The health care industry is the fastest-growing sector of the American economy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and medical billing and coding is no exception. The same government agency projects growth of 20 percent in the years between 2008 and 2018. Those interested in a "recession-proof" career will be interested in how much money medical billers or coders make.
Salary is dependent upon training and experience. The lowest 10 percent of all medical billers and coders earned $20,440, with the top 10 percent averaging $50,060, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 50 percent right in the middle took home between $24,290 and $39,490 for the same time period, while the median salary for the industry as a whole was $30,610.
In addition to training and experience, the sector of the health care industry in which you work makes a big difference in salary. Those working in physicians offices, the lowest-paid of medical records professionals, earned $26,210 in May of 2008. The highest-paid medical records professionals work for the federal government, averaging $42,760 for the same time period. In the middle are those working in nursing, outpatient care and hospitals, all of whom make around $30,000 a year.
Health information workers often have an associate's degree in the field. You will have to learn things such as medical terminology, a long list of medical codes, reimbursement methods, data analysis and anatomy and physiology. You can start your education as early as high school by taking classes in computers, science and health. This will not qualify you for a job, but it will prepare you for college-level training.
Qualifications and Advancement
Medical information professionals must have good computer skills. While certification is not required by law, most employers prefer to hire professionals with certifications. The American Health Information Management Association provides credentials as a registered health information technician. Those seeking advancement should look into bachelor and master's degrees in management. This provides you with the training to manage other health information professionals or even start your own business, where you can make upwards of $100,000 a year.
2016 Salary Information for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Medical records and health information technicians earned a median annual salary of $38,040 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, medical records and health information technicians earned a 25th percentile salary of $29,940, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $49,770, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 206,300 people were employed in the U.S. as medical records and health information technicians.