Medical billing and coding can be two separate job functions, but increasingly the medical codes used for insurance companies are used for patient’s medical records as well. In many offices, the billing and coding function contributes diagnostic and treatment information to the patient’s file; sends notification of services and a bill to the appropriate health insurance company; and provides a statement and copay bill to the patient.

People who simply provide the coding function are known as medical record coders, or coding specialists. Usually medical facilities that have personnel devoted solely to coding are large operations. In many doctor’s offices the medical billing and the coding function is performed by a member of the administrative staff.

Education in the Medical Billing Field

There are medical billing schools that provide both diplomas and associate’s degrees in the medical billing and coding fields. For someone who is seeking a new career in medical administration, an associate’s degree may be the better choice for long term advancement. People who move into medical office management generally have some formal post-secondary education that includes a degree of some sort.

For individuals who have some college background but want to shift into a new career, the field of health information is only going to grow as medical services in general become more codified and less personal. Medical billing and coding is an excellent method of breaking into the field; health care is the biggest business in the nation and that will not be changing anytime soon, if ever.

There are some degrees available in medical billing and coding administration, and for the position of medical billing and coding specialist. These are degrees that prepare the student for a management role in both medical billing and coding, and in data management

Careers in Medical Billing and Coding

While it is usually a mistake to look into the crystal ball when planning a career, there is a good chance that government involvement in the provision of health care will be extending beyond Medicare before long. If that occurs, it will bring an additional bureaucracy that may be a new billing resource and that has requirements for coded information as well.

There are close to 200,000 people working in the health information field today that are primarily in medical billing and coding. The field is projected to grow by 20% over the next decade, and it is likely that the chances for advancement will grow with it. This is an excellent entry level option in the health care sector that does not initially require four years of education and that may offer future opportunities for advancement.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Hartzell writes about education and careers for several websites