Although the health care industry may have to scale back somewhat, the fact remains that people continue to need health care services. The population is aging and technology has made it possible to live longer, and to survive illness and disease that in the past would have taken lives at an earlier stage.
That technology has also opened up many new career paths in the health care field.The outlook for health care jobs continues to be good well into the next decade, where as many of the other industries will not see a recovery.
A Stepping Stone Approach
The health care field offers a unique opportunity to many who wish to take a stepping stone approach to attaining their ultimate goals. For instance, beginning a career as a medical assistant, a phlebotomist, or a certified nursing assistant can lead to many diverse roles in the health care field such as nursing, physical, occupational and even speech/language therapy, EMT/paramedic, respiratory therapy, radiology, ultrasound and other diagnostic technologists, etc.
Build on the Foundation
Entry level education and training is a foundation for growing into the next level. For instance, a person wishing to become a nurse may begin his or her career in any of the aforementioned positions (medical assistant, phlebotomist or CNA) and then may study to become a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse which takes about twelve to eighteen months to complete. (They could also choose to go directly into an RN program as well.)
From there, the nurse has several options. S/he can continue to work as a bedside nurse for an entire career. Licensed Practical or Vocational nurses are much more in demand again these days. In California and Texas the term is Vocational nurse, where as throughout the rest of the US the term is Practical nurse. In other countries, there is often a similar classification equal to the LPN.
The trend in the U.S. has been to try to eliminate this position, and most LPNs have had to seek employment in nursing homes, practitioner’s offices or clinics, but with a shortage of nurses and economic issues, hospitals have begun hiring more LPNs again.
Continue Along the Career Path
Practical nurses can also continue their education and become RNs through a variety of ways. In the past they could challenge the RN boards after securing sufficient work experience, but now they must obtain additional education. Online nursing programs are open to LPNs and offer bridging programs to become an RN or to obtain a BSN or even MSN. Traditional brick and mortar schools also offer the same options.
Medical Billing and Coding Job Opportunities
Medical information and claims processing will grow much faster than other occupations through the year 2014 according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. No matter how small the medical office or clinic, skilled medical billers and coders are always in demand, whether as part of the on-site staff or from a home office.
Medical Billing and Coding Defined
Medical billing and coding consists of submitting claims to insurance companies or the U. S. government, specifically Medicare, in order to be paid for services provided to a patient. The health provider needing the skills of a medical billing and coding technician may be in small to large group practices, dental offices, nursing homes, medical care facilities and clinics, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, health maintenance organizations (HMO’s) and health data organizations.
Medical Biller and Coder Attitudes
Choosing medical billing and coding as a career requires:
Working in the health care field as a satisfying career goal
Enjoying and willing to learn medical language and number codes
Liking detailed and meticulous work and also working independently
Computer use comfortable
In addition, being conscientious, having a sense of responsibility, and respect for the confidentially of medical information, are important in this choice of career.
Medical Billing and Coding Training
Medical billing and coding training programs are available at both private and public institutions, on site, or on the internet. The program should be approved by the U.S. Department of Education with a certificate being issued at the end. A good background in already having courses in high school mathematics, health, biology, typing, bookkeeping and office skills. Financial aid and grants are often available to those that need help paying for the program.
Certification Uses Related to Medical Billing Professions
Once certified as a trained biller and coder, there are a number of ways it can be used:
Patient Account Representative
Electronic Claims Processor
Medical Claims Analyst
Medical Claims Processor
Medical Claims Reviewer
Medical Office Secretary
The U.S government will only hire billers and coders that are certified, which is a good reason to acquire the designation.
There are reviews at U.S. University Reviews about the various programs available to those seeking certification as medical billers and coders with good explanations of the requirements.
Medical Billing and Coding Home-based Business
After certification and some experience in working for a medical office or organization, there may be an opportunity to start a home-based business. The trend toward reducing the size of staff in medical offices lends itself to those wanting to be independent contractors, working for more than one entity if they wish and setting their own hours.
There will be a continuing high demand in the job market for certified medical billing and coder specialists and depending up the level of training, salaries often range from $33,000 to $41,000 a year. The opportunities are there for those with the right attitude and training.
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