Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Salaries in NJ
You’ve decided to become a medical billing and coding specialist. Congratulations! It’s a crucial job that helps patients, insurance companies, and medical providers alike. Since you’ve probably researched schools to find the best ways to fast track your medical billing education, you’d probably like to know what kind of salary you can expect.
If you’ve got questions about salaries or employment of this incredibly promising career, we’ve compiled everything you need to know to be successful after finishing your medical billing and coding training program.
Are Medical Billing and Medical Coding the Same Thing?
In small offices, you may find that the billing and coding responsibilities are carried out by the same person, but they definitely aren’t exactly the same thing. Medical coders read through medical records to understand which procedures were carried out, and every bit of information that the doctor recorded during the visit.
These findings are then turned into medical codes for diagnoses and services performed, which make it simple for insurance companies to determine what services are covered.
Medical billers analyze and submit patients’ claims, based on the codes assigned by medical coders. Billers use medical billing software that contains the specialized codes that medical coders enter.
Doctors, hospitals, and clinics are then able to accurately bill patients and insurance companies. They also interact with doctors, patients, and insurance companies to get bills paid and issues resolved.
National Job Outlook for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
The job outlook for medical billing and coding specialists is bright. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), billing and coding has a median salary of $39,180 per year and it boasts a projected growth rate of 13% between 2016 and 2026. This is much higher than the national average for all employment.
How Much Does a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Make?
Medical billing and coding is among the top-paying allied healthcare careers, which makes it a solid choice for entry-level workers. You’ll find that salaries vary depending on where you live. Here’s a snapshot of the pay rates you can expect throughout New Jersey, as well as the country.
Medical Billing Salary in NJ
In the Garden State, an experienced billing and coding specialist can expect a salary of over $50,000. Not only is this well above average for coders, it’s also above the national average for all U.S. workers in any industry. That’s pretty impressive.
Annual wages can differ by city within New Jersey. For example, a coder in Bayonne can expect around $42,000 while someone in Jersey City is more likely to earn up to $55,000 or more. An advanced specialty coding certificate can definitely help increase salary offers.
Job Opportunities in New Jersey
While the pay is high in New Jersey, you’ll likely find more opportunities near cities rather than in rural areas. Some of the best areas to find work are in the Jersey City metro area and in the New York City metro area, which have some of the highest nationwide levels of employment for the medical billing and coding field.
How Do Other States Compare?
Medical billing in NJ is a lucrative career, and due to its status as the state with the highest average pay for billers and coders, it’s hard for any state to live up to these expectations. Some states, however, have a lot to offer when it comes to wages and job markets.
Career opportunities and salaries differ throughout the country, and you’ll definitely find a wide variety of options that suit your needs.
Prospects in Other States
When it comes to neighboring states, New York may only offer a median salary of $46,200, but it also has one of the highest levels of employment in the medical billing and coding industry. Pennsylvania has a higher-than-average concentration of employment. Though wages are less competitive, it’s possible that you’ll have an easier time finding a job here.
If you don’t mind the cold, you can consider a position in Alaska. With an average pay of around $54,170, medical billers and coders here make the second-highest wages in the country. California annual salaries are usually $5,000 to $6,000 lower compared to Alaska, with Washington D.C. close behind.
States with the Lowest Medical Billing Wages
People don’t enter medical coding programs to just make “ends meet”, so it’s important to know which states have the lowest pay. Mississippi may provide the lowest wages to their medical billers (with an average $34,000), but the cost of living in The South is much lower, too.
Arkansas ($33,320) and Alabama ($35,450) come in second and third on the lowest-paid states scale, but don’t let that discourage you: They’re also rated as some of the most affordable states to live in.
Medical Billing and Coding Jobs from Home
An alternative to working in an office is remote work. This type of position usually offers flexible hours and competitive pay. Skip the commute, work from anywhere, and save on daycare with a great position.
Remote work has many pros, but there are cons, too: You’re responsible for your own IT, don’t get to spend time interacting with other people, and if you run into a problem, you may be left to figure it out on your own, as you won’t be in an office of experienced people.
How to Become a Medical Biller or Medical Coder
If you haven’t enrolled in medical billing and coding classes just yet, then you may be wondering how to get started. 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.
You’ll find that there are many options that include vocational schools, online courses, and community colleges. They can offer certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees in your future area of study.
Most programs are from four months to one year, which allows you to get started in your new career quickly, and without a lot of student debt. Most schools require a minimum of a high school diploma.
Training is usually broken down into two parts. First, you’ll gain the knowledge you need through classroom training. This will include medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, and specialized courses in electronic medical records, medical insurance, billing, coding, and computer applications.
The second part of your training is a clinical internship that will give you the 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 a fantastic way to show employers you possess the knowledge and skills they need. While not required, it is definitely advisable as it will help you put your application at the top of the pile and increase your chances of landing that job.
How to Advance Your Medical Coding or Billing Career
Medical billing and coding is a rewarding career that requires you to detect medical coding errors. It provides flexibility, as well as a challenging and fast-paced environment where you can work in a clinic, medical office, or even your home. Just like any career, there are a few ways that you can advance your career in this industry and increase your salary.
You can earn specialized credentials from AHIMA or AAPC, which can advance your career further by giving you in-demand skills. The Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credential from AHIMA will often open up more medical coding opportunities in hospitals.
Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in this field provide knowledge to make critical staffing and management decisions. Registered health information administrators can work in a variety of healthcare settings, managing patient medical records, and health information.
Get Started with Your Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Career
Interested in making a difference while still working in an office setting? There’s never been a better time to get started in this rewarding and exciting allied health career.
If you’re in the New Jersey area, be sure to check out our medical billing and coding specialist program and kick-start your future career today.