Regardless of the role you play in it, there is no denying that healthcare is a complex business. While you may not be performing surgery, your work as a medical billing and coding professional is no less essential to the to the functioning of the industry and the futures of the patients who rely on it. Accurate coding and billing are necessary to ensure that medical organizations receive payment for services and that patients are billed appropriately for those services.
You may have chosen to pursue a medical billing and coding career for any number of reasons. Maybe you find working from home appealing and know that many medical billing and coding positions are hybrid or remote. Maybe you are eager to enter a field with a wide array of career and advancement opportunities in large healthcare organizations, private practices, government offices, insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and beyond. No matter where you’d like to work, you can rest assured that your unique skillset as a certified, or soon-to-be certified medical billing and coding professional are in demand. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that the healthcare industry is home to 13 out of 30 of the most in-demand professions through 2026—including technical and support staff like billing and coding specialists.
Whether you’re fresh out of school or a seasoned pro looking to climb the career ladder, we have all the insider tips, tricks, and resources you need to look for, land, and excel in your next entry-level, mid-level, or senior position.
Getting Started: Entry-Level Careers in Medical Billing & Coding
If you recently graduated from a medical billing and coding program, or are about to, there are several entry-level career paths to consider. While these roles all fit under the umbrella of health information management, there are some key differences between them that are worth considering.
We’ll walk you through a few entry-level positions to help you better understand the role, educational requirements, and basic salary expectations.
Certified Medical Billing/Coding Specialist
A certified medical billing and coding specialist is an individual who has taken a certificate program in medical billing and coding and then passed their certification exam. Many medical billing and coding programs are online and can take a year or less to complete—some of the shorter programs can be completed in a matter of weeks.
Medical billing and coding specialists earn an average of $46,660 per year. Many billing and coding specialists find work—both in-person and remote—with nonprofit organizations, government offices, or private practices.
Claims Coding Specialist
A claims coding specialist is responsible for creating the coded data that is used to obtain payment from insurance companies or government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Claims coding specialist positions are particularly well-suited to those with experience coding inpatient and outpatient records.
Unlike certified medical billing/coding specialist positions, which require little to no experience, claims coding specialist positions typically require certification and at least two years of coding experience, per the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). And this experience pays—literally! Claims coding specialists make roughly $54,080 per year.
Health Information Clerk
Health information clerks prepare reports, claims, and bills, collect data from patients and providers, and help maintain patient records. This role may be perfect for you if you’re looking dive into a new career and prefer to learn as you go, since it requires only a high school diploma and a willingness to complete on-the-job training.
Unfortunately, job growth for health information clerks isn’t projected to grow as rapidly as that of other healthcare professions. In fact, it is expected to decline in the next decade, so jump on these jobs while you can—projections indicate there will still be roughly 154,100 openings annually. On average, these positions pay $37,450 per year.
Medical Coding Specialist
The role of the medical coding specialist is to ensure that medical records are complete, accurate, and in compliance with the correct procedure classification system.
Most medical coding specialists are expected to hold either an Accredited Record Technicians certification (ART) or a Certified Coding Specialist designation (CCS), or two years of experience, though it’s possible to successfully apply to and work in this position with some equivalent combination of experience and education and/or training.
Most medical coding specialists are employed by healthcare organizations and can expect to earn an average salary of $46,660.
Medical Records Analyst
Medical records analysts manage healthcare organizations’ patient data. This data may include medical records, patient satisfaction surveys, and more.
While medical records analysts work with much of the same information as coding and billing specialists, they utilize the data differently. For example, analysts often make recommendations for process and data management improvements.
To become a medical records analyst you’ll have to undergo health informatics and health information management training, both of which are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
Like medical records specialists, medical records analysts can expect to earn an average salary of roughly $46,660.
Medical Records Clerk
Medical records clerks are responsible for maintaining patient records and releasing patient information as appropriate in accordance with HIPAA regulations. While everyone who works in medical billing and coding must be familiar with HIPAA, medical records clerks must have a deeper understanding of who they can and can’t release private medical information to.
This is one of the most accessible positions, since it requires only a high school diploma, although additional training and certification is possible. Medical records clerks earn an average salary of $37,450 annually.
Medical Records Coordinator
Medical records coordinators process, maintain, and protect medical records. In addition to reviewing records for accuracy, medical records coordinators enforce security measures and privacy practices to protect patient confidentiality. Many people in this position also perform medical coding tasks.
Medical records coordinators can find work wherever there are health records to maintain, from healthcare organizations to the private sector and beyond.
While the minimum requirements to become a medical records coordinator are simply a high school diploma and medical experience, many facilities require a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. If you’re looking to start your career as a medical records coordinator, you can expect to earn a starting salary of about $46,660 per year.
Medical Records Technician
Medical records technicians use computer software to keep medical records—most often for lab procedures, x-rays, and more—organized and secure.
Like most other positions, medical records technicians with a certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree in medical office administration or medical coding and billing are more competitive than applicants with fewer qualifications.
Medical records technicians are often lumped in with medical records specialists, and while their responsibilities differ slightly, both their salaries hover around $46,660 annually.
Next Steps: Mid-Level Careers in Medical Billing and Coding
One of the benefits of working in healthcare is the seemingly limitless number of opportunities for advancement. If you have a couple of years of experience in medical billing and coding under your belt, or are just starting out but eager to plan ahead, take a look at some of the mid-level career opportunities you can look forward to.
Coding Supervisor or Revenue Cycle Manager
Revenue cycle managers play a vital role in maintaining the financial health of healthcare organizations. These individuals are responsible for looking at the big picture cost of patient care. In addition to monitoring payment from insurance companies, revenue cycle managers guarantee that patients are not overbilled.
In the same way that revenue cycle managers oversee an organization’s financials, coding supervisors oversee the medical coding staff. In this capacity, they supervise entry-level workers, monitor quality and productivity, and participate in process improvement projects to support institutional goals.
How much you can earn in one of these positions depends largely on your certifications, but on average those in health service management positions, like revenue cycle managers, earn $101,340. While coding supervisors take on a comparable amount of responsibility, they are slightly lower in the pecking order, and therefore earn slightly less.
If you’re having trouble choosing between becoming a medical billing and coding consultant or teacher, we have good news—you can do both! Consultants are often brought in on a temporary basis to help an organization with a new initiative or system, while teachers often hold more permanent roles. Both positions are also in high demand, so you’ll have no trouble finding work.
Salaries for consultants and teachers vary greatly depending on the scope of the work the consultant is hired to do and the teaching environment the instructor is working in. For example, an instructor working for a certificate program will likely earn less than one teaching in a bachelor’s program at a large university. On average, a medical billing and coding consultant earns $114,884 annually, while an instructor earns $42,499.
The title industry advocate is somewhat misleading, as those in this position advocate on behalf of patients, not organizations in the healthcare industry. Industry advocates are often experienced medical coding and billing specialists who can help negotiate medical bills. An advocate may help patients receive discounts, uncover medical and billing errors, or help set up payment plans if they can’t afford their bill.
This could be a great career fit if you’re looking for a way to use your medical and coding skills to help people. According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for an advocate is $41,368 annually.
Moving Up: Senior-Level Careers
Consider a senior-level position if you want to take your career to the highest level possible. These positions are best suited for individuals who have advanced through both entry-level and mid-level positions. While they command a higher salary, they also come with significantly more responsibility. Let’s take a closer look at those responsibilities as well as the salary expectations of two of these senior positions: health information managers/directors and chief health information officers.
Chief Health Information Officer or Director of Revenue Cycle
Both chief health information officers and directors of revenue cycle are considered executive level leaders. Instead of working on the unit level, these individuals work on the organizational level. They often oversee managers and organization-wide initiatives.
Due to the scope of their responsibilities, many of these individuals work long and irregular hours and are often on-call if issues arise—day or night.
Luckily, while great power comes with great responsibility, it also comes with great pay; chief executives earn an average salary of roughly $179,520.
Health Information Manager/Director
Health information directors have a number of responsibilities, the most important of which include, developing procedures for the storage and protection of patient health data, determining the systems used by their organization, training staff on those systems, ensuring compliance with relevant laws, and more.
Directors earn around $157,632 on average per year.
Find Your First Job: Check These Career Boards to Get Started
The right job starts with the right job board. If you’ve been submitting applications on the same generic job board you’ve been using since high school, you should know there’s a better way. We’ve curated a list of the top industry-specific job boards below.
These job boards are designed to help allied healthcare professionals like you find, apply to, and start working as soon as possible.
AHIMA is a professional organization for health information management professionals. AHIMA maintains a job board that is free to use once you’ve created a user profile.
- American Academy of Professional Coders
The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is the largest accrediting body for medical coding and billing professionals. The AAPC job board requires users to create a free profile to apply to featured jobs.
- American Medical Billing Association
The American Medical Billing Association (AMBA) is a professional organization for medical coding and billing professionals. In addition to offering extensive continuing education resources, AMBA maintains a free job board. Make a profile today to apply to positions directly.
CareerVitals is a healthcare-specific job board that also offer a resume writing service. The CareerVitals job board is free. Instead of applying through the site, CareerVitals directs you to the position on the hiring company’s website.
- Health Career Center
Health Career Center is another healthcare career-specific job site. You can create a profile on the Health Career Center job board, but it is not required. To apply for a role, the site asks for your first and last name, email address, and a captcha or bot check to proceed to the employer’s site.
- Health eCareers
The Health eCareers site has been helping healthcare professionals find positions since the 1990s. This established site maintains a job board that requires users to create a profile before applying. This site is also full of helpful information about upcoming educational opportunities and career fairs.
- Hospital Recruiting
Hospital Recruiting is a healthcare-specific job board that requires users to create a free profile to access complete information about potential positions. Once your profile is complete, you can sign up to receive job alerts, track and save jobs, and apply in just one click.
- Miracle Workers
Miracle Workers is a unique healthcare-focused job board with a resume builder feature. They are an offshoot of of Career Builders, so you’ll notice that career searches redirect you to their parent company.
PrideStaff is a staffing firm that offers temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire positions. You can search roles by category on the PrideStaff job board, and speak to a recruiter at any time if you have any questions.
How to Land Your First Job in Medical Billing and Coding
You’ve done the training, earned your certification, and researched the best positions, now it’s time to land your first job!
Getting that first job offer can sometimes feel impossible, but we’re here to help. Take a look at our top five tactical tips to get your career off the ground.’
Emphasize Accuracy & Attention to Detail
Medical coding and billing is high-stakes work—the wrong information sent to the wrong person can have significant legal and financial ramifications for your employer and the patients under their care. Be sure to emphasize your commitment to, and proven record of, accuracy and attention to detail throughout your job search.
You may be wondering why certification matters when we’ve featured several jobs that don’t explicitly require it. While you could start working with a high school diploma and some on-the-job training, doing so will make you a less desirable candidate down the road. It’s also a sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll get paid less than your certified peers. In fact, according to AAPC 2023 Medical Coding and Billing Salary Report, noncertified medical records specialists make a whopping 17.7% less!
If you’ve already landed a job and are wondering how you can finance an additional training course, look at your organization’s certification policies—several healthcare organizations pay for their employees to earn additional certifications.
Highlight Coding Experience
Maybe you became familiar with ICD-10 or CPT codes while working in a healthcare provider’s office during high school or college. Or perhaps you volunteered with a local health department and helped organize financial records.
If you have billing or coding experience, be sure to highlight it in your resume and your interviews.
Join a Professional Association
Consider joining a professional organization such as AHIMA or AAPC. Membership in a professional organization allows you to network with other people (including potential employers) in the field, stay current on best practices, and become involved in committees or subgroups in a niche you love.
Stay Open to Opportunities
Healthcare, technology, and careers at the intersection of the two, are all constantly evolving. Landing and excelling in a job you love requires you to adapt and evolve at the same pace. Stay open to new possibilities, especially if they require you to learn something new.
Remember that the hiring process is about more than credentials and training, it’s also about your attitude.