What Is the Average Salary of a Medical Billing Specialist?

Medical billing specialists work with computer-based billing systems in a medical or office setting. Read on to find out how average salaries in this field can depend on the place where you work, your experience and certification status. Schools offering Insurance Billing & Coding Specialist degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

A medical billing specialist (also called a medical coder or medical records technician) organizes a patient's medical procedures into a special code that can be used for billing and hospital reimbursements. With the growing complexity of health insurance policies and government health programs, medical billing specialists will be in growing need. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects medical records and health information technician employment to grow at a fast rate of 15% over the 2014-2024 period (www.bls.gov).

Important Facts About Medical Billing Specialists

Required Education Associate's degree or post-secondary certificate
Key Skills Analytical and critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail, computer competency, excellent spoken and written communication
Work Environment Hospitals; physicians offices; nursing care facilities; administrative and support services; professional, scientific, and technical services
Similar Occupations Information clerks; medical transcriptionists; medical and health services managers

Salary Overview

The BLS listed the mean salary for all types of medical records and health information technicians at $38,860 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). PayScale.com listed the median salary of a medical billing specialist at $34,702 as of September 2015, with most salaries ranging from $24,285-$41,713. The income you can make can be affected by your place of work, your experience and your certification.

Income Based on Employer

According to the BLS, the majority of medical records and health information technicians in May 2014 worked at hospitals and physicians' offices. Hospitals paid a higher-than-average yearly wage of $41,350, while physicians' offices paid a lower annual salary of $33,910, reported the BLS. The field that offered the most competitive average salary at that time was the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry, which paid professionals a mean income of $50,170 per year. Drugs and druggists' sundries merchant wholesalers had the second highest average pay of $49,520.

Income Based on Location

The BLS reported that five states employing the most medical records and health information technicians in May 2014 were California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and New York. Workers in these states earned average wages of $45,380, $37,560, $37,760, $38,230 and $42,250, respectively. Of these five states, California was also listed as having one of the highest average wages in the country. Other states with the highest average wages in May 2014 included the District of Columbia ($69,100), New Jersey ($59,740), Hawaii ($46,350) and Maryland ($45,670). Workers in the lowest-paying states averaged $22,510-$34,730 in a year, and some of these locations were Montana, West Virginia, New Mexico, Arkansas, Idaho and Alabama.

Income Based on Experience

If you're wondering how your experience level will influence your salary, PayScale.com reported that most medical billing specialists with 0-5 years of experience earned $21,984-$37,913 per year as of September 2015, while most workers with 5-10 years of work experience made $25,500-$41,423. Those with 10-20 years of medical billing experience earned $26,658-$44,689, while specialists with over 20 years of experience made $28,235-$48,064.

Income Based on Certification

A medical billing specialist job usually requires you to earn an associate's degree, according to the BLS. If you also earn a certification, you might be able to increase your salary. PayScale.com reported that medical billing specialists with medical billing and coding certification made a median wage of $35,595 in September 2015.

If you wish to become a Certified Professional Coder (CPC), the American Academy of Professional Coders reported that you must typically hold two years of medical coding experience, pass a comprehensive exam, complete continuing education courses and renew your membership each year (www.aapc.com).

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