If you are thinking of entering the medical billing field, there are two options in front of you. You can get a job with a hospital or other healthcare facilities or you can start your very own home-based medical billing business.

There are advantages and disadvantages of both the options and it’s important that you take stock of your own situation, personality type, and the demand for medical billing services in your area before you choose one over the other.

However, before you do anything, make sure you have the right credentials. And what are those credentials? Formal medical billing and coding training, professional certification, a little bit of experience and lots of contacts complete the list of prerequisites.

Medical Coding: Career VS Business

Here’s how a career in medical coding weighs against a home-based business in the field:

1. Job Security: Having a career or a job with an established hospital or any other healthcare facility provides a sense of security. A regular job offers stability, at least against the temporary ups and downs in the business. Unfortunately, it won’t be the case with a home-based business in medical billing. Any slowdown in the business, however transient, is likely to have an impact on your bottom-line. If you are risk-averse and weak of heart, then it’s best to steer clear of entrepreneurship of any kind.

2. Flexibility: Having a home-based business means that you have the flexibility to work on your own schedule and are not bound by a 9-6 office routine. However, not having a routine should not be confused with lack of discipline. You will need oodles of discipline to make your home-based medical coding business a success. But for some people, especially those who are creatures of habit, it’s difficult to function outside a routine. They need to have a fixed start and end to their work day, which means they are best suited for an office job.

3. Be your own boss: Imagine how liberating it can be to work for yourself. There’s no one to report to; no one looking over your shoulder; no one to bounce your ideas of before they can be executed; no one to tell you how things ought to be done. No one is in control of your professional success but yourself. All this is possible if you start your home-based business in medical billing.

4. Accountability: If you own a home-based business, there’s just no getting around the fact that you have to take ownership for everything that happens – the good, the bad, and even the ugly. If you mess up on a deliverable, there won’t be anyone sticking their neck out to protect you. If there are missed payments, it will directly impact your cash flows and you will have to follow up with the client because there won’t be a salary at the end of the month to fall back on.

5. Need for networking: It’s safe to assume that the need for networking and marketing is a lot more if you start your home-based business. You require contacts not just to kick-start your business, but also to keep it running and viable. It’s not like a job – once you get in, you pretty much stay in. You also have to keep your clients in good humor and maintain a cordial relationship with them all the time in order to retain their business.

6. Potential to earn: All the money you make from your home-based business, after taxes, is yours to keep. You can also decide your own rates depending on the services you provide unlike a job where you get a fixed salary. However, you will miss out on benefits like health insurance and paid leave if you are not an employee.

Execution Time

Once you have taken a call whether a job or a business it will be, it’s time to start putting your plan in to action mode. The first step, as described earlier, is to get the required credentials. Complete a medical billing and coding training program from a career school or college.

After you are through with your medical billing course, acquire certifications from organizations like the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Then it’s time to set the ball rolling on your next move.

Whether you plan to start a business or obtain a job, you need to make sure you make use of every possible platform to look for available opportunities – your local healthcare facilities, online medical coding communities, job search engines, professional and social networks. The more you connect, the better will be your chances of success!

Author's Bio: 

Nancy is a 36-year old stay at home mom of two. She worked as a medical assistant for five years before taking a break to be with her children. Her experience as a medical assistant gave her valuable insights in to the medical transcription industry, which she likes to share with others through her writing. Medical transcription training often finds mention in her writings. Being an SAHM, Nancy is a huge exponent of online vocational training programs that provide women like her the power to be their own boss.

Her other interests include gardening and baking. She stays with her husband and two daughters.