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Thread Topic: What is starting and later wage in this field and training.
Topic Originator: anne1
Post Date August 1, 2006 @ 6:57 PM
What is starting and later wage in this field and training.

August 1, 2006 @ 6:57 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I have been skimming posts and see a couple of people had given the wage of $10 to $11 an hour for pay.

A Jr. college in IL is just starting a 1 1/2 year certificate program in "Medical Billing & Coding".  They state that the starting wage is "$13 per hour to $50,000 or more a year but also say that ". However, a firm grasp of coding is necessary in many other capacities, some of which are legitimate home-based businesses such as electronic claims submissions for billing firms. These people make as much as $50,000 a year. "  It sounded good to me but after reading this forum it sounds like much like mostly hype now.  Here are the courses that they have for the program.

Recommended Sequence of Courses  

Semester 1 Medical Terminology I  
Semester 2 Medical Terminology II
Medical Coding I
Pharmacology & Lab Medicine
Semester 3 Health Insurance Billing
Medical Coding II
Medical Office Procedures

and then also recommend "Courses for familiarity with the computer are suggested as electives. Examples of such coursework inclcude Intermediate Keyboarding, Microsoft Word I and II, Introduction to Microcomputers, or similar courses."

What does this program and info. sound like to others.

Thank you.

August 1, 2006 @ 7:51 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

The coursework sounds very good.  I always recommend a good junior college course over any other, if you have access.

As far as how much you'll make, that will vary widely.  In my region of the US, the $10-11 is a little high for a starting salary.  Also, you very often have to start out in something "related" such as data entry or reception and work your way up because, contrary to what a lot of schools will tell you, billing/coding is NOT a growing industry.  

The $50k is certainly possible, but very few will ever make that unless they (1) have gone on to attain a four-year degree and/or have decades of experience.  Again, that will vary according to the region you live in.

If you decide to stick with strictly coding, the $50k figure will be more easily attainable, if you are a competent coder.  Coding is difficult and not everyone can do it.

Another thing that will affect your compensation is the environment you're in - physician billing services tend to pay the least, and specialty in-house billers/coders tend the receive the best compensation.  But beware - although hospital coders are usually well-paid, their billing brethren often aren't.  There is a hospital here that pays a coder with 5 years' experience about $20/hour - but a biller with similar experience will receive less than half that.

Now, let's address this:
"some of which are legitimate home-based businesses such as electronic claims submissions for billing firms."

Either this is a come-on, or this blurb was written by someone who doesn't understand how things work.  Billing services would never have any need to outsource their electronic functions since this is essentially "pushing a button".  ECS is not a separate, outsourceable  function, it is an integral function.  Also, very few billing services have remote employees.  Even though the billing services themselves are remote, it's just not feasible to have their employees remote to them most of the time.  I'm not saying it's not an impossible scenario - I'm just saying it's so rare it wouldn't even deserve mention in a course description.  And I have never heard of any billing service paying anyone in the $50k range except for the executives!

August 1, 2006 @ 8:18 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Thank you for your imput.   It sounds like coding is the area to work towards for better pay.  Where are most coders employed.  Hospitals, offices, or etc.?   Is there a place on the web where I could see what coding samples look like?  One other question is that is this mainly full time work or are there many part time jobs available.  I am an artist looking for a backup and more reliable job to just selling my art work.  Any other ideas are welcome too.  Thanks!

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