Medical billing and coding professionals held over 179,500 jobs in 2010, according to the US Labor Bureau. Over 50% of them worked in doctors’ offices or hospitals, while most of the rest were employed by other health care practitioners. (See job descriptions for medical billers and medical coders.)
The health care industry employs more billing clerks than any other industry, with more than one-third of all billing clerks being medical billers.
Billers and coders who wish to advance have several avenues available to them. They can become a section supervisor and oversee billing, coding, correspondence and discharge work, or in some cases may advance to become director or assistant director of a medical records department. In larger health care facilities, the director tends to have bachelor’s degree in medical records and health information administration. (More info on billing and coding training)
According to the US Labor Bureau, although the demand for billing clerks in general will grow at a rate slower than the average growth rate of all employment in the US, medical billing professionals will be in higher demand due to the growth of the health care industry (including new medications and procedures that are assigned new billing codes) and due to the complexity of medical bills in general. Certified technicians with strong experience will be in particularly high demand as government and insurance examination of health records continues to intensify. Additionally, employers prefer technicians trained in electronic records.
However, technology in the billing field will keep the number of jobs in check, as new software and computers allow billers to process more bills, increasing productivity and decreasing the need for more workers. Also hindering the growth of jobs is the automation of billing functions, although with the complexity of medical billing, a human touch will likely always be needed to make the necessary judgment calls.
Still, while growth may be limited, many job openings will occur as workers transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.