing or medical coding). The position itself can occasionally have a less pleasant side when collections need to be sent, however this is not a regular occurrence.
The work schedule for medical billing and coding professionals is a very standard forty-hour work week. Some may work part-time, however the vast majority work full-time. There are occasional needs for overtime work, however this is only during busier weeks in the clinic or hospitals.
Mean Annual Medical Billing and Coding Salary
The average annual salary of a medical billing and coding specialist is $36,770. An analysis of the salary range showed that the bottom 10% made a little more than $22,250 a year, while the top 10% earned more than $56,200 yearly. Location, industry, and experience are the major factors in the rate of pay.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary: Quick Summary
|2012 Mean Salary
|$36,770 per year
$17.68 per hour
|Top 10% Salary
|$56,200 per year
$27.02 per hour
|Bottom 10% Salary
|$22,250 per year
$10.70 per hour
|Number of Jobs, 2012
The job outlook for medical billing and coding professionals is very promising, with an expected 22 percent job growth from 2012 to 2022. This is quite more than the average for all occupations, and is due in part to the overall growth in population anticipated for the United States, both in new births and in immigration; and in part due to the expected growth in medical industries specifically, caused by an aging population, as well as increased demand for medical services that will come with recent changes to national medical insurance legislation.
What Affects a Medical Coder’s Salary
Salary of a medical billing and coding specialist is affected primarily by experience, geographic location, and education. The current mean annual wage is $36,770, and most of the medically-related industries tend to revolve around this salary. Education can bring some noteworthy salary gains, and positional improvements have some potential. Specialization is not a factor for medical billing and coding specialists.
Education and Specialization
The only education needed for this position is a high school diploma, therefore those with higher education are both more likely to be awarded the position, and more likely to receive a higher salary. Many learn their duties through on-the-job training.
Furthermore, an education in medical terminology and coding will bring much higher salaries; every procedure involves a particular code for billing purposes, and having some understanding of the field, and education in the codes, will save both time and money in training; these savings are often reflected in salary offers.
Specialization is not a factor in medical billing and coding salary, as there are no specializations within the field. Higher education in both billing and coding are advised, but there are no subspecialties.
Experience and Position
The starting wages for a newly graduated medical coder is $23,500, but greater experience (generally five years or more) will bring one closer to the average wage (depending on the geographic location).
Position is a minor consideration; with greater experience, one can manage a group of billers and/or coders, and train new hires in one or both of these skills. Such a position will bring a minor salary improvement.
The industry worked has surprisingly little affect on salary. The majority of industries offer wages surprisingly close to the $34,540 average. Notable exceptions are state-owned general hospitals, where the average wage is $38,460, and state-owned specialty hospitals, where wages are $41,550.
Geographic location can assert some influence on a medical coder’s salary, offering differences from $20,800 in Puerto Rico to $47,310 in District of Columbia. Alaska has the second highest average wages, at $40,930, and Connecticut follows closely at $40,680.
On the metropolitan level, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA has the best wages at $47,470, followed by San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA at $46,020, and Oakland-Fremont-Hayword, CA rounds out the top three, with $43,370.