What Does It Take to Become a Medical Billing Specialist?
The medical field holds countless opportunities for exciting careers – but what many people don’t know is that you don’t need to attend medical school to work in a doctor’s office.
If you’re looking for a career that offers plenty of potential and allows you to start working and earning money quickly, consider becoming a medical billing specialist. Here’s what you need to know in order to start this exciting new career.
Medical Billing Specialists: A First Step Into the Medical Field
Becoming a medical billing specialist opens you to a world of different career opportunities, tasks, and challenges. Medical billing specialists, which are also known as medical billing clerks, handle the payments and processing for doctors and patients.
A medical billing specialist is like the go-between for the doctor. They’re the individual who communicates with insurance companies, sends bills to patients, prepares invoices, and codes medical procedures. And these clerks can work in any kind of medical setting, from hospitals to clinics to private practices.
While medical billing specialists don’t work directly with patients or perform any medical procedures, they are an integral part of any doctor’s office or medical setting. Though they typically work normal business hours, medical billing specialists may have a more flexible or a busier schedule, picking up evening or weekend hours.
Medical Billing Specialists Don’t Need a Degree
If you’d like to become a medical billing specialist but are worried you don’t have the education you’ll need to get a job, there’s nothing to worry about – you’ll just need a bit of schooling. And you can begin working as soon as you complete the classes you need!
According to Study.com, there’s no degree required to become a medical billing specialist. Though having an associate’s degree can give you an advantage and more experience, you aren’t required to earn a degree of any kind to work as a medical billing specialist – and certifications are optional too.
All you’ll need to get started as a medical billing specialist or clerk is to take classes in the basic skills and knowledge required for this position. You can take classes at a local community college, university, or even online. You’ll learn how to perform the role of a medical billing specialist, taking classes in insurance billing, medical terminology, and coding for medical procedures.
You Can Start Work As Soon As You Have Experience
Once you’ve taken the classes you need to learn the basics of medical billing, you’ll need to get a bit of on-the-job experience. Study.com explains that employers in the medical field look for medical billing specialists who have work experience on their resume – which means you’ll want to work in the field as an intern or part-time employee in order to increase your odds of being hired.
Another way you can get experience in medical billing and prove your value and knowledge to employers is by getting certified.
In addition to basic classes that teach the ins and outs of medical billing, many people choose to earn a voluntary certification or license from the American Academy of Professional Coders, which is the organization responsible for certifying medical billing specialists. These certifications show you have experience and in-depth knowledge, and you can even develop specializations like medical auditing, medical compliance, and physician practice managing, which could make you a great fit for more specialized or specific jobs.
Job Outlook and Job Security Are Strong
Once you’ve studied the material, gained on-the-job experience, and potentially earned a certification or license, you’re ready to maximize the full potential of a career in medical billing. This is a field that offers plenty of opportunities and chances to advance, and the job outlook is strong.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical billing and coding specialists are in demand – and through 2026, the demand for medical billing experts is expected to grow 13 percent. This is faster than the average growth rate for all jobs, meaning there will be many opportunities and options for those who become medical billing specialists.
And that increasing demand ensures you’ll be able to find work with some ease. InnerBody.com reports that more people are going to be in need of medical care in the coming years, which will result in an increasing need for additional medical billing specialists. As the population ages, you’ll play an important role and be needed in your field.
In addition to the great outlook for basic medical billing positions, you’ll also be able to advance your career. Though many medical billing specialists start out in entry-level positions, there’s the potential to be promoted, take on more responsibility, and even gain more education in order to work in different areas of the field. All of these factors can offer you increasing opportunities in your career.
Medical Billing Specialists Can Earn Over $50,000 Per Year
Of course, one of the most important factors in deciding whether or not medical billing is the right career for you is determining the pay rate. Fortunately, the average salary for a medical billing specialist is competitive.
According to InnerBody.com, your potential salary as a medical billing specialist depends on where you work – for example, medical billing clerks in California make an average of $41,240 per year while those in Pennsylvania make an average of $36,470 annually. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the average salary for medical billing specialists is $36,150 per year, and those with additional experience or certifications can earn an average of $52,150 annually.
So, your path as a medical billing specialist will help shape your salary. With more experience and new, challenging positions on your resume, your earning potential could increase.
And if you’re ready to explore the possibility of becoming a medical billing specialist, you can get started right now. You can take classes and begin learning the basics online, right from your computer at home. With just a few classes, you can begin your new career and start working in medical settings like doctor’s offices and hospitals.