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 22% over the 2012-2022 period (www.bls.gov).

Salary Overview

The BLS listed the mean salary for all types of medical records and health information technicians at $36,770 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). PayScale.com listed the median salary of a medical billing specialist at $31,478 as of January 2014, with most salaries ranging from $24,106-$41,259. 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 2012 worked at hospitals and physicians' offices. Hospitals paid a higher-than-average yearly wage of $38,860, while physicians' offices paid a lower annual salary of $31,290, 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 $66,060 per year. The insurance and employee benefit funds industry had the second highest average pay of $51,840.

Income Based on Location

The BLS reported that five states employing the most medical records and health information technicians in May 2012 were California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. Workers in these states earned average wages of $42,270, $36,000, $35,380, $40,300 and $36,510, 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 2012 included New Jersey ($55,130), the District of Columbia ($45,500), Hawaii ($42,500) and Colorado ($42,110). Workers in the lowest-paying states averaged $21,670-$32,720 in year, and some of these locations were North Dakota, 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 less than one year of experience earned $22,500-$39,153 per year as of January 2014, while most workers with 1-4 years of work experience made $22,098-$44,042. Those with 5-9 years of medical billing experience earned $24,295-$47,631, while specialists with 10-19 years of experience made $28,024-$47,551.

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 $32,211 in January 2014.

Medical billing specialists who earned their credential as a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) made $31,253-$58,500 as of January 2014, according to PayScale.com. If you wish to become a 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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