Outlook is Bright for Medical Billing and Coding Careers

Among healthcare careers, medical billing and coding is a rapidly growing specialty.  Hundreds, if not thousands of programs throughout the United States prepare individuals for these careers. If students live in Colorado, Fort Collins offers college programs that can prepare them for medical billing and coding jobs.

What Medical Billers and Coders Do

These specialists perform a crucial role in hospitals, clinics, private medical practices, insurance companies, and correctional facilities.  They are sometimes called health information technicians and possess both healthcare and technology knowledge.

Coders and billers assign to patients’ procedures and diagnoses codes that are universally recognized.  They use technology to make sure providers receive accurate reimbursement from insurance companies as well as from government agencies.

Job Outlook

The median U.S. pay in 2012 for a medical billers and coders was $34,160 a year, or $16.42 per hour for the 186,300 individuals in those positions.  The top 10 percent earned more than $56,200 annually.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the job outlook for 2012 to 2022 includes a 22 percent increase, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.  This includes an increase of 41,100 jobs.  One important reason is new requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Career Training

Individuals best suited for a career in medical billing and coding are those who have good technical, analytical, and interpersonal skills and who are detail oriented and sensitive to health privacy issues.  This career requires post-high school training resulting in either a school certificate or a two-year degree.

Many students opt to complete their training at community or technology colleges.  Students choosing to attend a technology college in Fort Collins would follow a curriculum with courses such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Health data requirements and standards
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical office procedures
  • Information technology systems
  • Classification and coding systems

In prior decades, many billers and coders acquired their skills solely by on-the-job experience.  Today’s technology makes that a rarity.  While some distance education programs provide courses that are valuable in this profession, some hands-on experience is necessary.

Community colleges and technical schools offer rapid training for this profession.  Students considering a technology college in Greeley are likely to also be working full time or changing careers. Their needs include a career-focused curriculum, job placement assistance, and networking opportunities.

Medical billers and coders can advance after graduation by becoming professionally certified.  Two professional organizations that award certifications are the American Medical Billing Association and the American Academy of Professional Coders.

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