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Medical Billing and Coding Schools and Programs

Begin a great career in the health care industry as a medical billing and coding professional. Earn your degree today to embark on a new career as a medical biller.

Medical Billing and Coding Overview

In a wintry economic climate, steady office jobs with respectable pay and fertile employment opportunities may seem little more attainable than a winning lottery ticket. The occupation of medical billing and coding specialists, however, emerges as a shining exception to the bear market rule: employees in this field enjoy 40-hour work weeks, clean offices, and good earnings. Perhaps the best news of all, demand for health care coders is high. Medical coders ensure that health care providers are reimbursed for their services. Relying on their deep knowledge bank of disease processes, health care insurance coders assign to each diagnosis and procedure a code, allowing them to place a patient in one of many hundred ""diagnosis-related groups"" (DRGs). The DRG determines how much a health care facility will be reimbursed by a patient's insurance provider.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) findings indicate rapid growth for medical billers and coders. An expected employment increase of 18 percent in the 2006-2016 decade should create a wealth of new jobs in order to fill the demand created by an aging population and closer scrutiny of medical procedures by health insurance companies. BLS research from May 2008 reports that medical billing and coding specialists earn a mean annual wage of $32,960.

Educational Requirements for Medical Billers and Coders

The most common educational path for health care billers and coders involves obtaining an associate degree from a community college, where students learn medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, statistics, and computer science. The BLS notes that most employers prefer to hire applicants who pass an exam to become Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT). When considering schools, take care to select one that offers a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM); only graduates of these programs are eligible to take the exam.