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Your Guide to Medical Coding and Billing Salaries

Medical Coding Salary

What is the Current Outlook for the Medical Coding Profession?

Health information technician, a profession that encompasses medical billing and all types of medical coding, ranks 55 on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of 100 Best Jobs. More impressively, the career ranks third on the list of Best Jobs Without A College Degree. The salary range is competitive and greatly exceeds the financial outlay and time investment to become a medical billing and coding specialist. The profession also ranks high in job opportunities, career advancement potential, and a satisfying work-life balance.

If you’re considering a career in medical coding and billing, or currently employed as a health information technician, AAPC Annual Salary Survey isolates factors influencing compensation and will help you:

  • Assess your earning potential
  • Prepare for your job interview or salary negotiations
  • Plan your medical coding career path for greater financial reward.

AVERAGE MEDICAL CODING SALARIES NATIONWIDE

Average Medical Coding Salary

What Is the Average Medical Coding Salary?

Across AAPC membership, medical coders (certified and non-certified) earn an average salary of $54,890, up 5.8% from last year’s average salary of $51,889. Medical coders without certification earn approximately $42,015 per year while certified professional coders on average earn $55,923 annually—33% more than their non-certified colleagues. This calculation includes all certifications attained through AAPC, AHIMA, and other organizations. The average salary solely for AAPC-certified professionals is 8.7% higher.

As seen in the table below, additional medical coding certifications typically result in higher salaries. The salary for health information technicians with two credentials rises to an average of $64,890. Billing and coding specialists with three or more credentials earn an average of approximately $70,608 per year.

AVERAGE MEDICAL CODING SALARY BY CREDENTIAL

 Credential Median Salary
Certified Professional Biller (CPB™) $55,078
Certified Professional Coder (CPC™) $57,201
Certified Outpatient Coder (COC™) $65,028
Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P™) $62,612
Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC™) $63,191
Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC™) $64,882
Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA™) $69,172
Certified Documentation Expert-Outpatient (CDEO™) $69,987
Certified Professional Coder-Instructor (CPC-I™) $75,403
Certified Professional Practice Manager (CPPM™) $71,004
Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO™) $77,333
AVERAGE $62,175

In addition to competitive salaries, health information technicians, unless freelance or contracted, typically receive standard employment benefits—health, disability, and life insurance, paid time off (holiday, sick leave, vacation), and defined-contribution retirement plans. Many employers also offer paid professional association dues and paid continuing education.

Paid continuing education is a particularly valuable employee benefit, given the correlation between medical coding salaries and the credentials a coding specialist has attained. Other variables that weigh into the salary equation include experience, specialty, employer type, and location.

How Much Do Medical Coders Earn?

Medical coding salaries vary throughout the U.S. based on the employment cost index and consumer price index of the state in which the employing organization is located. The percent difference among the 50 states—with the highest average wages received in California and the lowest wages in Mississippi—is 47.66%.

Health information technicians employed in California average approximately $10 per hour more than billers and coders living in Mississippi. Again, this disparity in average state salaries mostly accounts for the costs of living in each state. A similar disparity is seen between urban and rural areas in each state.

From the table below, you can select your state to see an overview of salary information for your area. Each state page details average annual salaries by credential, education level, and overall healthcare work experience. If you’d like to apply your own filters to find specific medical coder salary information, use our Salary Calculator.

AVERAGE MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING SALARY BY STATE

State Average Salary Average Hourly Salary Regional Details
Alabama $ 49,881 $ 24.72 Alabama Salary Information
Alaska $ 59,579 $ 28.64 Alaska Salary Information
Arizona $ 55,785 $ 26.82 Arizona Salary Information
Arkansas $ 50,520 $ 25.03 Arkansas Salary Information
California $ 68,698 $ 33.03 California Salary Information
Colorado $ 60,162 $ 28.92 Colorado Salary Information
Connecticut $ 59,968 $ 29.72 Connecticut Salary Information
Delaware $ 55,049 $ 26.47 Delaware Salary Information
District of Columbia $ 66,053 $ 31.76 District of Columbia Salary Information
Florida $ 54,231 $ 26.87 Florida Salary Information
Georgia $ 52,804 $ 25.39 Georgia Salary Information
Hawaii $ 60,980 $ 29.32 Hawaii Salary Information
Idaho $ 51,375 $ 25.46 Idaho Salary Information
Illinois $ 55,210 $ 26.54 Illinois Salary Information
Indiana $ 51,741 $ 24.88 Indiana Salary Information
Iowa $ 52,152 $ 25.84 Iowa Salary Information
Kansas $ 53,271 $ 25.61 Kansas Salary Information
Kentucky $ 51,413 $ 24.72 Kentucky Salary Information
Louisiana $ 49,839 $ 24.70 Louisiana Salary Information
Maine $ 54,003 $ 25.96 Maine Salary Information
Maryland $ 59,486 $ 28.60 Maryland Salary Information
Massachusetts $ 62,148 $ 30.80 Massachusetts Salary Information
Michigan $ 52,692 $ 25.33 Michigan Salary Information
Minnesota $ 57,379 $ 27.59 Minnesota Salary Information
Mississippi $ 46,524 $ 23.05 Mississippi Salary Information
Missouri $ 54,170 $ 26.04 Missouri Salary Information
Montana $ 47,736 $ 22.95 Montana Salary Information
Nebraska $ 54,003 $ 26.76 Nebraska Salary Information
State Average Salary Average Hourly Salary Regional Details
Nevada $ 53,898 $ 25.91 Nevada Salary Information
New Hampshire $ 57,957 $ 27.86 New Hampshire Salary Information
New Jersey $ 63,270 $ 31.35 New Jersey Salary Information
New Mexico $ 52,646 $ 25.31 New Mexico Salary Information
New York $ 61,436 $ 29.54 New York Salary Information
North Carolina $ 55,352 $ 27.43 North Carolina Salary Information
North Dakota $ 54,792 $ 26.34 North Dakota Salary Information
Ohio $ 52,844 $ 25.41 Ohio Salary Information
Oklahoma $ 50,662 $ 25.11 Oklahoma Salary Information
Oregon $ 55,285 $ 26.58 Oregon Salary Information
Pennsylvania $ 53,457 $ 25.70 Pennsylvania Salary Information
Rhode Island $ 55,761 $ 27.63 Rhode Island Salary Information
South Carolina $ 50,610 $ 24.33 South Carolina Salary Information
South Dakota $ 51,653 $ 24.83 South Dakota Salary Information
Tennessee $ 54,732 $ 27.12 Tennessee Salary Information
Texas $ 57,802 $ 27.79 Texas Salary Information
U.S. Territory $ 40,298 $ 19.37 U.S. Territory Salary Information
Utah $ 55,966 $ 27.73 Utah Salary Information
Vermont $ 52,967 $ 25.46 Vermont Salary Information
Virginia $ 52,001 $ 25.00 Virginia Salary Information
Washington $ 57,063 $ 28.28 Washington Salary Information
West Virginia $ 47,553 $ 22.86 West Virginia Salary Information
Wisconsin $ 55,979 $ 26.91 Wisconsin Salary Information
Wyoming $ 54,667 $ 27.09 Wyoming Salary Information

Medical Coding Salary Ranges by Employer Type

The average medical coding salary varies by employer, with larger healthcare organizations offering higher compensation. Most health systems comprise 3 to 10 hospitals, as well as physician groups, urgent care clinics, and rehabilitation centers. As the largest employer type, health systems pay approximately 19.36% higher salaries than solo physicians or small group practices.

Similar to salary variations by state economies, larger companies with greater profit margins are able to afford more competitive compensation. This trend has proved consistent throughout 10 years of surveying salary by workplace. Health information technicians employed by large group practices earn the second highest salary, followed by coders and billers employed by hospital inpatient and outpatient facilities.

BILLING AND MEDICAL CODING SALARIES BY WORKPLACE

Healthcare Employer Type Average Salary
Health System $57,338
Large Group Practice (50 or more physicians) $55,209
Hospital Inpatient & Outpatient $54,606
Hospital Inpatient $53,018
Hospital Outpatient $50,526
Medium Group Practice (11-49 physicians) $49,392
Solo Practice/Small Group Practice (1-10 physicians) $48,038

The direct relationship between company size and salary range also remains consistent in year-over-year medical coder salary increases. We see the least movement among smaller employer types, which likely reflects financial constraints. Medical coders and billers, though, have many workplace options to choose from.

The emergence of telehealth and remote monitoring companies adds a new employer type to the list of organizations with billing and coding jobs. In addition to health systems, hospitals, and physician offices, specialists in coding and billing are needed by ambulatory surgery centers, walk-in clinics, accountable care organizations, assisted living and long-term care facilities, home health agencies, hospices, billing companies, consulting firms, software and durable medical equipment vendors, labs, imaging centers, insurance companies, government agencies, educational institutions, and some law offices.

What Are the Industry Trends in Medical Coding Salaries?

Medical coding salaries have maintained an upward trajectory over the past decade. In 2019, the AAPC Salary Survey showed a 5.8% average pay increase over the previous year—almost double the 3.1% increase across all industries, which had been the highest pay hike since 2008, according to the 2019 General Industry Salary Budget Survey.

Average Medical Billing and Coding Pay Increases by State

Not all states saw a 5.8% increase in medical coding and billing salaries in 2019. Compensation for health information technicians in Delaware dropped 10.68%. This represents the highest decline in the 50 states, including the U.S. territories. Delaware coders, however, had been among the highest paid in 2018, earning $29.63 per hour. Despite the downward shift in 2019, salaries in Delaware remain above the national median at $26.47 per hour.

This trend with the least gain in compensation seen among the 2018 top paying states was relatively consistent. In the 10 states listed below, ranked according to highest 2018 salaries, eight states fell below the 5.8% increase in medical coding and billing salaries, while six of these states fell below the 3.1% average salary increase across all industries.

SALARY INCREASES FOR 2018 HIGHEST PAYING STATES

  State 2018 Annual Salary 2019 % Change 2019 Annual Salary 2019 Per Hour
1 California $65,004 5.68% $68,698 $33.03
2 New Jersey $62,338 1.50% $63,270 $31.35
3 Delaware $61,630 -10.68% $55,049 $26.47
4 Maryland $60,165 -1.13% $59,486 $28.60
5 Colorado $59,808 0.59% $60,162 $28.92
6 Massachusetts $58,937 5.45% $62,148 $30.80
7 Connecticut $58,804 1.98% $59,968 $29.72
8 New Hampshire $57,623 0.58% $57,957 $27.86
9 Hawaii $57,438 6.17% $60,980 $29.32
10 New York $57,423 6.99% $61,436 $29.54

Again, coding specialists working in these 10 states continue to receive the highest salaries in the nation. The trend of the lowest financial growth occurring in the highest paying states, though, has several exceptions.

Historically, rural states offer lower compensation and see lower annual salary increases. This proved true in 2019. Average coding and billing salaries in Mississippi, Maine, and South Dakota declined by 0.06% to 1.23%. Other rural areas experienced pay increases, but many of these fell below the industry-wide average of 3.1%. Coding professionals in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Oklahoma saw their salaries increase by an average of 1.49%.

But this trend, too, has many exceptions. Professional coders in Wyoming, for instance, saw a significant 16.23% bump in salary. Surprisingly, other rural and lower paying regions make the list of top 10 states with the highest salary increases in 2019.

HIGHEST AVERAGE SALARY INCREASES BY STATE IN 2019

  State 2018 Annual Salary 2019 % Change 2019 Annual Salary 2019 Per Hour
1 District of Columbia $55,556 18.89% $66,053 $31.76
2 Wyoming $47,035 16.23% $54,667 $27.09
3 Vermont $47,540 11.41% $52,967 $25.46
4 Alaska $53,737 10.87% $59,579 $28.64
5 Rhode Island $50,984 9.37% $55,761 $27.63
6 Arkansas $46,286 9.15% $50,520 $25.03
7 Nebraska $49,715 8.63% $54,003 $26.76
8 Utah $51,561 8.54% $55,966 $27.73
9 Alabama $46,363 7.59% $49,881 $24.72
10 Indiana $48,151 7.46% $51,741 $24.88

Medical Coding Salary Trends Based on Educational Background

Although certification carries the most weight with employers, and does not require higher education to obtain, our survey shows an influence of education on medical billing and coding salaries. Health information technicians with no college education average $24.39 per hour, while those with some college or an associate degree average $26.37 per hour—almost 5% more annually. The hourly wage rises to $27.59 for professionals with a bachelor’s degree and $33.46 for coding specialists with a master’s degree.

In 2019, health information technicians with a bachelor’s or master’s degree saw salary increases of 8.62% and 18.20%, respectively. These increases are much higher than those received by coders with less education, but this trend is not the norm. In fact, salaries for degreed professionals dropped in 2018 and have fluctuated over the preceding decade. Cumulatively, since 2008, salaries for coders with master’s degrees have declined by 2.5%, while salaries for coders without college experience rose 28.93%.

Trend Salary

As seen in the above graph, a salary gap of more than $30,000 has occasionally separated the highest earners with master’s degrees from the lowest earners with no college experience. But this gap has narrowed to as little as $10,000. For health information technicians who bypassed the university route and trained solely in a coding certification program, this trend is welcomed news.

In contrast, billing and coding salaries by credential have consistently increased year after year. This trend reflects the increasing value placed on certification, which has become recognized as the most accurate and reliable measure of professional proficiencies. Certified medical coders have established a reputation of excellence within the healthcare industry, one that is attributed to industry-specific training and on-the-job experience.

AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY INCREASE BY CREDENTIAL

 Credential 2019 2018 % Pay Increase 5 Year % Pay Increase
Certified Professional Biller (CPB) $57,201 $54,401 5.15% 14.33%
Certified Professional Coder (CPC) $65,028 $59,129 9.98% 12.74%
Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) $62,612 $59,217 5.73% 5.37%
Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P) $63,191 $56,045 12.75% 14.76%
Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) $64,882 $61,295 5.85% 5.87%
Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC) $69,172 $66,886 3.42% 8.62%
Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA) $69,987 $69,029 1.39% N/A 
Certified Documentation Expert-Outpatient (CDEO) $75,403 $71,192 5.91% 4.15%
Certified Professional Coder-Instructor (CPC-I) $55,078 $52,333 5.25% 7.17%
Certified Professional Practice Manager (CPPM) $71,004 $69,835 1.67% 17.15%
Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO) $77,333 $74,043 4.44% 8.16%

In 2019, salaries based on coding credentials increased above the industry-wide average of 3.1%. The two exceptions, CDEO and CPPM, have seen substantial pay hikes in the past few years. CDEO salaries, for example, rose 7.2% in 2018.

But of all the credentials in 2019, coding specialists with CIC certification came out as the clear winners with an almost 13% pay hike. This boost in CIC compensation follows a 13% salary increase in 2018 and widens the gap between CIC and CPC compensation, with CICs now earning 10.47% higher salaries.

Inpatient coding is more complex than professional fee coding performed by CPCs working in physicians’ offices, and the CIC credential represents advanced training. Nonetheless, CPC salaries have exceeded CIC salaries until as recently as 2017. Prior to the last decade, most healthcare occurred in the physician’s office, but healthcare reform has changed the landscape. An increase in health systems and hospitals has created a greater demand for both inpatient and outpatient coders.

Medical Coding and Billing Salaries Based on Trends in Employer Types

While healthcare reform has been on political agendas since the early 20th century, actual reform is a recent occurrence. Modern legislation has impacted both the availability of medical treatment and the business side of healthcare. As a corollary to these developments, medical coding salaries will continue to climb.

Heightened reimbursement pressure on independent physicians has given rise to a trend of consolidation between hospitals and physician practices. Nationwide, physicians are entering into employment arrangements with health systems in a mass exodus from private practice.

In a span of six years, the percentage of hospital-employed physicians increased by more than 70%. During the same period, all U.S. regions saw an increase from 91% to 303% in hospital-owned practices, according to data compiled by the Physicians Advocacy Institute.

Employed physicians now—for the first time in U.S. history—outnumber self-employed physicians. And this trend is observed in the AAPC Salary Survey.

Only 9.5% of respondents reported working for small physician practices in 2019. This number represents a tremendous shift from 37.2% in 2015. Of the most predominant employer types listed below, more than 52% of medical coders and billers now work for the largest employer types (health systems, hospital inpatient and outpatient, and large group practices).

Where Medical Coding Work

As mentioned earlier, the larger the employing organization, the more it can afford to pay its employees. As more doctors forgo their independence for steady paychecks, coding professionals will continue to bank higher pay. This, in turn, will likely affect salary ranges for even small organizations, as entry-level positions typically receive compensation based on national averages.

Average Medical Coding Salary

As seen in the chart above, coding specialists employed in large group practices saw the largest salary increase, but professionals working in health systems continue to receive the highest pay.

What Is the Future Outlook for the Medical Coding Industry?

Medical coding and billing careers offer health information technicians favorable job prospects, to say the least. The demand is so high that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists medical coding among the 20 fastest growing occupations.

The Affordable Care Act has played a role in the demand for medical coders by ensuring that more people are eligible for medical care. In 2018, according to the most recent stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “more” is defined as upwards of  1.4 billion patient visits in that year. Considering every patient encounter by every healthcare provider requires coded documentation and records, it’s not surprising that medical coding is among the most sought-after healthcare careers.

Job security factors into quality of life, which is one reason why medical coding is a good career choice. Despite economic fluctuations impacting employment opportunities for most professions, the need for healthcare professionals, including health information technicians, is at a historic high—and will remain so.

Not only has the U.S. Baby Boomer generation—20% of our population—reached its golden years, but the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 78 million people age 65 and over will increase 55% by 2030. Given the rise in chronic conditions prevalent among this population, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) anticipates a shortfall of nearly 105,000 physicians by 2030. This shortage extends to medical coders and billing specialists who support hospitals and physician-based practices.

While legislation could potentially reverse the Affordable Care Act, the demand for medical billers and medical coders will continue to rise “much faster than the average for all occupations,” in keeping with our aging population, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the U.S. Department of Labor, estimates:

  • Employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 18.2% from now to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.
  • Additional records, coupled with widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) by all types of healthcare providers, will lead to an increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry.

Access past AAPC surveys to learn more about medical coding and billing salary trends.

How Can Medical Coders and Billers Increase Their Earning Potential?

The quickest route to a higher medical coding salary is education. Depending on your circumstances, you may have additional options as well.

Non-certified medical billers and coders perform the same work as their certified counterparts but earn substantially less. If you’ve learned the health information profession through on-the-job training and work experience, getting certified—and earning potentially 33% more annually—may be as simple as taking the CPB or CPC exam.

Newly certified professional coders receive the CPC-A credential. The “A” indicates apprenticeship status. Removing this status typically requires two years of coding experience. In 2019, 85% of surveyed CPC-As found employment. While this is a higher success rate than the 53% national average across all occupations, it still falls short of the 97.1% employment rate for CPCs.

But CPC-As can boost their employment value and potentially bypass entry-level positions by taking advantage of Practicode. This platform, created by AAPC, is an online tool designed to reinforce medical coding proficiency with concentrated, hands-on coding practice. The experience gained with Practicode equates with one year of on-the-job medical coding, allowing CPC-As to fast-track their apprenticeship status.

Specialty coders. If you’re a CPC working in a specialized physician’s office, consider adding specialty certification to your credentials. The median annual salary for medical coders with a specialty credential is $62,175. This is 8.7% higher than the median salary of $57,201 for non-specialized CPCs. Specialty certifications include:

Ambulatory Surgical Center (CASCC™) General Surgery (CGSC™)
Anesthesia and Pain Management (CANPC™) Hematology and Oncology (CHONC™)
Cardiology (CCC™) Interventional Radiology and Cardiovascular (CIRCC®
Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (CCVTC™) Obstetrics Gynecology (COBGC™)
Dermatology (CPCD™) Ophthalmology (COPC™)
Emergency Department - CEDC™) Orthopedic Surgery (COSC™)
Evaluation and Management (CEMC™) Pediatrics (CPEDC™)
Family Practice (CFPC™) Rheumatology (CRHC™)
Gastroenterology (CGIC™) Urology (CUC™)

Broaden your role with advanced certification. In addition to specialty training, certified professional coders can branch into inpatient and outpatient coding outpatient coding, bringing more diversity to their role in health systems, as well as opening the door to working in other healthcare settings.

Risk adjustment coding is also a key skillset you can to bring to the table. Used in all healthcare settings (inpatient, outpatient, physician practice), risk adjustment coding plays a monumental role in securing reimbursement, as well as MACRA incentive pay. Employers profit greatly from staffing CRCs—so much so that employers will typically pay for CRC training— even those who don’t typically pay for employee education. Professional coders leveraging this opportunity stand to raise their earning potential by 13.43%.

Career longevity for medical coders and billers should encourage those who have recently chosen the profession. Survey respondents in 2019 report a median 12.6 years in the industry. And with medical coding experience comes skills and knowledge that crossover into in several high-paying healthcare business roles, including practice management, medical auditing, compliance, and clinical documentation improvement.

If you’re willing to take on broader responsibilities, you might consider pursuing a supervisory role or training to become a Certified Professional Practice Manager (CPPM). While salary ranges vary based on employer type, medical and health services managers earned a median annual salary of $99,730 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Backing your experience with advanced certification is a smart move and will deliver greater financial rewards.

Top 3 Health Information Technician Earners in 2019

Credential Average Annual Salary
Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO) $77,333
Certified Professional Coder - Instructor (CPC-I) $75,403
Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA®) $71,004

New Employment Opportunities. Annual pay increases could be restricted by your current base salary, and you may need to consider changing jobs if you’re not getting the raise you deserve. This is a truism applicable to all industries. Potential employers aren’t bound by previous salaries, and the biggest gains are typically won during the hiring process.

But the advantages of changing jobs within the medical coding industry are even more promising, given that salaries vary by employer type and employer location. Deciding to leave a small group practice for a large group practice, for example, automatically elevates your earning potential by 14.93%.

You also have location opportunities to consider. As you know, salaries among the 50 states can vary by almost 50%. Does that mean you need to move from Louisiana to New Jersey to earn more? Not in today’s world.

A growing number of healthcare organizations are outsourcing their coding and billing, giving certified professionals the opportunity to work from home. Among 2019 survey respondents, 33.8% report working remotely, and most of these are employed by out-of-state organizations. This trend has remained consistent for several years. Health information technicians living in rural regions can earn urban wages.

Steps to Becoming a Medical Coder


Why Choose AAPC for Your Billing and Coding Training?

AAPC is the world’s largest association representing medical coders, billers, auditors, compliance officers, and practice managers. For more than three decades, AAPC-trained CPBs and CPCs have established an unwavering reputation of excellence. The titles of Certified Professional Biller and Certified Professional Coder comes with high expectations, trust, and respect. AAPC's billing and coding programs will prepare you to earn your credential—and help you to maintain your expertise with countless resources exclusively available to our members. Additionally, you become part of a large nationwide network of professional coders with local chapters, online forums and more to help you with anything from specific coding advice to career advice.

Prepare for your certification today and get your future started!

Got Questions?

Visit our medical billing and coding training pages to learn more about a career in medical billing and coding—or contact an AAPC Career Counselor online, via email, or by calling 800.626.2633 for a free consultation.

You can also view AAPC’s latest salary survey report for additional insights into medical coding salary trends. Employers and employees can use this survey or our  Salary Survey Calculator to determine appropriate compensation plans based on specific parameters. You can also take the salary survey to contribute your data to our findings.



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