Welcome to the world of medical billing and coding! As a crucial member of the allied healthcare team, you’ll provide expert assistance to patients, insurance companies, and medical providers alike.
Before you become a certified billing and coding specialist, however, you’ll probably want to know what kind of salary you can expect.
To start your career off on the right foot, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about billing and coding salaries in New Jersey and its neighboring states– once you finish your medical billing and coding training program, that is!
Are Medical Billing and Coding Specialists the Same Thing?
In small offices, billing and coding responsibilities might be performed by the same person, but they’re definitely different jobs.
What Do Medical Coding Specialists Do?
Coding specialists receive detailed notes following every patient interaction at hospitals and clinics. Their main goal is to determine which procedures/diagnoses were carried out and then turn them into medical codes.
These numbers help insurance companies accurately determine what services are covered and what needs to be paid for out-of-pocket.
What Do Medical Billers Do?
Medical billing specialists analyze and submit patients’ claims
based on the ICD codes that medical coders assigned them. Billers then use medical billing software that contains the specialized codes that allow medical staff, hospitals, and clinics to accurately bill patients and insurance companies.
Billers will probably interact with doctors, patients, and insurance companies to get bills paid and issues resolved quickly.
National Medical Billing and Coding Salaries
The job outlook for medical billing and coding specialists is extremely bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
, these professionals have average incomes of more than $40,000 per year (or over $19 per hour). This is greater than the national average for all US workers
in any industry.
With a projected growth rate of 11% between 2018 and 2028 (much faster than the national average for any sectors), reliable work should be available for the foreseeable future.
As one of the top-paying allied healthcare careers, this is a solid choice for entry-level workers. Like any job, however, salaries vary depending on where you live. Here’s a snapshot of the pay rates you can expect in the New Jersey area.
Medical Billing & Coding Salary in NJ
The average billing and coding specialist in the Garden State can expect an annual salary of over $54,000, or just under $26 per hour. Not only is this an impressive income, but it’s also the highest medical billing salary in the country!
Like any other state, more rural areas have a lower cost of living while the New York-Newark metro area is one of the most expensive parts of the country. New Jersey salaries will certainly reflect that disparity.
Medical Billing & Coding Opportunities in New Jersey
The New York-Newark-Jersey City area provides the highest employment numbers in the country, so this is a great place to start searching for an entry-level position.
How Do Neighboring States Compare?
Medical billing in NJ is a lucrative career move, and it might seem hard for other states to live up to these high expectations. Though the medical and billing job market
varies throughout the country, let’s focus on what New Jersey’s closest neighbors offer.
New Jersey’s neighbor to the north offers a substantial median salary of $47,420, but if you’re in the metropolitan area, the 50th percentile of medical billing and coding specialists earn $51,000.
New York also has one of the highest levels of employment in the medical billing and coding industry, with over 10,000 positions available throughout the state.
Connecticut is close on the heels of New Jersey’s average salaries and provides the fourth-highest incomes in the country. Average earners can command more than $51,000 (more than $24 per hour). With the growth rate reflecting the national average, there’s ample room to find your dream position.
Just over the western border, Pennsylvania has a higher-than-average concentration of medical billing and coding jobs. Though wages are less competitive as a whole ($41,000), the Delaware Valley region (Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington) offers average salaries of approximately $47,000.
Delaware has a surprisingly strong economy for medical billing specialists and is anticipating a growth rate of 8% over the next decade. Aside from the Wilmington area (discussed above), a certified medical coding specialist can earn an average of just over $45,390 per year.
Medical Billing and Coding from Home
Instead of working in a clinic, one of the latest medical billing and coding trends is the increasingly popular option for remote work. With flexible hours and competitive pay, you can skip the commute and work from anywhere (who doesn’t like saving on daycare costs?).
While remote work offers plenty of pros, you’ll be responsible for your own IT. If you run into a technical problem, you may be left to figure it out on your own, especially since you won’t be in an office of experienced people.
How to Become a Medical Biller or Medical Coder
Though you may be able to get on-the-job training in a small medical office environment, completing a medical billing and coding program
will make your application much more competitive.
From vocational schools to community colleges to online courses, there are plenty of educational options across the country. Choose from a certificate, diploma, or associate degree program.
Most medical billing programs take less than one year, which gets you started in your new career quickly without major student debt. Before you can sign up, however, most schools require a minimum of a high school diploma (or equivalent).
Medical Billing and Coding Training
Training is usually broken down into two parts. Classroom training will include medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology, as well as specialized courses in electronic medical records, medical insurance, billing, coding, and computer applications.
The second part is a clinical internship that provides hands-on experience that puts you ahead of other future job applicants.
Should I Get My Medical Coding Certification?
Besides finishing a billing and coding program, you may want to take it a step further and receive your certification. Several organizations offer certification exams, including the NHA, NCCT, AHIMA, and AAPC.
Certification is an ideal way to show employers that you possess the knowledge and skills they need. While it’s not required, it will help get your application at the top of the pile.
How to Advance Your Medical Coding Career
A rewarding allied health career
that provides flexibility and challenges fast-paced environment, medical billing and coding lets you work in clinics, medical offices, or even at home. Just like in any sector, there are many ways to advance your career and increase your salary.
Earning specialized credentials from AHIMA or AAPC can advance your career by promoting in-demand skills. The AHIMA Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credential can help to open up more medical coding opportunities in hospitals while updating ever-changing skill sets.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in this field provide further knowledge to make critical staffing and management decisions. Registered health information administrators can work in a variety of healthcare settings while managing patient medical records and health information.
Start Your Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Career
There’s never been a better time to get started in this rewarding and in-demand allied health career.
If you’re living in – or are thinking of moving to – the New Jersey area, be sure to check out our affordable and expert medical billing and coding specialist program.