Whether you’re just thinking about entering the medical billing and coding field or you just passed your certification exam, you’re probably wondering how much you can expect to make in your new role. One factor that can significantly affect how much medical billing and coding professionals make is where they live and work. Do you want to live close to family? Stay in the college town you’ve grown to love? Move somewhere completely new? Or are do you want to snag one of the many remote opportunities in the field? Regardless, knowing nationwide salary trends will help you know what you can expect to make in medical billing and coding.
It’s no secret that certain parts of the country are more expensive—the Northeast and West Coast are both notorious for high costs of living. According to the Cost of Living Index, New York, Hawaii, and California are home to the most expensive cities in the country. All three of these states are also in the top ten for median medical billing and coding salaries. Want to know where your state falls? Keep reading!
We’ve compiled data for all 50 states from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for medical records specialists. While this is just one of many possible career paths, it is one of the most popular among recent graduates of medical billing and coding programs, and it’s a good indicator for starting salaries in the field. This guide will be a valuable resource as you consider your options and ultimately decide where you’ll be happiest personally and financially.
Alabama ranks low in both median salary and cost of living. The Auburn-Opelika area features the highest median salary, while the Birmingham-Hoover and Huntsville areas have the greatest potential for salary growth. Generally urban areas are going to offer the highest salaries and salary potential in the state.
Regardless of where in the state you reside, Alaska’s earnings potential remains roughly the same. Anchorage, however, does promise greater growth potential than the other urban area of Fairbanks. Alaska ranks 12th highest in median salary nationally and 6th highest for cost of living.
Prescott stands out as a great place for Arizona-based medical records specialists to work. Followed closely by Flagstaff, both cities offer greater earning potential than the highly populated Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolis and other regions like Lake Havasu City-Kingman.
This state ranks 49th for both cost of living and median salary. Jonesboro and the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway region offer some of the highest potential earnings in the state. Little Rock is the highest across all three percentile categories, making it a top choice for anyone looking to work as a medical records specialist in the state.
Notoriously an expensive place to live, California offers incomes to match. The state ranks 4th highest in median salary and 3rd highest in cost of living. Urban metro areas such San Francisco-Oakland and San Jose feature some of the highest median salaries and 90th percentile salaries. The two highest earnings reported in the whole state, however, go to Redding and Sacramento.
Sticking around the Denver area promises the highest potential salary across all reported income tiers. In general, urban areas of the state, such as Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Greeley pose better financial opportunities than less populated areas. Grand Junction has a notably low median salary but catches up to other cities in the higher wage brackets.
If you want to work in Connecticut, you’re in luck—you’ve chosen the state with the third highest median salary in the country with Hartford, New Haven, and Waterbury offering higher median salaries. The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area shows up well across all categories boasting the highest 10th percentile and 90th percentile salaries.
The First State actually ranks 17th in medical records specialists’ median salaries, lagging behind its spot as 14th on Forbes’ list of most expensive states to live in. You may want to search outside the capital city for employment as its median and 90th percentile salaries fall short of the state averages.
Floridians will have the highest growth potential in the medical billing field outside the most populous cities in the state, particularly in the panhandle. The Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin area offers both a high median salary and 90th percentile earnings. For those wanting to live further south, the Palm Bay-Melbourne region offers high salaries in both percentile categories. Gainesville’s median salary holds up to these as well, but the 90th percentile earnings lag behind.
The Atlanta and Augusta areas are both great choices for Georgians. Atlanta offers a competitive median salary and the highest 90th percentile offering in the state. Dalton and Hinesville also place near the top for median salaries, but their higher earners fall below those of Atlanta, Augusta, and Gainesville. Albany performs worst across all three rankings, falling well below state averages in each.
As the most expensive state in the country, Hawaii’s median salary doesn’t keep up with the cost of living. That being said, the higher earners across the state are well over the estimated annual cost of living of $55,491. Those considering working in the medical billing and coding profession in the Aloha State will want to carefully consider their salary offers and expenses before accepting a position.
Idaho ranks 26th in both medical records specialist salaries and annual cost of living. Twin Falls reports the highest potential salary, but Boise City, Coeur d’Alene, and Pocatello all offer higher median wages. The lowest earnings in the state are found in Idaho Falls and Lewiston.
If you’re looking to live a peaceful life in your own little house on the prairie in the Prairie State, you’re in luck. Generally, the smaller metro areas in Illinois feature the best median salaries and potential for growth. Danville, on the Illinois-Indiana border features the highest median and 90th percentile salaries for medical records specialists. Bloomington, Kankakee, and Rockford all perform competitively in this area as well. If you love the big city, no worries. The Chicago area compares for median salary and is still competitive near the top.
Indiana is a great state to consider for those concerned with making enough in the medical billing and coding field. The Hoosier State ranks 22nd best median salary but has the 35th highest cost of living. Indianapolis boasts the highest salaries across all three categories, but Columbus, Evansville, Lafayette, and Terra Haute all offer competitive median salaries in the state.
Iowa is another Midwest state with competitive salaries, ranking 33rd for salaries and 37th for annual cost of living. The Hawkeye State features median salaries above the estimated cost of living in all listed areas. The highest median salaries can be found in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, but the Des Moines and Waterloo-Cedar Falls areas offer the highest potential incomes.
Kansas ranks 42nd for annual cost of living. The best salaries are found in the cities of Lawrence and Topeka. Manhattan features the lowest salaries in all three categories, but it lags behind only slightly in the top earnings category.
Residents of the Bluegrass State will fare best in the urban areas of Louisville and Lexington. Owensboro features high potential earnings but a considerably lower median salary compared to the rest of the state. In general, Kentucky’s median salary exceeds the annual cost of living estimate.
The best places to begin a career in medical billing and coding in Louisiana include Hammond, New Orleans, and Shreveport. Lafayette will be a hard place to start out with considerably low salaries for both the 10th and 50th percentiles. Baton Rouge and Lake Charles both feature high potential earnings for those near the top.
In Maine, Lewiston-Auburn is a great area to work in medical billing and coding. The Portland area has the highest 10th and 90th percentile salaries in the state but the median salary is almost $10,000 below that of Lewiston. Bangor reports the lowest salaries in all three percentiles.
Maryland comes in at the 7th highest salary and 7th highest cost of living in the US. Surprisingly, some of the state’s smaller cities promise the best salaries for medical billing and coding professionals. Cumberland posts the highest median and 90th percentile salaries but the second lowest 10th percentile earnings. Marylanders will find the lowest earnings across all three percentile rankings in Salisbury.
Massachusetts is one of the East Coast states that ranks highest in cost of living, but how much you can earn in the medical billing and coding field mostly keeps pace with the cost of living. The Boston area offers the most competitive salaries across the 10th and 50th percentiles. Barnstable’s 10th percentile and median salaries top the state list. Springfield ranks lowest across the board.
Ann Arbor is the clear winner for best place to work in this field in the state of Michigan. Its median salary ranks higher than the Niles-Benton Harbor area’s 90th percentile salary. Other solid choices for median salaries in the Wolverine State include Flint, Midland, Lansing-East Lansing, and Saginaw.
Minnesota is a great choice for medical records specialists. The Land of 10,000 Lakes offers the 5th highest salary in the country. The highest salaries across all categories are found in the twin cities, but Rochester and Duluth are strong contenders.
While Mississippi reports the lowest salaries it also offers the lowest cost of living in the country, and all of the median salaries reported exceed the estimated cost of living of $32,336. Hattiesburg features the lowest salaries in all brackets. Jackson and Gulfport-Biloxi are much better choices for those wanting to work in the Magnolia State.
Missouri is another Midwest state with an affordable cost of living and strong salary figures. Working near Kansas City offers the best options as Kansas City and St. Joseph top the list for 50th and 90th percentile salaries. St. Louis competes at the median salary level but falls behind in the highest tier. Columbia notably offers the highest 10th percentile salary, offering almost $10,000 more than the low-performing Springfield area.
Missoula tops the list for highest potential in Montana and is a close second and third, respectively, for median and 10th percentile, making it the top choice for Montanans who want to work in the medical billing and coding field. Great Falls performs slightly worse for the lowest and highest percentiles but is comparable in the median salary tier.
Cornhuskers need look no further than Omaha for the top earning potential. The border town tops all three percentile brackets with considerably higher 10th and median salaries. Grand Island and Lincoln catch up at the 90th percentile level.
Nevada’s ranking as 44th in earning potential lags significantly behind its position as 17th in cost of living. Carson City is a strong choice for medical records specialists, though, as it offers significantly higher salaries at all tiers than the state’s other biggest cities.
New Hampshire’s salaries are comparable across the state. Portsmouth posts higher 10th percentile and median salaries, but is edged out slightly at the top level by Manchester. Those looking to work in the Granite State will have lots of freedom when choosing where to settle down.
The Garden State tops the list with the highest median salary reported in the nation. However, New Jerseyans should note that while Trenton compares at the 10th and 50th percentile salary levels, it falls far behind the state average for 90th percentile salaries.
Santa Fe offers the highest salaries across the board in the Land of Enchantment. Its most significant advantage appears in the top 10% of earners. La Cruces salaries are considerably lower than the rest of the state, especially in the 90th percentile tier.
Manhattan is the most expensive city in the country, but the NYC area also outranks surrounding cities across the board. Ithaca, Rochester, and the Buffalo-Cheektowaga area also feature strong salaries across all tiers. Binghamton and Kingston offer significantly lower salaries at the lowest and median levels but perform better in the 90th percentile.
North Carolinians will find the highest salaries in the state in the Winston-Salem area. The Durham-Chapel Hill segment of the research triangle outperforms Winston-Salem at the 10th percentile and outpaces Raleigh at all three levels. Wilmington’s lower tier salaries lag behind the state average but catch up in the top tier. Burlington notably has a 90th percentile salary that is lower than Winston-Salem’s median salary.
North Dakota is a promising state for medical records specialists. Ranking 16th for salary offerings, all the featured median salaries far exceed the estimated cost of living of $35,707. Bismarck posts the best 50th and 90th percentile earnings, but Grand Forks has a considerably higher 10th percentile salary.
The “Buckeye State” lacks a clear winner for best earnings. Salaries vary across the state with Columbus and Dayton offering the highest top tier salaries but Cincinnati and Cleveland outperforming them at the 10th and 50th percentiles. Nearly all the reported median salaries exceed the estimated annual cost of living in the state with the exception of Mansfield, which posts the lowest numbers across all levels.
Salaries are comparable across Oklahoma at all levels, except the median salary in Tulsa which falls well below the state average. All the median salaries exceed the estimated cost of living of $33,966, making Oklahoma a solid choice for those with a medical billing and coding certificate or degree.
Oregon ranks 10th for both salary and cost of living. Eugene and the Portland have the highest 90th percentile salaries, but Corvallis and Grants Pass offer the highest median earnings. Eugene’s lowest tier is considerably below other cities in the state, but those eager to work in Oregon won’t find a truly “bad” place to be gainfully employed in the Beaver State.
Pennsylvania residents can find the best salaries at all levels in the Philadelphia area. Reading is another great choice for the top 50% of wage earners. Altoona has the least competitive salary at the top level, and East Stroudsburg comes last for the lowest and median salary levels.
The smallest state does not have the smallest salary in the country. In fact, Rhode Island ranks 14th for median salary and 13th for cost of living. The Providence-Warwick area lags behind the state average in the lower tiers by a negligible margin of less than $1,000.
As one of the least expensive states to live in (44th), South Carolina medical records specialists have the potential to take home solid salaries. Columbia and Florence stand out for their higher-than-average median and top 10%. The Charleston area is competitive in the 10th and 50th percentiles but falls below the state average for the 90th percentile.
Sioux Falls offers the highest salaries in the Mount Rushmore state. Rapid City is comparable up to the median salary but falls far behind Sioux Falls and the state average in the 90th percentile.
The western half of the state is home to the two best cities for medical records specialists in Tennessee. Memphis and the Nashville far outperform the rest of the state for median and 90th percentile salaries. Johnson City performs worst in the lowest salary division while Kingsport’s median salary is lowest, and Knoxville offers the lowest 90th percentile salary.
Longview eclipses all other Texas cities for 90th percentile salaries at $15,000 more per year than the next closest salary in the Sherman-Denison area. The Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin-Round Rock regions both exhibit strong offerings for the 10th and 50th percentiles. The Brownsville-Harlingen and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metropolitan areas report the lowest 10th percentile earnings and median salaries nearly $10,000 less than the state average.
Salt Lake City tops the list in all three percentiles in the state of Utah. The Provo-Orem metropolitan area competes closely for second, falling considerably behind only in the median range. St. George is another strong choice, but its 90th percentile earnings are considerably lower than both Provo-Orem and St. George.
Vermonters in medical billing and coding will do best in the Burlington metro area, which beats the state’s average salaries across the board. Those not wanting to live near the capital need not worry though, the state averages are neck and neck with those in the capital.
Charlottesville and Winchester are both excellent options for anyone wanting to earn a competitive salary while working in the Old Dominion. Areas with the weakest earning potential include Roanoke (for the 10th percentile) and Lynchburg (for both the 50th and 90th). The good news is the range for median salaries across the state is small, making just about any city a good place to launch your career in medical billing and coding.
Seattle is the clear winner in the Evergreen State. Its 90th percentile and median earnings both exceed the next closest salaries by $10,000+. Longview posts the weakest numbers in the state for the lowest and middle levels while Yakima offers the lowest earning potential in the 90th percentile.
West Virginians can look to Huntington, Morgantown, and the Weirton area for peak salaries in the Mountain State. Morgantown in particular stands out with a median salary nearly $10,000 above the state average. Charleston, Parkersburg-Vienna, and Wheeling post the lowest numbers for top 10% salaries, with Wheeling bottoming out the list in two of the three salary tiers.
The Badger State, like its namesake animal, is a fierce contender. The state boasts a desirable combination of great earning potential and affordability, ranking 15th for median salary, and 30th for cost of living. Multiple urban areas post particularly strong numbers. Standouts at the 90th percentile include Eau Claire and Racine. Racine also tops the list at the 50th percentile followed closely by Madison and the Milwaukee-Waukesha area.
15th salary. 30th cost of living. 37,374
Cheyenne stands out in the Equality State for its considerably higher salary for the bottom 10% of medical records specialists. It narrowly edges out Casper for median salary, but Casper blows it away in the top tier, where top earners make a whopping $18,000 more than their counterparts in Cheyenne.