Medical Billing and Coding

Medical Biller and Coder vs PALS

Medical Biller and Coder vs PALS

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Key Points:

  • Medical billers and coding focus on processing insurance claims and maintaining medical records; PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) providers are trained in emergency pediatric care.
  • Medical billers and coding typically earn a higher average salary than PALS providers.
  • Both jobs are in high demand.
  • Medical Billing and Coding programs can be completed online or in person, while PALS training is usually done in person through accredited organizations.
  • Medical Billing and Coding programs can range from a few months to two years, with varying costs, while PALS training is typically a one-day course with a more affordable cost.

The healthcare industry offers a wide range of career options, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. Understanding the differences between medical billing and coding and PALS can help you determine which path aligns better with your interests and goals. Let's take a closer look at each of these fields.

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What is a Medical Biller and Coder and PALS?

Medical Biller and Coder:

Medical billers and coders play a crucial role in the healthcare system by ensuring accurate billing and coding for medical services. They are responsible for translating medical records into standardized codes, which are used for billing and insurance purposes. Medical billers and coders work closely with healthcare providers, insurance companies, and patients to ensure proper reimbursement and payment.


Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) is a specialized training program designed for healthcare providers who work with pediatric patients. PALS certification equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to assess and manage critically ill or injured children. PALS providers are trained to perform life-saving interventions, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), advanced airway management, and medication administration.

Difference between a Medical Biller and Coder and PALS

While both medical billers and coders and PALS providers work in the healthcare industry, there are significant differences between the two roles:

  1. Job Focus:
  • Medical billers and coders primarily focus on the administrative aspect of healthcare, ensuring accurate coding and billing for medical services.
  • PALS providers, on the other hand, have a clinical focus and are trained to provide advanced life support to pediatric patients in emergency situations.
  1. Responsibilities:
  • Medical billers and coders review medical records, assign appropriate codes, and submit claims for reimbursement.
  • PALS providers assess and manage critically ill or injured children, performing life-saving interventions and coordinating care with other healthcare providers.
  1. Work Environment:
  • Medical billers and coders typically work in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, or medical billing companies. They spend a significant amount of time working with medical records and coding software.
  • PALS providers can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, emergency departments, pediatric clinics, and ambulances.
  1. Required Skills:
  • Medical billers and coders need strong attention to detail, knowledge of medical terminology and coding systems, and proficiency in computer software.
  • PALS providers require excellent clinical skills, the ability to remain calm under pressure, and effective communication and teamwork skills.

Medical Biller and Coder vs PALS: Job Description

Medical Biller and Coder:

Medical billers and coders are responsible for a variety of tasks, including:

  • Reviewing and analyzing medical records to ensure accurate coding
  • Assigning appropriate codes to diagnoses, procedures, and services
  • Submitting claims for reimbursement to insurance companies
  • Resolving billing discrepancies and denials
  • Communicating with healthcare providers, insurance companies, and patients regarding billing and coding issues


PALS providers, on the other hand, are responsible for:

  • Assessing and managing critically ill or injured pediatric patients
  • Performing advanced life support interventions, including CPR, airway management, and medication administration
  • Coordinating care with other healthcare providers in emergency situations
  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families during critical times

Medical Biller and Coder vs PALS: Education and Training

Medical Biller and Coder:

To become a medical biller and coder, individuals typically need:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent
  • Completion of a medical billing and coding program, which can be obtained through vocational schools, community colleges, or online courses
  • Knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, and coding systems, such as ICD-10 and CPT
  • Proficiency in coding software and electronic health record (EHR) systems


Becoming a PALS provider involves the following steps:

  • Completion of a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification program
  • Attending a PALS course, which includes both didactic and hands-on training
  • Successfully passing the PALS certification exam
  • Renewing the certification every two years through continuing education and retesting

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Medical Biller and Coder vs PALS: Career Outlook and Salary

Medical Biller and Coder:

The career outlook for medical billers and coders is promising, with a projected growth rate of 8% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the healthcare industry continues to expand, the demand for skilled medical billers and coders is expected to increase. The median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians, which includes medical billers and coders, was $42,630 in May 2020.


PALS providers, on the other hand, fall under the broader category of healthcare practitioners and technical occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide specific data for PALS providers. However, healthcare practitioners and technical occupations, as a whole, are projected to grow by 15% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations was $68,190 in May 2020.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as a medical biller and coder or pursuing PALS training depends on your interests, skills, and career goals. If you enjoy working with medical records, attention to detail, and administrative tasks, a career as a medical biller and coder may be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you have a passion for pediatric care, clinical interventions, and working in high-pressure situations, pursuing PALS certification may be the right choice.

Ultimately, both medical billing and coding and PALS offer unique opportunities to contribute to the healthcare field. Consider your personal strengths and interests when making a decision, and remember that there are many other healthcare career paths available if neither of these options feels like the right fit for you.

Ensuring accessibility for individuals seeking growth, Dreambound strategically places its educational programs in various locations. Delve into a more comprehensive understanding of the exciting opportunities within these two vocations by visiting:

Pia Yapjoco
Written by
Pia Yapjoco

Pia Yapjoco is part of the school growth and sales team at Dreambound. She helps facilitate school partnerships that expand educational opportunities for aspiring students in allied health and other trades. Beyond work, she curates her pup's Instagram, hunts for hidden coffee gems, and escapes into cozy gaming.

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