5 Most Popular Medical Billing and Coding Positions

Medical billing and coding is a growing field that offers great opportunities for those who are well-qualified. Being well-qualified means being certified in your area of expertise, often through an accredited training program that leads to testing in your particular field.

Certification is very important and shows employers that you are well-trained and serious about your profession.

There are several types of jobs in the medical billing and coding field. The five most popular are listed below, along with some information about how to become proficient in these fields and what the job outlook is for each area.

The Occupational Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics groups all medical billers and coders into a category called “medical records and health information technicians.” This is the broad classification for every type of medical biller and coder, including the ones below.

The BLS states that these jobs are expected to grow by 21 percent over the next decade, much faster than the 14 percent job growth rate for all occupations on average.

1) Medical billing clerk. This is an entry-level position that combines customer service with hands-on applications of medical billing principles. Most medical billing clerks have less training than a medical billing specialist, and they deal with customers more often.

Most medical billing clerk positions can be obtained without certification, but candidates often have some type of secretarial training from a vocational school.

2) Medical billing specialist. Although a medical billing clerk may eventually become a medical billing specialist, most people who hold this position have certification from the American Medical Billing Association, an organization that administers standardized tests to gauge proficiency.

Medical billing specialists handle the more intricate tasks of evaluating and administering billing policies and are experts at identifying problem areas with a practice’s billing procedures. Medical billing specialists usually have training from a specific program that leads to testing and certification in this area.

3) Medical coding specialist. Unlike a medical billing specialist, medical coding specialists handle the coding of bills for presentation to an insurance company or the government for payment. Medical coding specialists often work under the supervision of a medical billing specialist, although some medical coding specialists manage their own work or that of others.

Medical coders are trained to understand the numerous codes that are used to submit bills to insurance companies; often they have taken coursework in this area to help them understand the sometimes complex procedures of coding. Medical coding specialists are often certified in particular areas of expertise.

Although there is a certification test for general medical coding known as the CPC® or Certified Professional Coder exam, there are also specialized coding tests in various areas of practice that medical coding specialists may elect to take to broaden their skills and employment possibilities.

4) Medical auditing specialist. In large practices and hospitals, it is often wise to have a specialist who checks on the validity of coding and billing practice. This person is known as a medical auditor. The medical auditing specialist can take a special certification exam to show proficiency in the field known as the CPMA® or Certified Professional Medical Auditor exam.

A professional medical auditor is tasked with oversight of all the coding and billing that leaves an office. The medical auditing specialist is looking for mistakes in coding, but is also looking for codes that do not go together or tests that were run out of sequence according to the insurance company’s rules.

A good medical auditing specialist can save a doctor’s office or hospital thousands of dollars each year by finding problems before they are sent to an insurance company or the government.

5) Clinical data specialist. A clinical data specialist is also a type of auditor who focuses on computer-generated data that is used in the practice. This person attempts to verify that all the medical coding and billing information that is given to the doctor or to the medical coding specialists and medical billing specialists is accurate.

This job is very important in a hospital or large practice where there is a high volume of patient activity. The more coding and billing that must be done, the greater the possibility of error in entering or handling the information. Therefore, a clinical data specialist is a valuable member of the medical information management team.

No matter what type of job may interest you in the medical information management field, you can find an accredited training program immediately. Visit our “Schools” page for information about schools in your area or those with online programs to get you started on your new medical information management career.

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