Medical Billing and Coding

Medical Biller and Coder vs Pharmacy Technician

Medical Biller and Coder vs Pharmacy Technician

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Key Points:

  • Medical Billers and Coders handle insurance claims and patient billing; Pharmacy Technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing medications and providing customer service.
  • Medical Billers and Coders typically earn higher salaries than Pharmacy Technicians.
  • Both fields are expected to see job growth.
  • Both jobs require formal training, but Pharmacy Technician training can be completed through certificate programs or associate's degrees, while Medical Billing and Coding often require a diploma or certification program.
  • Pharmacy Technician training is generally less expensive and takes less time, typically 6 months to 2 years, compared to 1 to 2 years for Medical Billing and Coding programs.

As the demand for healthcare services continues to grow, so does the need for professionals who can handle the administrative and technical aspects of medical care. Medical billers and coders and pharmacy technicians play crucial roles in ensuring accurate billing, coding, and medication dispensing. While their responsibilities may overlap in some areas, the specific tasks they perform and the skills required for each role are quite different.

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What is a Medical Biller and Coder and Pharmacy Technician?

Medical Biller and Coder

A medical biller and coder is responsible for translating medical procedures, diagnoses, and treatments into standardized codes for insurance billing and reimbursement purposes. They work closely with healthcare providers, insurance companies, and patients to ensure accurate and timely payment for medical services. Medical billers and coders also handle various administrative tasks, such as maintaining patient records, verifying insurance coverage, and submitting claims.

Pharmacy Technician

On the other hand, a pharmacy technician works closely with pharmacists to prepare and dispense medications to patients. They may also assist in inventory management, record-keeping, and customer service at pharmacies or other healthcare settings. Pharmacy technicians must have a strong understanding of pharmaceutical terminology, drug dosage calculations, and medication safety protocols to ensure the correct dispensing of medications.

Difference between a Medical Biller and Coder and Pharmacy Technician

While both medical billers and coders and pharmacy technicians contribute to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare services, there are several key differences between these two professions:

  1. Job Responsibilities

    • Medical billers and coders primarily focus on coding and billing processes, ensuring that healthcare services are accurately reported and reimbursed.
    • Pharmacy technicians, on the other hand, are responsible for preparing and dispensing medications, maintaining inventory, and providing customer service.
  2. Work Environment

    • Medical billers and coders typically work in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, or private practices. They may also find employment with insurance companies or medical billing companies.
    • Pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies, hospitals, or other healthcare settings where medications are dispensed. They may also work in retail pharmacies or specialty pharmacies.
  3. Required Skills

    • Medical billers and coders need to have a strong understanding of medical terminology, coding systems (such as ICD-10 and CPT), and insurance billing processes. Attention to detail and strong analytical skills are crucial for this role.
    • Pharmacy technicians must have solid knowledge of pharmaceuticals, drug interactions, dosage calculations, and medication safety protocols. Excellent communication and customer service skills are also essential in this role.
  4. Certification and Licensing

    • While certification is not always required for medical billers and coders, many employers prefer candidates who have completed a certification program, such as the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) or Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credentials.
    • Pharmacy technicians, on the other hand, must be licensed in most states. They are required to complete a pharmacy technician training program and pass a certification exam, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).

Medical Biller and Coder vs Pharmacy Technician: Job Description

Medical Biller and Coder

Medical billers and coders play a crucial role in the healthcare industry by ensuring accurate and timely billing and reimbursement for medical services. Some of the key responsibilities of a medical biller and coder include:

  • Translating medical procedures, diagnoses, and treatments into standardized codes for billing purposes.
  • Verifying patient insurance coverage and eligibility.
  • Submitting insurance claims and following up on unpaid or denied claims.
  • Reviewing medical records and documentation to ensure coding accuracy.
  • Collaborating with healthcare providers, insurance companies, and patients to resolve billing issues.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians are an integral part of the pharmacy team, assisting pharmacists in preparing and dispensing medications. The job responsibilities of a pharmacy technician may include:

  • Assisting pharmacists in filling medication prescriptions.
  • Compounding medications and preparing sterile products.
  • Maintaining inventory and ordering medications and supplies.
  • Providing customer service, answering phone calls, and addressing patient inquiries.
  • Ensuring accurate labeling and packaging of medications.

Medical Biller and Coder vs Pharmacy Technician: Education and Training

Medical Biller and Coder

To become a medical biller and coder, you typically need to complete a postsecondary certificate or associate degree program in medical billing and coding. These programs provide training in medical terminology, coding systems, insurance billing processes, and healthcare laws and regulations. Some programs also offer hands-on experience through internships or practicum opportunities.

Pharmacy Technician

The educational requirements for pharmacy technicians vary by state. Some states require completion of a formal training program, while others only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer pharmacy technician training programs that can be completed in less than a year. These programs cover topics such as pharmacology, pharmacy law and ethics, dosage calculations, and medication safety.

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Medical Biller and Coder vs Pharmacy Technician: Career Outlook and Salary

Medical Biller and Coder

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of medical records and health information technicians (which includes medical billers and coders) is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing demand for healthcare services and the transition to electronic health records are expected to drive this growth. As of May 2020, the median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $44,090.

Pharmacy Technician

The BLS projects that employment of pharmacy technicians will grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The demand for prescription medications is expected to increase as the population ages. As of May 2020, the median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $34,020.

Final Thoughts

Both medical billers and coders and pharmacy technicians play vital roles in the healthcare industry, but they have distinct differences in terms of job responsibilities, education and training requirements, and career outlook. If you have a strong interest in healthcare administration, coding, and billing processes, becoming a medical biller and coder may be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you have a passion for pharmaceuticals, medication dispensing, and customer service, a career as a pharmacy technician may be a better fit. Ultimately, the decision between these two professions should be based on your interests, skills, and long-term career goals.

Dreambound's programs extend across various locations. Visit these blogs for a thorough exploration of the two vocations, encompassing details on their requirements and insights on how to get started:

Blessed Joy Amarga
Written by
Blessed Joy Amarga

Blessed Joy Amarga is part of the Growth and Sales teams at Dreambound. She helps bring in new leads, increasing the number of people at the top of the sales funnel, and supporting the team in creating graphics to boost social media engagement. Blessed is also a Licensed Architect. Outside work, she enjoys traveling and exploring new places for her vlog.

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