How to Get Started with Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding can be a great career choice for those looking for employment in the healthcare industry. It’s anticipating an 8% employment increase over the next eight years. It offers a great degree of workplace flexibility, low stress, and great starting pay. But entering a new job field isn’t without its challenges. Here’s a few tips to help you get started.

Earn the Proper Education

Becoming a medical billing and coding specialist requires enrolling in a specific degree program. For some, they expect to be altering their work and home lives to accommodate a fixed class schedule. Others might anticipate taking at least two or three years to finish their program before they can begin working. Fortunately, this is not the case with medical billing and coding. 

Many billing and coding programs are designed with the working professional in mind. Often, these programs allow students to obtain their medical billing and coding degree online, giving working students the freedom and flexibility to learn around their hectic work schedules and family obligations. And often, these programs can be completed in less than two years, enabling students to break into the field as quickly as possible. This can take even less time for those enrolled in a diploma program, which often take just under a year to complete. All these learning options allow you to work towards a rewarding new career, all without having to change everything already on your schedule. 

Become More Competitive with Certifications

In the current job market, the right certifications can do a world of good for job seekers. Depending on an employer’s needs, certain certificates can drastically increase your chances of getting the job. And if you’re looking to advance in your current career, or transition to a new career altogether, some certifications can earn you a hefty increase in your salary!

Earning your degree or diploma in medical billing and coding is more than enough to land an entry-level billing and coding job. But there are a number of certifications a billing and coding specialist could earn to further their career and stand out in the job market. Some good options to begin with include the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) certifications. There are also certifications for more specialized work, such as medical auditing or outpatient care, offering even more chances to advance your career. 

Find Work Online

For most Americans, finding a new job means searching and applying online. Looking for a medical billing and coding job is no exception. Many job postings for medical billing and coding experts can be found on job listing sites like Indeed and Monster. In addition to checking the standard job boards, you can check the websites for hospitals and universities in your area (or elsewhere if you’re looking for an opportunity elsewhere). 

But it’s important to keep in mind that not every job will have the exact “Medical Biller and Coder” job title. Other possible job titles include:

  • Medical Records Coordinator
  • Health Information Specialist
  • Medical Records Technician
  • Health Information Clerk

These are just a few possible alternate job titles you may come across in your search for a coding and billing job. It’s also important to remember that you will likely come across many job postings for either billing OR coding. And when in doubt, it never hurts to check the job description to ensure your skills match those required for the job. 

You may also find many job postings for remote positions. Given that billing and coding tasks are all performed with computers and require no patient interaction, it’s becoming much more common for coding and billing specialists to work remotely. But depending on the employer’s requirements, you shouldn’t expect to go remote right away. Some employers may want billing and coding specialists to work on-site at the beginning of their employment to ensure they can accomplish their work in a timely manner. 

Consider Freelancing

2020 saw over 59 million Americans freelancing in some capacity.  While there’s a common conception of freelancers struggling to make ends meet, many find they have greater job security finding their own clients. Freelancing may not be easy in the beginning, it offers numerous benefits for the right person. Many freelancers enjoy a greater degree of freedom regarding their location and work schedule. They may also enjoy a better overall work-life balance. And many freelancers appreciate not having a salary cap, meaning freelancers can earn more money than their salaried peers.

Considering how easy it is for billing and coding specialists to conduct their business remotely, medical billing and coding could make for a perfect freelance career. While not always the most lucrative, sites like Upwork and Fiverr can offer a good starting point for those looking to build up their own freelance practice. For the right self-motivated and independent individual, freelancing billing and coding work could easily become a lucrative and rewarding career path.