When discussing careers in healthcare, there’s a surprisingly commonplace, unimaginative tendency to think that options end with medical or nursing school. As it turns out however, there are several niche areas within the field that prove to be satisfying for those who pursue them not only in terms of the type of work they’ll do, but also in regards to the benefits that the job provides. One such path begins with the choice to pursue an education in Medical Coding and Billing. If you haven’t yet heard of it, it’s ok—we described it as niche for a reason!
What is Medical Coding and Billing?
A basic description of medical coding would be to say that it’s a little bit like translation work. A “coder’s job [is] to take something that’s written one way (a doctor’s diagnosis, for example, or a prescription for a certain medication) and translate it as accurately as possible into a numeric or alphanumeric code”1. On the flip side, “medical billing is as simple as it sounds: medical billers take the information from the medical coder and make a bill for the insurance company, called a claim”1. This educational and career path has many benefits, one of them being that it allows for a career in healthcare without having to work with patients if that’s a variable that’s important to you. In other words, if you’re the kind of person who would love to help people without working directly with them, this might just be the right choice for you! The program can take as little as six months to complete before you begin work, an important and convenient factor when deciding what educational path to pursue. But there are other benefits as well.
Benefits of a Degree and Career in Medical Coding and Billing.
1. Great Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cited $44,000 as the median salary for medical records and health information technicians. The yearly earnings for workers in this field was projected for growth since 2018, with other sources citing even higher wages depending on state2. This slow but steady increase in wages means increased salary security for those looking to begin their careers, with most medical coders and billers working full-time hours across multiple healthcare facilities3.
2. Excellent Job Flexibility
As mentioned above, those who complete their training to become a medical coder or biller have plenty of work environments to choose from. You can apply to work in a hospital, nursing home, at a doctor’s office, or even work from home. To this latter point, given that the work is technical, expect to learn and train across multiple different softwares, but enjoy the fact that with a stable internet connection and a laptop, you can work from anywhere, anytime!
3. There’s Plenty of Room for Upward Mobility
One of the most important factors when considering a career are future opportunities for professional growth and development. No one likes the feeling of being stuck without a chance of improving themselves or their position. In fact, this can bring a lot of frustration into your everyday life, which can make completing your day-to-day tasks on a job feel like a drag while offering you little satisfaction. While it’s always good to remain open to opportunities elsewhere, it’s as valid a choice to desire to grow within the company you’re currently employed with. Luckily, “getting certified and working as a medical billing expert puts you right in the middle of the entire medical administration field. You’ll be able to build your skillset and potentially move up the ladder to becoming a healthcare administrator one day”4.
How to Get a Degree in Medical Billing and Coding?
The best way to get a degree in medical billing and coding is to study online. This will save you both time and money while offering you plenty of flexibility in your schedule. Numerous online courses and programs exist, so when choosing a program, your main task is to ensure that it’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Information Management. One of the big added benefits to studies in this field are the scholarships available to you. Websites like The Best Colleges5 have a great list of programs as well as funding opportunities available to potential students, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
This article has outlined the basics that you need to know about medical coding and billing programs as well as career paths. Hopefully it’s a positive first step in your goal to achieving a satisfying career you’ll love.
 Medical Billing & Coding Certification. “What Is Medical Billing and Coding?” Medical Billing & Coding Certification, 2020.
 All Allied Health School. “How Much Money Does a Medical Biller & Coder Make?” All Allied Health School, 2020.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, ” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 4, 2019.
 American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education. “16 Great Reasons to Start a Medical Billing and Coding Career.” American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education, November 2, 2019.
 The Best Colleges. “Top Online Medical Billing & Coding Programs for 2019.” The Best Colleges, 2020.