One of the fasted growing careers in the medical field today is medical billing and coding. Medical billers/coders work in a variety of different settings which may include hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, medical laboratories, HMOs, or an insurance company. If someone is thinking about joining the medical billing and coding field, they must know that they will need to focus on detail and have patients. They must become very accurate with their work, as one simple coding error can cause major delays which will not make any doctor or patient very happy.
Medical Biller and Coder Salary Outlook
According to current reports, there are 5,090 medical billing and coding specialists at work in the LA metropolitan area and they seem to earn a very nice living wage for their work. Medical billing and coding specialists in Los Angeles have an average annual salary of $38,830. (Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.) Although those who are employed by large organizations earn slightly more than those who are employed by physicians.
Early Preparation for a Medical Billing and Coding Career
If you are a high school student, the best way to prepare for a medical biller/coder career is to concentrate on math skills and science courses. Building computer skills is also great, as medical biller/coders spend a great deal of time in front of computers. If you are good at memorizing things, that is a skill that will be in your favour and benefit you as a medical biller/coder. Good organization skills and great confidentiality skills are also important as you will be working with confidential medical information about people and must keep this information private.
Medical Billing and Coding Training
To become a medical biller/coder, someone will need to enrol in a medical billing and coding class at either a local trade school or college. The length of the class varies, depending on where you get your training. It is very common to find medical billing and coding training schools that are from 6 months to one year. During training, students will learn alphanumeric codes for different kinds of injuries, illnesses, and other medical problems that patients may have. This coding system is used throughout the entire health care system. Students should also become familiar with the AMA Standard or Professional versions of the CPT, the ICD-9-CM, and the HCPCS books. These are reference books that are sometimes used for medical billing purposes. Students will later then need to take the medical coding examination which consists of 150 questions. Once this is completed, you will be a certified medical biller and will be able to apply for any medical biller/coder job you desire.
Financial aid is available to anyone who wants to train for a medical billing and coding career. Talk to the financial department of whatever school you are interested in training with and they will give you the application to fill out.
Interested in exploring correspondence or online medical billing school options?