Medical Billing and Coding Salary

Find out what the medical billing and coding salary range is. Use our handy salary calculator to see what medical coding salaries and medical billing salaries for your location. Learn the factors that determine medical billing and coding salaries.

There are a few good sources for credible and accurate salary information for medical billing and coding - the U. S. Labor Department, AAPC, and dedicated salary websites like Salary.com or PayScale.com.

We've also started our own salary survey to get a more accurate info on those in our field - and to give you another reference point. We've gotten great response and appreciate all of those who have contributed.

Here's our medical billing and coding salary survey results. Please consider contributing as it only takes a minute.

Medical billing and coding salaries are determined by several factors:

  • Location – area of the country and whether you are in a rural or metro city.
  • Years of experience
  • Education
  • Credentials and certifications
  • Specialization in a particular area of medicine. Knowing the unique coding and billing requirements of certain specialties is valuable.
  • Type of employer – hospital, private practice, clinic, nursing facility, research, etc.
  • Size of employer.
  • Availability of medical billing specialists and medical coders in your area – basic supply and demand.
  • How bad do they need good help. If the billing or coding has been neglected for some time, a practice can be desperate to get someone hired and get claims filed. This can give a good medical biller or coder an advantage in negotiating pay – especially if you have a good reputation or recommendation

Remember to consider benefits when searching for a job – this is another form of medical billing and coding salary compensation:

  • Vacation and sick leave. Also do they have time off for family dependent care?
  • Education assistance.
  • Work schedule and location flexibility – do they allow you to do medical billing or medical coding from home?
  • Retirement and employer match of 401(k).
  • Bonuses
  • Cost of health insurance – this is a big expense for both the employer and employee. Also consider vision and dental. Most dental insurance doesn't cover much these days.

U. S. Bureau of Labor
The Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook classification that would include medical coders and medical billing specialists is the Medical Records and Health Information Technicians category. U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows a range between $22,250 and $56,200 which would include the medical billing and coding salary. These estimates are from the latest May 2012 data of the Occupational Outlook which provides an idea of medical billing and coding salaries by employer and industry.

Unfortunately the Occupational Outlook does not differentiate the medical billing salary from medical coding salaries. It considers both to be medical records and health information technicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics appears to combine similar occupations together into what is considered more like medical billing coding salaries. You would expect the medical coding salary to be on the higher end of this salary range since medical coders are more likely to have credentials and certifications which typically require more training.

Type of Employer
A breakdown of salary by type of employer reveals hospitals are the largest employers, followed by doctors offices, nursing care facilities, outpatient centers, and the federal government. The average wage by employer is:

  • Hospitals: $38,860
  • Physicians Office: $31,290
  • Nursing Care Facilities: $35,060
  • Outpatient Centers: $34,890
  • Home Health Services: $35,440
  • Federal Government: $46,280

The federal government medical billing and coding salary data may be an anomaly since there are not that many employed there compared to the other employers (5,260 out of 182,000). These are most likely employees who are very experienced and credentialed and work in metro areas (such as Washington DC) that would justify higher salaries.




Impact of Employer Size on Medical Billing and Coding Salary
As you can see there's a big difference between physician's offices and hospitals. Larger employers such as hospitals and nursing care facilities are on the higher end of the range for medical billing and coding salaries. The higher salaries would tend to reflect this.

Larger employers are more likely to offer better benefits than smaller employers - which most doctors offices with one or two providers would tend to be classified as. Larger employers such as hospitals will typically have more stringent certification, education, and experience requirements than smaller employers would.

Category of Healthcare Industry
The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers other interesting statistics that effect the medical billing and coding salary. When you look at the category of employer in the healthcare industry. Following are the top five paying industries and the average salary:

  • Pharmaceutical: $66,060
  • Scientific Research: $48,060
  • Insurance & Employee Benefits: $51,840
  • Federal Government: $46,280
  • Grantmaking & Giving: $46,840

What exactly “Grantmaking & Giving” are considered I couldn't tell from the bureau's data. However this category doesn’t employ many so the numbers may be hard to interpret. In fact none of these employee many people except the Federal government ~5200 people.

The interesting conclusion from this data is that larger employers, pharmaceutical, and professional/political employers pay the highest medical billing and coding salary. Remember though that these employers also are more likely to have higher standards for certification, education, and experience.

Medical Coding Salary
AAPC
Lets look specifically at salaries for just medical coders. A good source for this is the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) Medical Coding Salaries Survey. The AAPC is one of the most well known and respected coding professional organizations dedicated to providing education and professional certification to physician based coders.The AAPC conducts an annual survey of members that gives a very accurate picture of medical coding salaries. Here’s a summary of the latest survey:

The overall average salary for credentialed medical coders is just over $48,000. Both certified and non-certified coders averaged approximately $47,870 a year.

The CPMA (Certified Professional Medical Auditor) made the highest at just over $59,000 average.

Experience
Just over half of coders with 15 or more years of experience earned just over $60,000 a year on average. Those with 10-15 years experience made approximately $50,000 a year.

2-4 years experience averaged in the mid $30,000 range while 5-9 years experience is in the mid $40,000's.

Size of Employer
As we saw when looking at the Department of Labor medical billing and coding salary data, the AAPC salary info shows the opposite - that larger employers don't pay as well; Hospitals average just over $41,000. Large employers in general average $44,900 for a certified coder.

The medium practice is one of the best paying at about $50,000 while large group practices average in the mid $40,000's - between $44k and $46k. Solo or small practices have made a significant improvement from the last survey going from about $40,000 to about $47,000 a year.

Where You Live
The area of the U. S. in which you work also impacts the medical coding salary:

  • Northeast averages between $51,000 to 52,000
  • Midwest average between $44,000 to 45,000
  • South varies from $47,000 in Texas region to $41,000 in mid-South and $46,000+ in Atlantic South.
  • West coast averages almost $55,000
  • Mountain west averages $48,000

This is where the cost of living consideration with respect to the geographic area comes in. Where the medical coding salary is higher, the cost of living tends to be higher as well.

As AAPC data shows, medical coding salaries are still doing very well despite a slowly recovering economy and job prospects for other professions.

Source: AAPC

PayScale Salary Data
PayScale is a good online salary research tool that allows you to see salary info by profession. Use the salary calculator below to see medical billing and coding salary info for your location. In summary here’s the range for medical coding salary:

This is according to PayScale.com. This translates into a mid-point just over $40,000. The pay ranges reflected in this data is a national average and can vary widely depending on:

  • Years of experience
  • Whether you live in a metro or rural area
  • Area of Country (Northwest, Southeast, Pacific, etc.)
  • Employer size – Hospital or small practice
  • Level of Training
  • Certification

Medical Billing Salaries
Here’s the medical billing salary PayScale data for the medical billing specialist:

Median Salary by Years Experience - Job: Medical Billing Specialist (United States)Median Salary by Years Experience
Compare your salary: Get a free Salary Report

The medical billing clerk salary (below) - I would consider this someone less experienced in medical billing who performs more clerical duties and doesn’t have as in depth knowledge as the medical billing specialist. It may also be that PayScale has salaries provided under two different job descriptions instead of combining them:

Median Salary by Years Experience - Job: Medical Billing Clerk (United States)Median Salary by Years Experience
Compare your salary: Get a free Salary Report

Medical Billing and Coding Salary Calculator
Here's a handy calculator courtesy of PayScale:


Differences Between Salary Surveys
In researching the medical billing and coding salary range, I noticed it can vary widely depending on the source. According to to the job search site Indeed, the average salary range for medical billing specialist is $32,000 and for medical coders $41,000. This works out to between $15 and $20 an hour which is about what the Department of Labor and PayScale data shows above.

So use this data to get a general idea of the range to expect for medical coding salaries.

Negotiating Medical Billing and Coding Salary
Salary negotiation is one of those dreaded issues in the job hiring process - like buying a car. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when talking with a prospective employer about salary:

Don’t accept a job without knowing the salary. I know - this seems obvious but you wouldn’t believe how ofter this happens. Especially with those anxious to get a job.

Let the employer bring up discussion of salary. If its late in the interview process and the employer still hasn’t mentioned salary, politely ask what the salary range is or what they are offering for the position.

Even though you are anxious to know the max pay, try to discuss salary at the end of the interview process. I read advice from a seasoned career counselor recently who pointed out that the one who brings up a number first looses. When you do well in the interview they will feel like they must have you - and your value to them will be more. When you impress them they will most likely be willing to pay at the top of their range - than they were before the interview process.

If they ask what salary you expect early in the interview process or before interviewing try to defer by saying something like “I’d like to hear a little more about what the job involves before getting into the pay range if that’s OK.” If pressed for a salary give a salary range that’s in line with your requirements.

Know your worth. Research salaries for the job in your area so you get a good idea and basis for negotiations. Online salary resources like Salary.com, PayScale.com, and SalaryExpert.com are good free resources to research.

Salary negotiation is not rude - its something most employers expect. Just remember to be professional and diplomatic through the process.




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