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What does a Medical Billing Specialist do?

Medical billing specialists are just one part in a larger group of medical records and health information technicians. This is the group of professionals who are responsible for patients' health information and for ensuring the security of their data. Involved in these responsibilities is coding, a procedure which uses special billing codes applied to patients' diagnoses in order to get their medical care reimbursed by their insurance program.

You might choose medical billing as a profession if you are interested in pursuing a career in health care but do not necessarily wish to do hands-on work with patients.

Educational requirements

Students pursuing a career in medical billing should focus on coursework in math, biology, chemistry, computer science, health, finance and accounting.

Upon entry into the health information field, billing specialists may be favored if they have been credentialed by Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT). This type of registration is the result of the completion of a 2-year associate degree program offered by one of the 200 accredited Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) programs.

There are also many certificate, baccalaureate and master's degree programs available to students in the health information field. Should you choose to pursue a career in medical billing and become credentialed, you will most likely be required to maintain your credential by completing continuing education courses and re-registering with the program on a regular basis.

Job outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the number of jobs available to medical billing specialists and other medical records and health information technicians to increase by 20 percent. This is "much faster than average" according to the BLS and translates into great opportunities for current specialists and future graduates of certificate and credential programs. The increase in demand is a result of the expected health issues facing an aging population of baby boomers and the subsequent number of tests and treatments they will need. Specifically, these medical procedures will need recording, coding and billing, which in turn translates into increased demand for specialists.

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