Medical coding and billing is a unique field that requires precision, attention to detail, and an ability to work with numbers. As a medical coder, you will be required to code various types of patient encounters and insurance claims. This includes everything from hospital visits to dental procedures.

Medical coders work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. They also provide coding support for outpatient services that are not billed through Medicare or Medicaid.

Here are 3 reasons why you might want to consider a career in medical coding and billing!

The Basics of Medical Coding

Medical coders are responsible for correctly categorizing patient encounters and insurance claims. They also apply the necessary codes that are part of the codes for billing. The job requires detailed knowledge of many different codes that are used by various health care agencies and health insurance companies.

Creating claims codes involves understanding the terminology used in medical billing. Each code has specific requirements for how a procedure should be billed. This career requires certification, with numerous specializations to focus on that will increase your salary, so you should start by learning how to get a medical billing and coding certification.

Medical coders are trained to recognize the common terms that must be used in order to correctly classify patient encounters. They are required to be able to identify the codes that can be coded and identify how much they should cost for the procedure. The total billed amount for a patient encounter is then reported to the insurance company, which deducts the amount from the patient’s account.

Why You Should Consider a Career in Medical Coding

Medical coding is a well-paying career option with a high demand for skilled employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average hourly wage for medical coders is $21.75 per hour, depending on location and experience. This is similar to the average hourly wages of many other technical jobs in the healthcare industry.

Becoming a medical coder doesn’t require a college degree, although employers will typically require post-secondary certification, and some also require an Associate’s degree. This works in your favor if you’re attending a college that offers a medical coding program, as these certification programs can often be completed in less than a year.

Here are some of the great benefits of a medical coding and billing career:

1: Great Employment Opportunities

Medical coders are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for medical coders is expected to grow 9% by 2030. Healthcare leaders are in the midst of a technology transition, which is resulting in a huge need for qualified medical coders.

While the job involves the use of computers, medical coding is not at severe risk of being replaced by AI. Artificial intelligence can help medical coders review and decipher patient encounters more efficiently, and it can help to speed up the time to billing. However, it does not replace the need for skilled employees.

2: Great Potential Pay

The average annual salary for a medical coding job is around $44,000, according to the BLS.

Medical coders can also specialize in different fields to obtain higher salary potential. Not all medical coders have to do every type of coding, as some have advanced degrees and specializations that can increase their income potential. These specializations and their average salary include:

  • Certified Documentation Expert Outpatient (CDEO) – $69,029 per year
  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) – $61,379 per year
  • Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC) – $61,295 per year
  • Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) – $59,129 per year

3: Increasingly Remote Work Environment

If you’re after a career that offers remote work opportunities, medical coding may be for you.

Medical coding can be one of the easiest jobs to find remote work through various companies, whether as an independent contractor or an employee. There are also opportunities for freelance medical coding on job sites like Upwork. However, it should be noted that freelance medical coders earn less on average than salaried employees.