If you attend a quality medical billing school, then - more than likely - they should have a career placement office to help you find a medical billing and coding job close to you. These schools can't promise you a job, but if they do a good job they should at least provide you an internship opportunity to get hands-on experience in an actual medical billing and coding office.
Most medical billing careers for people begin after graduating from a medical billing school. Upon graduation, many beginning professionals start by working in a local medical billing or health care office. Graduates can choose to work in either the medical billing career field or medical coding. It's not just young graduates. The medical billing and coding industry is becoming a haven for many displaced workers changing careers from other industries. There are some major differences between the career fields, so let's discuss each career briefly:
The medical coder career field is perfect for someone who wants a job analyzing data and thinking about how to code various items. The medical coder spends most of his or her time assigning codes for various medical procedures. Every medical diagnosis or procedure within the health care industry must be assigned a proper code so that the provider can file for reimbursement from an insurance company. Medical coders can work in doctors' offices, hospitals or other health care offices. Some medical coders can work for agencies that take work from nearby medical clinics that outsource the work to them.
The medical billing career is perfect for those who enjoy dealing with people, because much of the time can be dedicated to talking with insurance companies and patients. The goal is to help make sure the medical billing process runs smoothly. Medical billing jobs can be held within a health care facility or in an agency-type setting away from patients and doctors.
Even though there are two distinct medical billing career paths, some professionals can choose to work in a blended job where they spend some time performing the functions of a medical biller and coder. Graduates of a good medical billing and coding school will have the skills to perform either function. It really depends on what types of jobs are available in the area.
Demand for qualified medical billers is closely associated with an aging population and changes in medical technology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 179,500 medical insurance billers and coders (also called medical records and health information technicians) were employed as recently as 2010.* The majority of these job openings were provided by hospitals, but medical billers and coders also work in varied health care facilities such as doctors' offices, outpatient care centers and more.
There are many scams today offering work-at-home medical billing jobs. Some of these ads promise thousands of dollars a month by simply working at home. Unfortunately, most of these companies are advertising fraudulent information about the field.
It's actually very difficult to work from home as a medical biller. It often takes a medical billing professional years of experience working in a medical office before being able to establish a client base to go solo. Whatever you do, don't fall for these scams. Make sure you take the time to investigate any medical billing program before joining and find out what types of jobs are available in your area. If you choose to work from home, be smart about how you set up your practice and seek the guidance of others who have worked in the industry while working from home.
Please make sure to investigate your local market to see if there is demand for medical billers prior to joining a school. You want to make sure the skills you learn are applicable to the area you live in. Even though the medical billing career field might be booming in one area, it can be very slow in others. Do the research, and you'll be much happier. Best of luck in your new medical billing career field!
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm (visited July 30, 2012. Publish Date: Thursday, March 29, 2012.)