Are you looking to enter the healthcare support field? Are you already working in healthcare but ready to branch out? If so, earning an online Medical Billing and Coding Associate’s degree can help get you there.
The healthcare industry itself is one of the top employers in the country, and there is no sign of it slowing down in terms of needs for new medical billing and coding professionals. With your Associate’s degree, you’ll become a part of a healthcare team providing top-notch services to patients, practitioners, clinics, hospitals, and insurance companies alike.
The Associate’s degree itself will provide a solid foundation of the type of knowledge needed to successfully land a job and to also excel at it. Skills you will learn will most likely include:
- medical terminology
- medical and insurance coding
- medical billing techniques
- healthcare records management
- patient confidentiality
- healthcare communications
- medical ethics and law
- insurance procedures and claim processing techniques
Medical billing and medical coding are closely related but often seen as two different jobs. Medical coding focuses more on the identifying of treatments and services performed by a healthcare provider and assigning specific coding to each one. Medical billing uses this coding to prepare, submit, and follow-up on claims to insurance companies.
With an Associate’s degree that combines both medical billing and medical coding, your career options will be doubly enhanced. While many certificate programs offer one or the other as a specialty, combining the two provides you with more in-depth knowledge, and more options to set you out on a successful career path.
According to the office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, which includes Medical Coders and Billers, are set to grow faster than average at least through 2028, and possibly beyond.
Healthcare continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries, and healthcare administration support positions such as these are a big part of that. You don’t have to provide the hands-on patient care in order to be part of the medical field. Instead, you can thrive in the healthcare industry with a specialty in medical billing and coding.
There are various healthcare settings in which you can use your degree and new skills to the fullest. These include:
- outpatient care facilities
- doctor’s offices
- rehabilitation centers
- nursing care facilities
- local health departments
- medical accounting offices
- legal offices specializing in the medical field
- healthcare software developer companies
- medical auditing consultants or companies
- independent third-party billing companies
You can easily transfer your skills to different healthcare settings as you move along your career path, taking the knowledge with you wherever you go.
With an Online Medical Billing and Coding Associate’s degree, you are not tied to any one job title, but instead, have several options available. Each one will vary when it comes to job responsibilities, but all will involve the skills you acquire during your studies and training.
Examples of these various available job opportunities and titles include:
- Medical Coding Specialist
- Medical Billing Specialist or Associate
- Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
- Medical Records Technician
- Medical Records Coordinator
- Health Information Technologist
- Insurance Company Liaison
- Government-run Medicare and Medicaid Liaison
- Medical Billing Specialist
- Healthcare Software Coder
You also have the option to specialize in one area of healthcare, such as geriatrics, pediatrics, gynecology/obstetrics, oncology, or orthopedics. You can work for ophthalmologists, neurologists, or dozens of other specialists.
There’s no need to stop there either. If you choose, you can also continue to build your career and increase your level of responsibilities in a healthcare establishment. This may be as a supervisor, manager, or internal auditor.
Another consideration is to work from home as an independent contractor or start your own business offering your skills to various healthcare facilities and offices. Working remotely has gained in popularity and widely accepted by more and more employers. As long as you have access to high-speed internet, a secure connection so you can remain in compliance with the privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and self-discipline and commitment, you can be successful.
If you’re looking for a career in the healthcare industry offering job security and upward mobility, medical billing and coding may be the perfect fit for you. As the demand for these positions continues to grow, an Online Medical Billing and Coding Associate’s degree will set you on a career path of your own making wherever you are or choose to go.