Medical billing and coding in the District of Columbia is one of the best career fields to pursue in terms of growth and stability. The need for highly skilled billing and coding personnel has grown steadily since 2000, and is projected to rise by as much as twenty percent in the next five to six years, resulting in a projected thirty-five thousand new jobs. The average starting salary for a medical coder is around fifty thousand or more per year, while the average for a medical billing specialist is closer to twenty-six thousand. The salary ranges for both vary widely depending on the city you work in, your level of experience, and the company you work for. (Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.)
Medical Billing and Coding for the Health Care Industry
Medical billing and coding for the health care industry are both very specialized fields requiring a thorough knowledge of medical terms, treatments, and even diagnosis of illnesses. Billing and coding both involve translating vital information to and from records, and effective communication between different health care providers. The billing aspect is more focused on the financial end, but the need for a background in the health care industry is vital when working with patient records and insurance providers, whether those providers are private companies or Medicare. The medical coder is different in the fact that they are responsible for updating the records in the established coding format and must be familiar with the codes for treatment, diagnosis and disease, just to name a few.
The education required for a medical coding or billing specialist will vary depending on where you work and the job duties involved. In general, most positions will require at least a two year degree or an equivalent certification. Medical billing specialists will need very good accounting skills, computer skills, and knowledge of insurance practices and laws, in addition to medical terminology training. Coders will need more of a medical background including anatomy, physiology, treatments and diseases, as well as knowledge of the over ten thousand codes that are used. Some of the more recognized credentials are the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and accreditation from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
There are many resources for financial aid available to those considering a career in medical coding and billing. Most accredited schools have financial aid departments to assist students, and there are different types federal grants and loans through the Federal Association of Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) for those who qualify. Another great resource for DC residents is the DC College Access Program, or DCCAP. The DCCAP program offers counseling and financial assistance to potential students that may have difficulty obtaining financial aid elsewhere.
Interested in exploring correspondence or online medical billing school options?
Washington DC Area Medical Billing and Coding Schools Enrolling Now