Medical Billing: 4 Reasons to Take a Shot at this Career

The health care industry is growing, generating serious job potential for anyone smart enough to ride that wave. (Thank you, baby boomers!) Not sure you are a scrubs kind of person? Fear not: There are a number of medical careers that require little to no actual patient care, like medical billing and coding. Sure, "I'm a medical billing and coding specialist" is a mouthful, but the field's perks more than make up for a little tongue tie. Here are just a few of them.

1. It has potential.

When you put time and money into your education, you want it to lead somewhere. By earning a degree in billing and coding, you are stacking the deck in your favor. A growing population combined with medical advances that keep our tickers ticking longer have increased demand for medical services across the board, and that spells job security for medical billers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for these professionals is projected to grow by an impressive 20 percent in the decade before 2018. The same report notes that employers usually prefer applicants who know their way around a computer; online medical billing and coding degrees are an excellent way to establish this technical know-how.

2. It is a relatively quick-entry career.

Medical billers and coders go to school to learn their trade, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a two-year associate degree is usually sufficient. Accelerated and online billing degrees are a particularly convenient way to get this training, especially if you have other professional or family obligations to tend to. Once you have a degree under your belt, consider boosting your employment stock even more by becoming certified through a professional group like the American Academy of Professional Coders, the Board of Medical Specialty Coding or the Professional Association of Health care Coding Specialists.

3. It travels well.

Are you a mover and a shaker? A military spouse? Just want to get the heck out of Dodge? Medical billing and coding could enable your transient ways. Virtually everyone needs medical attention at some point in their lives no matter where they live, which means you can find a hospital, a physicians' office or a specialty clinic (i.e. potential employers) almost anywhere. Won't your pro scuba diver of a cousin be jealous?

4. It's getting easier.

Computers have revolutionized the workplace, and this is especially apparent in the medical coding and billing field where snazzy computer programs have replaced mountains of tedious paperwork. The benefit of this is two-fold: First, it is just plain easier to manage coding and billing functions digitally. Second, careers that rely heavily on computers have serious work-from-home potential. Just be careful: The Bureau of Consumer Protection warns that while there are many legitimate home-based medical billing businesses, some companies that offer to help you establish yours don't have your best interests at heart. Consult with your state's Attorney General's office or any of the professional organization listed above before doing business with any third party.

A healthy career starts in the classroom

The medical billing and coding field may have its share of perks, but the ability to land a job without an iota of training is not one of them. As we mentioned above, you will need an associate degree to get your foot in the door, and certification on the side never hurts. Online billing or medical records degrees are a convenient way to get the training you need to break into this promising field, even if you already have a full-time gig. Programs tend to vary, however so research a number of options before choosing that one that suits you best.

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