The Complete Guide

Medical Billing and Coding

How to become a medical billing coder and save time and money on your certification
January 15, 2022

Why We Love MBC

$40,000-$52,000
Estimated Salary
Certification Online
Education Needed
No Prior Experience
Experience
3-6 Months
Length

What if you could join the fast-growing healthcare industry and get an exciting career you love… and all this without going to a medical school, touching blood, or needing a college degree?

Allow me to introduce the growing and well-paid field of Medical Billing and Coding.

These professionals enjoy the benefits of a career in healthcare, but without the need for a long and expensive education. You could become trained and certified as a medical billing and coding specialist within months, without any prior experience or college degree. Yep, months!

That’s one of the greatest advantages of the medical billing and coding professions.

Another advantage – you could have the opportunity to work from home. This is a great benefit for single parents who need to earn a great income while also being there for their children. Working from home is especially an important aspect to consider in these COVID times, avoiding unnecessary health risks to you and your family.

Sound interesting? Well keep reading to find out what more a career as a medical billing and coding specialist can offer you!

Chapter 1:

What is Medical Billing and Coding?

Every healthcare facility needs someone to undertake medical coding and billing to handle patient insurance and invoices. Whenever a patient visits a healthcare provider, that visit is assigned a specific medical code so the patient’s insurance can be billed correctly. The medical coding and billing system ensures that each and every healthcare visit is categorized correctly. The medical billing and coding specialist is responsible for assigning these important codes and handling the entire process.

Critical Role In Healthcare

In the age of technology, every industry creates large quantities of data. The Healthcare industry is no different. In the healthcare industry, the data generated is handled by medical billing and coding specialists who keep all of this data organized by assigning standardized labels for medical procedures and diagnosis.

So for example, as a Medical Billing and Coding specialist, you might work for a physician’s office and a patient comes in with a broken arm requiring x-rays. After getting the patient and physician records, you would be able to assign the appropriate code and then submit that paperwork to their insurance company correctly so the insurance would pay for the patient’s procedure.

This profession is a crucial part of our healthcare system with demand for these specialists as a result!

Chapter 2:

Top 8 Reasons to Become a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

While there are many reasons why you’d want to become a medical billing and coding specialist, here are the top 8 reasons why you should consider it.

1. No Prior Experience is Needed

To get started in this career, you don’t need any prior experience or degree to begin your certification program – you could start towards a career in medical billing and coding in just 6 months.

 

2. It’s a Rewarding Career

A career in healthcare is a rewarding one because you are able to directly help many people. These professionals help doctors and nurses by relieving them of this work and also help patients by sorting out bills and insurance claims on their behalf. Medical billing and coding specialists serve vital roles in the entire healthcare industry by helping to keep costs down, reducing medical errors, and ensuring that patients’ medical histories are organized and recorded correctly.

 

3. You Don’t Need to Go to Medical School

Many people dream of going into medicine to help others. But this dream usually comes with a big price tag in the form of a four-year bachelor’s degree, four more years of medical school, medical residency, and further specialized training. Between the time and tuition, most people give up on their dream.

Luckily, a career as a medical billing and coding specialist allows you to help others without the need to obtain a medical degree. Generally, you could receive certification in this field and be working in months rather than years!

 

4. Catching Errors Can Save Lives

It’s not just doctors that save lives; medical billing and coding specialists are sometimes heroes as well. Medical coding errors can often lead to deadly outcomes when an incorrect code leads to the wrong treatment. By ensuring all data entered is accurate, these medical professionals help doctors and nurses ‘do no harm’ to their patients. It is a huge responsibility that they undertake and ensure that the system is working smoothly for both healthcare providers as well as the patients.

 

5. Many Different Career Settings to Choose From

When it comes time for you to land that job, you may want to know that you have many options to choose from. Medical billers and coders can work in a variety of settings including in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, administrative support centers, and even medical laboratories. This means you will look forward to a dynamic job market with plenty of job opportunities.

 

6. You Can Start Your New Career in Just a Matter of Months

Many adults who are looking for a career change with better pay and benefits typically don’t have years (or the budget) to dedicate to obtaining a degree. Most medical billing and coding programs are short duration. And that means you could start earning more much sooner!

 

7. Working from Home

If you’re not really a 9-5 type of person, many facilities, like hospitals and urgent care clinics, operate 24/7, so you have your choice of different schedules that suit you. Some may also allow their billers and coders to work from home as well. Trust me that is an advantage to think about during these Covid times. This can be incredibly helpful to single moms and others who are caretakers to family members and do not want to put their families at unnecessary health risks. Beyond the convenience of working from home, there is also the cost savings of less wear and tear on your vehicle and less need to fill the gas tank! You don’t only save patients but also the environment.

 

8. There’s Plenty of Room for Upward Mobility

You no doubt want a career that allows for room to grow. Becoming certified in medical billing and coding puts you smack-dab in the middle of the entire medical administration field, with many options to pivot and advance in the future. With the right education, experience, and a willingness to take on new administrative responsibilities, medical billers and coders may be able to move into a supervisory role or management position, increasing their earning potential. Moreover, being around experts in the medical field, and the right networking, working in this position can expose you to many future career possibilities.

Chapter 3:

How to Get a Medical Billing and Coding Certification

Employers typically require candidates to hold a medical coding certification and demonstrate their abilities to land a job in the field. So a certification may be the best way to get started in this exciting new career.

We recommend you take our certification savings quiz to get started.

Take the Quiz! >

You’re definitely going to need to be prepared for the certification by receiving training and all the right preparation from a top program.

5 Things to Look for In A Medical Billing and Coding Certification Program

1. Find an online program from a licensed school or accredited university

This is the first step and the most important to make sure you get the right education, and you’ll get a certificate of completion you can hang on your wall!

2. Look for a discount and a low monthly payment plan

Such a deal would be hard to find, but OnlineDegree.com can help…we go out to help everyone get discounts! Our mission is to make education affordable and accessible for everyone and seeing the financial toll this ongoing pandemic has taken, we understand this need even better.

3. Make sure an externship placement is included

To gain work experience this step is extremely important. Hands-on training will make you more marketable for the best job opportunities out there!

4. Look for an online, mentor supported course you can take at your own pace

Online and self-paced is key! You can complete the program online at your pace and schedule with the help you need. For adult learners, this is another most important aspect that they should pay attention to. Studying online and in your own schedule and pace helps spend more time with family and take care of other responsibilities as you work toward this new exciting career.

5. Find out if textbooks are included in the cost of the program

Medical billing and coding textbooks can be expensive! We understand this problem.  We recommend finding a program that doesn’t charge extra for books. Don’t worry we can help you find it :).

6. (Bonus!) Use our free quiz to find a certification program that meets all of these criteria

We’ve done the research for you! Save time by using our healthcare quiz to get matched with the best certification programs. All programs meet these criteria and are chosen for you based on your career goals and life situation.

Take the Quiz! >

Chapter 4:

Medical Billing and Coding Salary Data

How much do Medical Billing and Coding Specialist make? Here is the salary and growth data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and American Academy of Professional Coders:

Medical Billing and Coding Specialists had a median annual salary of $45,240 (or $21.75 per hour) in 2020. Salary data also suggests that medical billers and coders who have earned certification have greater earning potential.

For instance, in 2016, the American Academy of Professional Coders Salary Survey found that coders who obtained their Certified Professional Coder credential earned an average wage of approximately $52,690. That’s above the national average.

Beyond credentials, location also influences how much these professionals make. Those billers and coders who live in areas of the country with higher costs of living tend to be paid more as do those who live in urban (as opposed to rural) areas.

And finally, billing and coding salaries vary by industry. For example, in 2017 the BLS reported the following median annual salaries for these top industries:

Professional, scientific, and technical services: $42,420
Hospitals; state, local and private: $42,090
Administrative and support services: $40,590
Nursing care facilities: $36,500
Offices of physicians: $34,250

Take the Quiz! >

Chapter 5:

Medical Billing and Coding Job Growth Projections and Forecast

Now let’s find out how fast is the Medical Billing and Coding field growing? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 there were 215,500 jobs and the projected percent change in employment from 2018 to 2028 is 11%. Much faster than the national average of 5%!

This growth is due in large part to an aging population that will require more medical services and also newer medical emergencies that we have seen in the past couple of years, globally. Medical billers and coders will be needed to organize and manage all of this new incoming data to help with increasing claims for reimbursement from insurance companies.

In addition, the transition towards digitization in more and more places and widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) by different healthcare providers will lead to an increased need for billers and coders to organize and manage this new data.

According to the BLS, job prospects will be the best for those with certification in health information and a thorough understanding of technology and computer software. Right programs can help you achieve that level.

Coincidentally, the university or school certification programs we recommend cover those exact topics to fully prepare you.

Chapter 6:

How to Find a Job in Medical Billing and Coding

Your first step toward your career as a medical billing and coding specialist is completing the certification training program through an authorized school or accredited university. This will ensure a solid educational foundation and get you ready to enter the job market.

Your next step is to decide on what type of environment you may want to work in. Medical billing and coding specialists work in a variety of settings, typically in clinics, hospitals, billing offices, or at home. But there are also many other places these professionals can work.

For instance, you may want to work for an insurance company like UnitedHealthcare, BlueCross Blue Shield, Kaiser, and others. Medical billing and coding specialists review and manage claims for the payer as well as for clinics and facilities owned by the payor.

These professionals also work within schools, local governments and other public entities. They may also work for the military and Veterans Affairs (VA) and can work anywhere in the world on American military bases and facilities.

But that’s not all! Medical billing and coding specialists are also needed at pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies, software development companies, professional associations, and inside courtrooms assisting healthcare lawyers.

Next, it’s a good idea to get a little experience under your belt before hitting the job market to look for the job that works best for you. The good news is a good certification program will include an externship where you’ll get real-world experience, working in the industry to understand which skill set is needed and to figure out exactly where your skillset fits the best!

Chapter 7:

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional questions and answers you may have about billing and coding careers or getting certified.

Q: What Does a Medical Biller and Coder Do Every Day?

A: The duties of a medical biller and coder may vary slightly based on where they work exactly, but, generally speaking, you will work with healthcare providers to determine services and be in charge of managing the insurance claim process.

Q: What is a Medical Billing and Coding Certification?

A: A Medical Billing and Coding Certification is a valuable asset to have as it signals to prospective employers that you have taken the time to study the complexity of billing and coding. This certification will help you stand apart from the crowd.

Q: What Skills Will I Learn in Medical Billing and Coding Training?

A: When you pursue certification in this field you will learn medical terminology, health services and information systems, classification of diseases coding, and much more!

Q: What Are the Prerequisites for Enrollment in a Certificate Program?

A: The only requirement for enrollment in these programs is a high school diploma or equivalent.

Chapter 8:

How to Start Towards a Medical Billing and Coding Career In 6 Months

Even if you don’t have any prior experience or degree – you could start towards a career in medical billing and coding in just 3-6 months.

That’s one of the greatest advantages of the medical billing and coding professions.

So here’s what we recommend you do to get started: Take this quiz to see if you qualify for a discounted online certification program from an authorized school or accredited university.

Take the Quiz! >

A certification in medical billing and coding is required or preferred by most employers. Plus, taking a certification program could be the best way to get training, your foot in the door, build your network, and work experience.

Take this quiz to see if you qualify for:

  • 10% Off A Certification Program
  • An Externship For Real Work Experience
  • Affordable and Low Monthly Payment Plans
  • No Extra Cost For Textbooks – All Included and Shipped To Your Door
  • Online, Mentor Supported Courses You Can Take 24/7 At Your Own Pace

If you are ready to get started on an exciting and rewarding career in the healthcare industry, then take this short quiz to get started toward your dream!