In Healthcare Today

The UMA Blog covers information at the intersection of healthcare, education and employment. Our contributors are intimately familiar with a wide range of subjects covering professional development, career advancement, workplace politics, healthcare industry specific topics, personal finance, and education.

What Is the Job Outlook for a Medical Biller and Coder?

In: CareersEducation

It’s important to consider what your potential job will look like years down the road. To help with that, here’s a handy guide on the job outlook for a medical biller and coder.

Medical billers and coders play an important function within the healthcare industry. As medical offices and providers convert to electronic healthcare records (EHR), medical billers and coders are needed to input information accurately. This helps provide good patient care, and it also helps make sure physicians are paid correctly for their medical services.

If you’re curious about this job, you may be wondering about your chances of gaining employment after school. Is there enough demand for medical coders and billers?

Learn more about this important job—and see the demand for new workers within the medical billing and coding field.

Know What a Medical Biller and Coder Does

Medical coders and billers can work in many different healthcare environments, and they have an important job function. It’s up to the coders and billers to ensure that every patient’s record is accurate and that bills are coded correctly for the right procedure.

This can make a big difference since mistakes in this process can lead to problems, like a patient being charged more than they were supposed to owe. Therefore, it’s important for workers in billing and coding to have a keen eye for detail.

Nearly every type of doctor’s office or facility that works with patients has a medical coder and biller on staff. Often there are more in order to meet the demands of a busy office.

Before you can get a jump start on a new career, you need to know what’s required to succeed.

Understand the Training Requirements for a Medical Biller and Coder

Medical secretaries, under which medical billing and coding falls, typically pursue additional healthcare-specific training, though some jobs may accept a high school diploma and relevant work experience.

While not required, employers may favor candidates who are certified. One such certification is the the Certified Professional Coder (CPC).

Some important areas of study for medical billing and coding include:

  • Current procedural terminology (CPT)
  • ICD-10 codes
  • Healthcare common procedure coding system (HCPCS)

You can typically find diploma, associate, and bachelor’s degrees in this area of study. Which one you choose depends on the goal of your career and what you want to do.

Upon graduation, you have the opportunity to sit for a standardized exam if you meet all the exam requirements. Medical billers and coders typically sit for the Certified Professional Coder exam (CPC) offered by the AAPC.

Getting this credential can show you’re serious about your field, and certification may also improve your salary. The test consists of 150 multiple choice questions designed to let you show what you’ve learned.

Learn About Job Outlook After Graduation

Graduation can be exciting and scary for many students. You finally get to pursue the career you’ve been studying, but you may not be sure about the job market. The good news is, the medical billing and coding field is growing.

Jobs for medical secretaries, under which medical billers and coders fall, are projected to grow 22% through 2026, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is faster than the rate of other occupations.

Once you have training and the appropriate certification depending on the employer, you’ll be eligible to apply to entry-level positions in this field. From there, you can grow your healthcare career with experience, further education and certification, and more. If you’re on the fence about what a quality education can do to help you, use this as a deciding factor.

Understand What Areas and Facilities Have the Most Demand for These Jobs

If you’re wondering what type of jobs you can pursue once you get your degree, most medical facilities that see and diagnose patients need medical coders and billers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of these locations are:

  • Hospitals
  • Dentists’ offices
  • Offices of other healthcare practitioners
  • Outpatient care centers

The opportunity for medical billers and coders is diverse.

Some states that have the highest employment level for this occupation include:

  • Texas
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Michigan

To understand the need in your area, research the job outlook for your state.

Learn About Important Courses Covered in Training

When you go through your career training, you should learn about important issues unique to medical coders and billers. You should come away with an understanding of how ethics relate to your role, the importance of accuracy, and how medical billing works.

Some of the information you’ll study includes:

  • The claims cycle
  • Claims processing
  • Medical terms
  • Record management

This list isn’t comprehensive, and you’re also expected to keep yourself updated on changes made within the industry. Most certifications require medical coders and billers to take continuing education units (CEU) every year.

There are different ways to earn CEUs, depending on what your availability looks like and what you’re able to do. If you live in a small town, you can look into distance continuing education.

Stay updated on the different ways to learn and remain aware of changes within medical settings. Many CEU opportunities include webinars, workshops, and regional conferences.

Just because you’ve earned a degree doesn’t mean you stop learning. As a member of the medical community, you can grow and evolve to better serve both the professionals and patients you’ll come into contact with as you deal with medical records.

See How Advanced Education Can Make It Possible to Gain a Management Position

Perhaps you have dreams of working in a leadership role, or you want to find out how far you can take your position in the workplace.

If you plan to continue your education and want to work in a management position, your medical billing and coding experience may make it possible for you to do so. There’s an increased demand for managers in the billing and coding field who can offer first-hand experience.

Many organizations want someone who knows what their medical billing and coding staff go through. Growth for medical and health services managers in general is expected to rise 20% between 2016 and 2026.

If you enjoy working with others and leading them while overseeing other aspects of coding and billing, this could be the ideal role for you.

If you want to pursue a management role, you may want to consider continuing your education.

You can earn either a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree, with a focus in subjects related to the healthcare field. The combination of hands-on experience and solid education can make you desirable to many employers in all types of medical settings.

This can also give you greater control over what times and how often you work.

Learn More

If you need a career change and want to work in the medical field, consider working as a medical biller and coder. You can make a difference in the lives of patients when you help make sure they’re billed correctly for medical procedures.

With a positive job outlook and potential opportunities for advancement, there are ways to grow your career. Many healthcare organizations have a need for medical billers and coders.

If you’re curious about other healthcare careers, we’re here to help. Check out our blog on career paths in healthcare and find out which one is the best job for you.

The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ultimate Medical Academy.