Setting Achievable Career Goals as a Medical Biller and Coder

If you have the skills to thrive as a medical biller and coder, it’s worth taking a look at this in-demand field.

Behind the scenes of every medical procedure, doctor’s visit, vaccination appointment, and hospital stay, a biller/coder works to ensure medical procedures are coded correctly and healthcare providers are reimbursed properly. They document codes that correspond to everything done in a visit, from a strep throat test to bandaging a cut, to determine the cost of the appointment and who should pay. In short, they use an understanding of treatments, medical terminology, software, and more to help keep healthcare systems funded and running smoothly.

Some offices split billing and coding into separate jobs, while in others one person does both. No matter how the jobs are performed, billing and coding is a growing field with many opportunities.

As a medical biller and coder, you play a vital behind-the-scenes role in the healthcare system. Your work ensuring accurate claims submissions and medical documentation directly impacts provider reimbursement, patient billing and overall care administration.

If you enjoy detail-oriented desk work, problem solving, and utilizing your knowledge of medical terminology, setting goals to advance as a billing and coding specialist can be highly rewarding.

In this article, we’ll explore some key steps medical biller coders can take to further their careers. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned pro, having clearly defined professional goals is crucial for reaching your maximum potential and career satisfaction.

Why Set Goals as a Medical Biller and Coder?

Taking time to thoughtfully craft goals for your career as a medical biller and coder has many advantages:

  • Provides direction and purpose to guide your ongoing education and skill growth

  • Motivates you to tackle new challenges and projects

  • Enables you to track and celebrate your progress

  • Positions you for raises, promotions and other advancement opportunities

  • Helps you feel engaged and driven to continue honing your expertise

  • Gives you competitive edge in the job market as a top performer

  • Allows you to take control of your professional trajectory

No matter your current role as a biller coder, setting actionable development goals is essential for avoiding stagnation and continuing to expand your skills over time.

Tips for Setting Effective Goals

Creating meaningful, achievable goals requires some self-reflection and planning. Here are some tips:

  • Consider your interests – What parts of your role do you enjoy most? What would you like to do more of?

  • Play to your strengths – What skills come easily to you that you could further build on?

  • Identify growth areas – What knowledge gaps or skills would you like to improve at?

  • Research options – What possible career paths and specialties can billing/coding professionals pursue?

  • Specify your targets – Set distinct, quantified goals like earn X certification by Y date.

  • Prioritize – List your goals and rank them by importance so you can tackle the most critical ones first.

  • Make a plan – Outline the specific steps needed to achieve each goal.

  • Set a timeline – Give yourself a realistic schedule with key milestones to work towards.

  • Review regularly – Re-evaluate your goals as you gain experience and interests evolve.

Approaching goal setting strategically will help you maximize your chances of success. Now let’s look at some specific goal areas to focus on.

1. Expand Your Credentials

Gaining additional certifications beyond your CPC or other core billing/coding credential opens doors to specialization. It also enhances your expertise in the eyes of employers.

Some valuable certifications to consider include:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC) – Considered the gold standard coding credential

  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) – Demonstrates proficiency in complex coding

  • Certified Professional Coder – Hospital (CPC-H) – Specializing in inpatient medical coding

  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA) – Entry-level coding credential

  • Certified Documentation Expert (CDIP) – Focuses on optimized documentation for coding

Evaluate which certifications align to your interests and career aspirations. Many can be prepared for through self-study and sitting the exam. Set a timeline to gain 1-2 new credentials over the next few years.

2. Actively Grow Your Professional Network

In addition to technical abilities, having a strong network is pivotal for advancement as a medical coding and billing specialist.

Aim to progressively build relationships with:

  • Peers in the field to exchange knowledge and techniques

  • Managers and admins in your workplace who can provide opportunities

  • Representatives from societies like the AAPC and AHIMA

  • Other healthcare professionals who utilize your services

  • Industry vendors and contacts

Make it a goal to regularly expand your network by:

  • Attending local industry meetups, conferences and events

  • Connecting with other billers/coders on LinkedIn

  • Speaking up and introducing yourself to colleagues

  • Participating in online forums and communities

  • Doing informational interviews to learn from senior specialists

Growing your network improves visibility to new job openings, mentorship, collaboration prospects, and knowledge exchange that can propel your career development.

3. Obtain Mentorship from a Senior Billing/Coding Expert

Beyond networking, developing an ongoing mentoring relationship with an experienced billing/coding professional can provide invaluable guidance for advancement.

Seek a respected mentor who can offer:

  • Wisdom from their career journey to inform your goals

  • Advice on strengthening your technical abilities

  • Insight into healthcare administration and leadership

  • Tips on professional branding and reputation building

  • Reviews of your resume, projects and interview skills

  • Connection opportunities and visibility

Aim to find a compatible mentor willing to meet regularly and remain invested in your growth. Leverage their expertise to maximize your potential.

4. Earn Recognition for Your Contributions

Gaining positive recognition in your workplace for your billing/coding expertise and contributions promotes your professional profile internally.

Aim to:

  • Maintain high accuracy and productivity metrics

  • Identify process improvements that increase efficiencies

  • Volunteer for special projects and committees

  • Train/cross-train colleagues to build your visibility

  • Seek praise and testimonials from providers for reliable work

  • Confidently share your accomplishments and wins with managers

Earning a reputation as a top performer and subject matter expert can lead to career advancing opportunities.

5. Serve as a Billing and Coding Preceptor/Volunteer

Further elevating your profile by training up-and-coming medical billers/coders is a rewarding goal. Options include:

  • Becoming a coding instructor for a college certificate program

  • Providing internships/job shadowing at your workplace

  • Volunteering as a mentor for new career entrants

  • Creating tutorials, documentation or online courses

  • Joining association curriculum committees

Teaching others reinforces your expertise while allowing you to give back. It can also uncover a passion for lifelong learning roles like management or full-time teaching.

6. Pursue Leadership Roles like Supervisor or Manager

For motivated coding professionals, stepping into an oversight or management role is a logical career evolution.

Transitioning from an individual contributor to leading a billing/coding team involves new competencies like:

  • Overseeing team workflows, timelines and assignments

  • Monitoring performance and providing coaching

  • Communicating policies and resolving issues

  • Analyzing department metrics and identifying improvements

  • Managing vendor relationships

  • Forecasting budgets and resource needs

Gain essential leadership skills through a graduated approach:

  • Start by unofficially mentoring junior staffers

  • Volunteer for coordinator roles on projects and committees

  • Shadow current managers and discuss their day-to-day

  • Enroll in management training programs

Pursuing promotion to team leader or manager provides pay bumps and expanded responsibilities.

7. Continue Expanding Your Coding Expertise

Ongoing learning and skills development in coding is essential for all billers and coders throughout their careers.

Remain dedicated to continuously enhancing your abilities by:

  • Reading coding publications and blogs to stay updated

  • Taking refresher courses each year on new codes

  • Studying for additional specialty credentials

  • Mastering new coding software tools

  • Volunteering to code higher complexity cases

  • Brushing up on medical terminology, anatomy and regulations

  • Attending association conferences and events

Making a habit of regular self-improvement ensures your skills always remain cutting-edge and marketable.

Key Takeaways

Defining clear, achievable goals for advancing your medical billing and coding career is crucial for remaining engaged, developing your expertise over time, and reaching your full professional potential.

Stay focused on growth in areas like:

  • Specialty credentials
  • Professional networking
  • Mentorship
  • Recognition
  • Teaching roles
  • Leadership development
  • Ongoing coding skill expansion

Revisit your goals regularly, measure progress and celebrate milestones. With dedication and purposeful effort, you can build a rewarding career in this essential healthcare services field.

career goals for medical biller coder

A Stable Career in a Changing Field

Billers/coders can work from home after gaining on-the-job experience, or they can work in private practices, physicians’ offices, insurance companies, and at hospitals.

The field is changing quickly: Insurance companies continually revise their claims processing procedures, telehealth is becoming more common, and new understandings of medical conditions require new billing codes. Healthcare organizations are always in need of billers/coders who can adapt.

“Healthcare is here to stay,” says Nancy Szwydek, MPH, RN, RHIA, CRAT, CMAC, who is the assistant dean for accreditation at Purdue University Global. “If you want a good, stable job in healthcare but don’t want a clinical job, billing and coding is a great field to get into.”

Here are seven reasons to consider a billing and coding career.

You Can Complete Your Education Quickly

Many potential billers and coders are attracted to the field’s flexible education requirements. With so many paths to take to a good career, workers can choose the route that works best for them.

Most billers require only a high school degree, Szwyzek says, though coders—and people who do both tasks—require more education. Coursework for a certificate or diploma can be completed in as little as four months or as long as a year.

Many medical coding schools also offer degree programs that students can complete in two to four years. Szwyzek points out that it’s possible to work as a biller/coder while earning an advanced degree. You can complete basic coursework in a few months, then work as you earn a higher degree at your own pace.

In addition, billers and coders can earn credentials, which act as verification of their skills. These may require passing an exam or work experience.

“Credentialing for billers and coders is voluntary, unlike for doctors and nurses,” Szwyzek says. “That said, some institutions—like hospitals—are going to be picky and prefer hiring someone who has a professional credential.”

This can increase your earning potential and competitiveness for the best jobs.


What are some career goals for medical biller and coders?

Here are some examples of career goals for medical biller and coders to help you recognize objectives that you may work to achieve: 1. Earn extra certifications Typically, medical biller and coders have an associate’s degree or certificate in medical coding or health information technology.

What does a medical biller & coder do?

Medical biller and coders work within the billing department of a health care facility. They transfer claims into medical codes so that the facility may receive reimbursement from insurance companies. Creating career goals may help you advance into a management position or earn a higher salary.

Why should you pursue a career as a medical biller and coder?

Here are some reasons why you might consider creating and achieving career goals as a medical biller and coder: Enhance your skills: Career goals allow you to further enhance your skills, since you can remain up-to-date on the medical field’s recent coding advancements.

What can I do with a medical coding and billing certificate?

Getting a certificate in medical coding and billing can be a great way to begin a career in healthcare, as well as open the door to many different opportunities. From advancing in medical code auditing to owning your own business, learn about all the different opportunities available in a medical coding and billing career.

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