Medical billing & coding specialists perform administrative tasks (e.g. scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding for insurance purposes) and certain clinical duties (e.g. taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood) under the direction of a physician.
Starting salary range
Starting medical billing & coding specialist salaries range from $9.96/hour (Ohio) to $14.41/hour (California)*.
A medical billing & coding specialist's median salary is $31,836 and maximum medical billing & coding specialist salaries top out at over $37,000**. Larger institutions tend to pay more than smaller practices, according to Payscale's Median Salary by Company Size Charts.
Opportunities for advancement
Medical billing & coding specialists can advance to supervisory or managerial roles through experience. In private practices, medical billing and coding specialists can advance to office management and administrative roles. Others advance by teaching medical billing & coding courses. Medical billing & coding specialists with a few years of experience can consult or contract. Some will consult or contract full time, while others pick up additional shifts as supplemental income. Typically hourly consulting/contracting can be higher paying alternatives, though those options often don't include benefits. Others may move to health care accounting/finance roles by earning a bachelors or masters degree. There are also opportunities for medical billing and coding specialists to advance to insurance companies, especially those who have earned at least a 4 year degree.
Benefits and perks
Health care, paid time off, pension, education reimbursement, sick days, insurance, bonus, and taxes increase the total compensation package by an average 32.9%**, bringing the median total medical billing & coding specialist compensation to $47,412.
Salary negotiation tips
Negotiating salary can be tricky. Large institutions (hospitals, government health agencies, or private companies), typically set up a salary range (or salary band), so the organization will have a little room to move on salaries (about 5-10%). Smaller organizations are less likely to have as much wiggle room on salary. Either way, don't expect an employer to give you a higher salary just because you ask. Instead, prepare a well documented justification and stay within the organization's salary range for the specific position so you'll have a good chance at getting the salary increase you're targeting.
Your greatest ability to negotiate salary is when you have options. Interview with a number of hospitals, private practices, federal/state/local government health agencies, universities, Veterans Administration, and private companies. In addition, do your homework – get salary information online with AOL Jobs Salary Center or from staffing and recruiting firms in your industry. Sometimes just having research on average salaries for your local market may provide rationale for a higher salary.
* According to www.payscale.com.
** According to www.salary.com