Few things are more life-zapping than showing up every day to a dead-end job you hate. If you are stuck in a dead-end role, you may be worried about wasting your professional talents. You may also spend most of your time daydreaming about the weekend. Because you spend most of your life at work, your job contributes to your overall sense of well being.
If you are looking for a higher-paying, exciting career, you may want to look into becoming a medical billing and coding specialist. With little training requirements, medical billing and coding jobs usually pay well. In this article, we look at recent medical billing and coding salary by state.
What Is Medical Billing and Coding?
In the United States, the healthcare system connects patients with doctors. To pay for medical treatment, individuals often purchase insurance. Insurance companies require information about patient medical conditions to appropriately pay claims.
Medical billing and coding specialists read medical charts to determine an individual’s medical history. This includes identifying doctor diagnoses and treatment methods. Then, the medical billing and coding specialist assigns certain codes to each condition, treatment or procedure. Healthcare companies and healthcare professionals use these codes for a variety of purposes.
From doctors’ offices to hospitals, job duties for medical billing and coding specialists are standard. Once you have received training, you can essentially work anywhere without having to learn how to perform new job tasks.
Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Job Duties
With supervision, medical billing and coding specialists usually must complete the following job duties:
- Maintain patient confidentiality and comply with privacy laws
- Read patient recordsAnalyze patient diagnosesIdentify patient treatments and medical procedures
- Refer to a list of published codes
- Determine which codes are appropriate for a patient’s medical history
- Collaborate with healthcare providers to ensure accurate billing and coding
- Rely on codes to bill health insurers for services rendered
- Keep up with a busy schedule
You may worry that working as a medical billing and coding specialist will expose you to the stressful environment that is common at medical practices and hospitals. That isn’t necessarily the case. While many medical billing and coding specialists work in healthcare facilities, most of their offices are far away from the action. In addition, most working environments aren’t dissimilar from regular offices.
Job Opportunities for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
Working in the healthcare field isn’t a bad career path. After all, there will always be patients who need medical care. Depending on your professional goals, you can likely choose to work in a variety of places. Some medical billing and coding specialists work in fast-paced hospitals, while others prefer the more-relaxed environment of a senior care facility. You may also be able to work independently from a home office.
Training for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
If you plan to pursue a career as a medical billing and coding specialists, you need to participate in a training program. Many community colleges, trades schools and other institutions provide the educational foundation that is essential to succeed in medical billing and coding.
When you enroll in a reputable training program, you learn the following skills:
- How to comply with federal, state and local laws and medical regulations
- How to analyze a patient’s medical chart
- How to determine which codes are appropriate for an illness, disorder, injury or treatment
- How to generate a variety of coding and billing reports
- How to ensure a healthcare institution receives payment following patient diagnosis or treatment
While there are many places to earn a medical billing and coding certificate, not all programs are a good option. Some are downright scams. To avoid one of these, you must do a bit of research before enrolling. Check to see that the program is accredited. Also, ask alumni about their experiences.
Remember, you probably aren’t participating in a medical billing and coding program for fun. Instead, you want to learn the skills you need to land a good job. Before beginning work, you likely must obtain certification from either the American Academy of Professional Coders or the American Health Information Management Association. Thus, you don’t want to waste valuable time in a program that doesn’t prepare you for certification. Nonetheless, with a bit of effort, you can likely find the right program for you.
Are Medical Billing and Coding Specialists in Demand?
In today’s marketplace, there is significant demand for medical billing and coding professionals. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic predicts a 13 percent increase in the number of medical billing and coding jobs over the next decade. That means the healthcare industry will need nearly 30,000 new coders before 2028 to keep up with current demand.
Currently, nearly 70,000 medical billing and coding specialists work in hospitals. Almost 40,000 work in private physician offices. Additionally, 11,500 individuals work at nursing homes, while just over 8,000 find employment in outpatient facilities. While California, Florida, Texas and New York have the most medical billing and coding specialists in their workforces, specialists find employment in all U.S. states.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary by State
The latest salary information for medical billing and coding specialists is from 2017. That year, medical billing and coding specialists in New Jersey earned more than those in other states. Meanwhile, medical billing and coding specialists in Mississippi commanded the lowest wage.
Below is a list of the mean hourly wage and mean annual wage for each state. This list comes from information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Alabama: $17.04 per hour; $35,470 per year
- Alaska: $26.04 per hour; $54,170 per year
- Arizona: $19.49 per hour; $40,540 per year
- Arkansas: $16.35 per hour; $34,010 per year
- California: $24.16 per hour; $50,260 per year
- Colorado: $23.58 per hour; $49,040 per year
- Connecticut: $23.58 per hour; $48,330 per year
- Delaware: $21.20 per hour; $44,100 per year
- District of Columbia: $24.07 per hour; $50,070 per year
- Florida: $19.70 per hour; 440,980 per year
- Georgia: $18.95 per hour; $39,410 per year
- Hawaii: $22.96 per hour; $47,760 per year
- Idaho: $18.26 per hour; $37,980 per year
- Illinois: $20.75 per hour; $43,150 per year
- Indiana: $20.75 per hour; $43,150 per year
- Iowa: $19.48 per hour; $40,520 per year
- Kansas: $18.46 per hour; $38,400 per year
- Kentucky: $17.89 per hour; $37,210 per year
- Louisiana: $17.18 per hour; 35,780 per year
- Maryland: $23.75 per hour; $49,390 per year
- Massachusetts: $23.67 per hour; $49,240 per year
- Michigan: $19.10 per hour; $39,720 per year
- Minnesota: $23.02 per hour $47,880 per year
- Mississippi: $01 per hour; $33,310 per year
- Missouri: $20.01 per hour; $41,620 per year
- Montana: $18.40 per hour; $38,280 per year
- Nebraska: $19.09 per hour; $39,700 per year
- Nevada: $21.21 per hour; $44,120 per year
- New Hampshire: $20.10 per hour; $41,810 per year
- New Jersey: $27.92 per hour; $58,080 per year
- New Mexico: $17.80 per hour; $37,020 per year
- New York: $21.21 per hour; $46,200 per year
- North Carolina: $18.04 per hour; $37,520 per year
- North Dakota: $20.85 per hour; $43,370 per year
- Ohio: $19.44 per hour; $40,430 per year
- Oregon: $21.41 per hour; $46,560 per year
- Pennsylvania: $21.60 per hour; $44,930 per year
- South Carolina: $17.21 per hour; $35,790 per year
- South Dakota: $19.47 per hour; $40,490 per year
- Tennessee: $20.02 per hour; $41,650 per year
- Texas: $19.96 per hour; $41,510 per year
- Utah: $19.95 per hour; $41,500 per year
- Vermont: $20.35 per hour; $42,320 per year
- Texas: $19.96 per hour; $41,510 per year
- Virginia: $20.33 per hour; $42,290 per year
- Washington: $21.73 per hour; $45,190 per year
- West Virginia: $18.13 per hour; $37,700 per year
- Wisconsin: $20.57 per hour; $42,780 per year
- Wyoming: $19.55 per hour; $40,670 per year
- Washington: $21.73 per hour; $45,190 per year
It is important to remember that the wages in this list are mean hourly and annual salaries. Some medical billing and coding specialists earn less, while others earn significantly more. To command higher wages, specialists often choose to work as supervisors or cancer registrars.
Cancer registrars are a unique type of medical billing and coding specialists. The professionals specifically code and bill for complicated cancer diagnosis and treatment methods. Often, cancer registrars earn more than ordinary medical billing and coding specialists. There are other options for career advancement that may lead to higher salaries as well.
Medical Billing and Coding Is a Career Path With a Comparatively High Salary
As you likely know, the healthcare industry is growing exponentially. With an aging population and a complicated healthcare system, there is plenty of work to go around. While working as a medical billing and coding specialist is high-paced, it is also rewarding. When working in the role, you help individuals get access to the medical care they need to stay healthy and happy.
If you are stuck in a job you don’t like or one that doesn’t pay enough, you don’t have to stay there. With just a bit of education and training, you can pursue certification as a medical billing and coding professional. Depending on where you live, you may earn nearly $60,000 per year working in the field.