Medical billers and coders assign codes to medical procedures and diagnoses to record in patient profiles. This position also calls for billing insurance companies or individual patients and following up on collection, if necessary. Since the position involves knowledge of medical terminology and specialized coding systems, medical billers and coders often seek certification to maximize their earning potential. An entry-level medical biller and coder may earn less to start, however, since the position is often learned through on-the-job training and certification eligibility requires two years of experience.
Starting Hourly Rate
According to PayScale.com, you can expect to enter this occupation earning about $10.75 per hour to start. However, even though this figure reflects entry-level wage for workers with less than one year of experience, it’s also based on survey data collected from individuals with certification in this field. This means that you might start out at a slightly lower hourly rate without certification, although location and the type of facility or institution that employs you may also make a difference. Certification programs are open to candidates with at least two years of experience on the job.
Although the terms “medical biller” and “medical coder” are well known in the medical services industry, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies medical billers and coders into the category of “medical records and health information technicians” to gather and distribute occupational data. According to the BLS, more than 170,500 people found employment in this category in 2009, earning a median hourly wage of $15.04. The mean hourly wage and annual salary was $16.29 and $33,880, respectively.
Employment by Industry
The BLS indicates that the majority of medical billers and coders employed in 2009 found work in hospitals (63,620), physicians’ offices (42,490), nursing home facilities (13,260), outpatient care centers and federal agencies. The highest paying industry in this group was the federal executive branch, in which medical billers and coders earned a mean hourly rate of $21.29 and a salary of $45,120 annually.
Highest Paying Industries
According to BLS data, the highest paying industries for medical coders and billers in 2009 were pharmaceutical manufacturing, with the average hourly rate at $29.43, professional business organizations, $22.05, federal executive branch, $21.69, support services, $21.28, and research and development services, $20.22.