A number of factors contribute to the the level of medical billing and coding salary which include practical experience, demand in a particular geographic region, skill level, employer type, and prior references. That being said, focusing on, and becoming an expert in a specific area is one way to demand the highest medical billing and coding salary.
In Napoleon Hill’s Classics “Think and Grow Rich”, he devotes an entire chapter to the subject of specialized knowledge and sums it up by stating:
“Knowledge paves the road to riches – when you know which road to take”
If you want to read the book, and I suggest you do, free downloadable versions are available everywhere online, and can be found by searching the title.
Gaining specialized knowledge separates medical billers and coders from the crowd. Having knowledge and experience in one or more specialties in the medical billing and coding field, reduces the competition for positions , makes you more valuable and indispensable to the employer, and in turn allows you to maximize your medical billing and coding salary. Simply put, you differentiate yourself by possessing unique skills and abilities that very few others have.
When I suggest this concept to many in the medical billing and medical coding field, the common reaction I receive is that they don’t have the time, and don’t want to spend the money to enroll in expensive courses.
Firstly, although it is desirable to achieve a certification in a particular specialty, you do not have to begin by enrolling in a formal course. Choose an area of interest to you, preferably one which is in high demand, and start doing some research and learning on your own. Use the internet and public library. Get involved in online forums and attend seminars where a high profile physician may be speaking on a subject. Make sure you communicate to you employer some of your new found knowledge. It may not have an immediate impact on your medical billing and coding salary, however, your employer will begin to see something different in you – initiative!
Secondly, lack of time is is just an excuse, a cop out. Think about this:
“Dedicating just one hour a day to anything, by either getting up one hour earlier in the morning, staying up one hour later in the evening, or finding one hour in the day, equates to 9 additional forty hour work weeks over the course of a year”
I suggest you read the previous statement again and again until it is firmly planted in your mind.
Thirdly, spending money on education should be viewed as an investment not an expense. Develop the mindset that $100 spent today will generate $200 tomorrow. If you are in medical billing and coding for the long haul and want to make a career out of it, any money spent on education will be recouped many fold.
In terms of specialties, they are endless. For example, the American Academy of Professional Coders www.aapc.com currently offer certifications in 20 different specialties and even accept suggestions for new specialties. Some of these include:
- Anesthesia and Pain Management
- Evaluation and Management
- Internal Medicine
- Orthopedic Surgery
- Plastics and Reconstructive Surgery
This list is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, however, I am sure you can see, that there are many opportunities available. Of course it is important to enjoy the way you make your living, but is also important to maximize the medical billing and coding salary you achieve. Choose something you like and have an interest in, take the initiative to become an expert in it, and ultimately write you own paycheck.