As the name suggests, medical billing specialists are responsible for processing bills. They review patient records to calculate charges and prepare billing statements that are later to be mailed to patients. If questions arise from certain line items, these are the people that patients usually speak to for resolution.
In 2012, billing clerks brought home an average of $34,540 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those working specifically for hospitals earned closer to $34,350 annually. This was an increase of nearly 2 percent from the previous year, when salaries averaged at $33,840. A survey by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a national recruiter, provides slightly higher figures for medical billers, with starting salaries of anywhere from $36,000 to $48,000 a year, as of 2014.
As with most jobs, earnings can vary by location. In Denver, Colorado, for example, salaries are almost 3 percent higher than the national average. So, medical billers could expect to start at $37,008 to $49,344 a year. Those working in Minneapolis, Minnesota, earn almost 6 percent more than the national average, bringing salaries up to $37,980 to $50,640 a year. Workers in Phoenix, Arizona, also fare better than most, earning 8 percent more than the national average. In this area, medical billing salaries ranged from $38,880 to $51,840. The same, however, can’t be said for those in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where salaries are reportedly 15 percent less than the national average. As of 2014, medical billers in this area could earn $30,600 to $40,800.
According to recruiters at Robert Half, medical billers can improve their salaries by 5 to 10 percent by earning professional certifications. The American Academy of Professional Coders offers a Certified Professional Biller, or CPB, designation. The only requirements for this designation are a membership with the AAPC and a passing grade on the exam. However, AAPC does recommend applicants hold an associate degree in the field. With a CPB designation, salaries increase to anywhere from $37,800 to $52,800 a year.
The BLS expects employment opportunities for financial clerks, which includes medical billers, to be favorable, with an average job growth rate of 20 percent between 2010 and 2020. By comparison, this is faster than the national average of 14 percent for all U.S. occupations. With over 95,000 billing clerks working in physician offices and another 48,000 working for hospitals, the 20 percent growth should equate to more than 28,500 new jobs at these employers alone. Expect additional opportunities to develop as medical billers retire or leave the field.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Financial Clerks
- U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012: Billing and Posting Clerks
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011: Billing and Posting Clerks
- Robert Half Finance & Accounting: 2014 Salary Guide
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