The average person will change careers five to seven times during their working life, according to the Department of Labor’s career change statistics. It doesn’t matter if you are choosing your first career or if you’ve been working for years and need a change, experts give this advice:
Know yourself–your strengths, values, motivations, personality and skills
Know your career options and take the time to learn about the short and long-term outlook for each one
Consider what type of work environment is best for you (e.g., do you like to work alone or with other people, do you need flexible hours, do you like putting on a suit every day?)
Reason 1: You’ve Got the Right Stuff
After your soul searching, what fields are right for you? If you are someone who likes to stay up to date with technology, have a positive effect on the bottom line from start to finish and wants to get started as soon as possible, medical billing is a field you should explore.
In addition to the skills above, excellent medical billers are:
Interested in healthcare and the human condition
Good communicators, both verbal and written
Firm but friendly with insurance representatives
Empathetic with patients
Extraverted but still good at detail work
Diligent and focused
Proactive, good at recognizing issues and taking action to solve them
Reason 2: Medical Billers Are in Demand
One of the core provisions of the legislation attempting to reform the healthcare industry has been encouraging better use of electronic medical records. By improving the way patient medical records are shared and used, the healthcare industry is looking to cut costs and improve outcomes. Medical billers are at the core of these vital reforms, placing them in the middle of one of the most exciting areas of healthcare and creating a greater need for highly qualified people.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates demand for medical billing and coding specialists to rise by 13% from 2016 to 2026 or “much faster than average.” By comparison, the average job in the United States is estimated to see demand for workers increase by just 7% over that same period. That translates into a lot of new positions all across the country for medical billers.
Reason 3: Accelerated and Less Expensive Required Educational Programs
One of the best things about pursuing a career in medical billing is that instead of expensive two or four-year college degree programs, you can complete required educational programs in as little as four to twelve months, depending on the credentials you are seeking. There are numerous online medical billing certification programs, but some employers prefer candidates who have completed recognized local programs offered by community colleges, BOCES and trade schools.
Choosing an accelerated program is oftentimes more financially viable for adult learners. Some programs qualify for workforce development grants that provide scholarships for students. While researching programs, see if you qualify for financial assistance such as Federal Pell Grants or Federal Direct student loans.
Is It Right for You?
If you’re ready to launch a new career in a growing field, have the skills and aptitude for a career in healthcare and are motivated to pursue an accelerated training program, medical billing may be the right career path for you.
Tom Maher is President and CEO of Practicefirst, a privately-owned firm that has provided medical billing, coding, credentialing and practice management solutions for an array of medical specialties for over 50 years. To learn more, call Tom at 866.234.5017.