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Medical Billing and Coding Salary: 10 Things You Need to Know

Posted: May 7, 2021


The median national medical billing and coding salary in 2020 was $44,090 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.* Take note: That’s the median salary, so half of all employees in the field will earn more than that, and half will earn less.

If you want to join this exciting and fulfilling career in the healthcare field, then the team at Career Quest Learning Centers can help you take your first step. Our online medical billing and coding certification program is designed to get you started in your new career in as little as 8 months.

Eager to start training for your new role? Here are 10 things you should know about medical billing and coding:

1. Your Salary Can Vary Based on Your Employer

As professionals who ensure that providers receive payment for their services, medical billers and coders are highly valuable members of any healthcare practice. So, you’ll have many choices of where to work. Some of the most common employers of medical billers and coders are hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, therapy practices, and dental offices.

With so much variety in where you can work, it’s no surprise that medical biller and coder salaries can vary based on employer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical billers and coders earned the following median annual salaries in 2020 based on two of the most common employers:

  • Hospitals: $46,880*
  • Physicians’ offices: $39,190*

Keep in mind that this is the median annual salary for these employers. Half of all medical billers and coders will earn more, and half will earn less. The Career Quest Career Services Department can assist current and former students who are searching for employment. We’ll help you find listings at various healthcare practices with salary ranges aligned to your goals.

2. Your Location Can Affect Your Medical Billing and Coding Salary

Your location is one of the biggest factors in determining what kind of salary you may earn as a medical billing and coding professional. Different cities have different costs of living, and employment earnings tend to reflect that. So, always consider your location when you’re researching salary potential for any career.

In Lansing, MI, medical billers and coders make the following average salary, according to Glassdoor:

  • Medical billing specialist in Lansing, MI: $37,785 per year**
  • Medical coder in Lansing, MI: $42,932 per year***

Note that these are average salaries for the area, so some professionals will earn more than the average, and some will earn less based on employer, experience, education, and other factors.

3. A Comprehensive Education Can Help Boost Your Potential Salary

While an advanced degree isn’t essential for medical billers and coders, having a relevant degree, certificate, or experience may help to increase the salary you earn. At our online career college, we offer two different programs that can help you get ahead in your new career in healthcare:

Medical Billing and Coding Certification

Our medical billing and coding certification program covers all the fundamentals. During this program, you’ll develop a strong foundation in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and required insurance billing and coding responsibilities. You’ll get to take classes like:

  • Allied Healthcare Procedures
  • Administrative Compliance
  • Billing & Coding Procedures
  • Anatomy & Physiology

You’ll finish off your program with a required externship, during which you can gain valuable hands-on experience in the field.

Medical Office Administration (AAS) Degree

If you want an even more in-depth understanding of the inner workings of a medical office, then you may want to consider our 15-month medical office administration (AAS) degree. Choose the medical billing and coding concentration, and you’ll cover everything in the certification program above, plus:

  • Medical Office Management
  • Medical Law & Ethics
  • Project Management

The medical office administration degree also requires an externship, so you can practice your skills in a real-world setting. If you decide to earn this degree, then you’ll also be prepared for a role like a medical office manager or medical office administrator.

4. Earning Certifications May Improve Your Medical Biller and Coder Salary

Certifications are a great way to show your future employer you’ll go the extra mile to perfect your skills and abilities as a medical biller and coder. They may even improve your salary potential. Depending on availability, some of the certifications you can earn include:

  • Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Medical Administrative Assistant

At Career Quest, all of our programs are designed to prepare you to sit for applicable certifications. Students may even be eligible to take the exam at no additional charge if they meet certain eligibility criteria, like GPA and financing standing requirements. Talk to our Admissions Advisors about available certifications.

5. Medical Billing and Coding Is a Growing Field

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medical records and health information specialists field is expected to grow by 8% between 2019 and 2029.**** That’s much faster than average, and the field includes medical coders too. This growth rate makes for a highly stable career as more and more medical practices add these valuable professionals to their teams.

6. Medical Billers and Coders Perform Separate Duties

Although medical billers and medical coders are often paired when discussing this career path, they actually perform different, but equally vital, roles in a healthcare office setting.

Medical Coders

When a provider sees a patient, they document all aspects of the encounter in a report. It’s the job of the medical coder to translate those tests, diagnoses, medications, and any other services into a variety of coding systems. These coding systems include:

  • ICD-10 Diagnosis Codes
  • CPT and HCPCS Procedure Codes
  • Charge Capture Codes
  • Professional and Facility Codes

These codes tell insurance companies which costs they’re being billed for. They’re also used by insurance companies to determine how much of the cost they’re required to cover based on the patient’s policy.

Medical Billers

In the role of a medical biller, you’ll collect payments owed to the medical facility you work for. They may be upfront payments in the form of patient copays or reimbursements from insurance companies and other payers. As a medical biller, you’ll likely be involved in back-end medical billing. This means:

  • Submitting claim forms to insurance providers or other payers
  • Creating and sending statements to patients
  • Resolving and resubmitting rejected or denied claims
  • Following up on outstanding bills from patients
  • Double checking to ensure that all services are coded correctly

Depending on the size and scope of the practice you work for, you may also perform front-end medical billing duties. This includes collecting insurance information from patients and communicating with the insurance company to determine whether the patient owes a payment at check-in.

7. Medical Billers and Coders May Be the Same Person

While medical billers and coders typically perform two different roles, sometimes these duties are performed by the same person. So, it’s important to be skilled in both aspects of the role. Often, smaller practices will have just an office manager who is responsible for the front and back office. That includes performing front-end billing, back-end billing, and coding tasks.

Even if you work in a larger practice or hospital with designated billers and coders, these two roles often work together very closely. Professionals in this field need to understand both medical billing and coding to be as successful as possible in their career.

8. Medical Billers and Coders Have a Valuable Set of Skills

The work medical billers and coders do ensures that healthcare practices receive the payments they need to continue providing patients with high-quality care. They’re highly valuable professionals with sought-after skills, like:

  • Basic accounting and bookkeeping
  • An understanding of medical codes and coding systems
  • The ability to create and process invoices
  • An understanding of fair debt collection practices
  • Basic computer and data-entry skills

They also need to have a basic understanding of any medical terminology relevant to the practice they work for. This will allow them to properly code services to receive appropriate and timely payments. These skills are all teachable, and we cover them in the courses in our medical billing and coding programs at Career Quest.

You’ll also have the opportunity to complete an externship and gain real-world experience as part of our program. The hands-on experience is where you’ll practice the softer skills that can help you succeed in this field, including patience and empathy, communication, attention to detail, and the ability to work as part of a team.

If you want to confirm that you’re on the right path and have the skills and interests you need for this field, then you can take our Career Training Readiness Quiz. It will help you determine whether career training is the right fit for you and your goals at this time.

9. You’ll Have Many Career Options Available to You

While medical billers and coders play an important role in any medical practice, they’re often just one part of a larger administrative team keeping the practice running smoothly behind the scenes. With experience as a medical biller and coder, you’ll be poised to work in a variety of entry-level careers, including:

  • Medical office receptionist
  • Health insurance processor
  • Billing and coding specialist
  • Medical records and health information technician

If you’ve completed an AAS degree in medical office administration, you may also be able to grow into the role of medical office manager. The medical office manager, or medical office administrator, is often responsible for overseeing the entire front- and back-office experience. They may supervise a team or manage the office on their own, depending on the size of the practice.

10. An Online Career College Can Help You Start a Medical Billing and Coding Career Fast

If you’ve decided that you want to start a career as a medical biller and coder, then an online career college like Career Quest can help you get ahead. We offer two programs designed to teach you the skills you’ll need to re-enter the workforce as a medical biller and coder in just 8 to 15 months.

We also provide additional support and benefits that set Career Quest apart, like:

Tuition discounts for eligible students:
Every student who enrolls in a program at our career college is eligible to apply for tuition discounts. As an accredited college, we’re able to offer financial aid to eligible students, so speak to a Financial Aid Advisor about any tuition discounts you may qualify for.

Small class sizes:
Classes at Career Quest include no more than 25 students per class. This enables you to get the individual attention you need from your instructor, so you can excel in your coursework and fully understand the material.

Flexible online classes:
We know you’re busy. You may be working or raising a family while also earning your degree or certificate in medical billing and coding. With our fully online curriculum, you’ll be able to meet your weekly deadlines in a way that works with your schedule.

Inclusive tuition:
Tuition for our programs includes any textbooks and other course materials. That means no unexpected expenses. Everything will already be accounted for.

Lifetime career placement assistance:
Our Career Services Department consistently goes above and beyond for our students. We offer resumé, cover letter, and interview prep assistance, as well as help finding and applying to employment listings. Even after you graduate, we’ll be here to help you keep your career on track.

Earn a Medical Biller and Coder Salary: Enroll at Career Quest Today

Now that you know all you need to know about the medical biller and coder salary, it’s time to get on the fast track to your new career. At Career Quest, we’ll help you learn the necessary skills so you can start working as a medical biller and coder in as little as 8 months.

Reach out to our Admissions team and learn how we can support you with hands-on, personalized career training.

Classes are filling up quickly, so enroll today!