Becoming a Nurse Auditor: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about a nurse auditor's job description, salary, education and training requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a nurse auditor career.
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Pros and Cons of Being A Nurse Auditor

If your interests are in healthcare and finance, nurse auditor is a career worth considering. By becoming a nurse auditor, you can find yourself offering financial advice to hospitals and healthcare companies.

Since nurse auditors are licensed nurses, you'll need to graduate from a nursing program, which requires at least one year of post-secondary education. Consider the pros and cons of a nurse auditor position to decide if it's the right career for you.

Pros of Being a Nurse Auditor
Wide range of education qualifications (certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree)*
Potential for relatively high salary ($39,000-$77,000)**
Employers offer office and work-from-home positions*
Professional certifications available for career advancement***

Cons of Being a Nurse Auditor
Nursing licensure typically required****
Jobs usually requires 2-5 years of work experience****
Employers require applicants to have knowledge of industry-specific software****
Long work hours during the end of tax and budgeting year*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com, ***American Association of Clinical Coders and Auditors, ****CareerBuilder.com.

Essential Career Info

Job Description and Duties

Nurse auditors are usually employed by hospitals, insurance companies and medical clinics to audit financial statements for validity and accuracy. As a nurse auditor, your responsibilities will include examining medical records to ensure that patient bills are correct and making sure that insurance claims comply with government regulations. You'll also give advice on budget planning in order to cut the company's costs and increase profits. Strong communication skills are essential for nurse auditors because they spend much of their time contacting healthcare providers and clients to negotiate claims and solve billing issues.

Salary Info

In September 2015, auditors working in the healthcare industry earned salaries between $39,000 and $77,000, according to PayScale.com. Nurse auditors will likely be among the highest paid auditors since a survey conducted by the American Association of Medical Audit Specialists in 2010 reported that over half of medical auditors with a nursing degree earned average salaries of about $70,000.

Career Skills and Requirements

Most employers require nurse auditors to have many years of experience working as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or registered nurses (RNs). Because LPNs provide basic care to medical patients and work under the supervision of RNs, they only need one year of education and training. Nursing programs for aspiring LPNs can be completed at community colleges and technical schools. On the other hand, RNs spend 2-4 years earning certificates, associate's degrees or bachelor's degrees. All states require LPNs and RNs to pass different versions of the National Council Licensure Examination before they can practice nursing.

Useful Skills

As a nurse auditor, you'll need to use a range of interpersonal, analytical and technical skills to complete daily tasks. Based on job postings on CareerBuilder.com, qualifications to be a nurse auditor include:

  • Experience using billing and claims forms (UB, CMS and HCFA)
  • Knowledge of medical coding systems (ICD-9, HCPCS, DRG and CPT-4)
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Understanding of insurance plans, including Medicare
  • Strong organizational and computer skills

Job Postings from Real Employers

Job listings for nurse auditors generally request applicants with nursing degrees and several years of experience. They also list the specialized knowledge and skills candidates are expected to have. Below are a few examples of nurse auditor jobs opening during May 2012:

  • A company in Texas seeks a full-time nurse auditor who has three years of related work experience. The candidate needs a diploma or certificate from a nursing school. A bachelor's degree is preferred. Other requirements include knowledge of coding and medical related topics, including patient registration and insurance polices.
  • A healthcare company in New Jersey is looking for a licensed or registered nurse with 2-5 years of experience auditing. The positing lists knowledge of Microsoft Office and organizational skills as requirements.
  • A San Francisco, California hospital wants a candidate with at least three years of experience working as a registered nurse. Job requirements include a 4-year degree, knowledge of coding systems and experience in Utilization Review.
  • An Arizona healthcare company seeks candidates with strong analytical and communication skills to conduct medical audits for health facilities. The ideal candidate will have a diploma from an accredited nursing program, at least three years of work experience and a nursing license.

How To Stand Out In The Field

Nurse auditors who attain professional certification can receive several benefits. Not only does certification show your expertise and credibility to potential employers, it can help you earn a higher salary than auditors without certification. The American Association of Clinical Coders and Auditors (AACCA) is the only organization that certifies nurse auditors. To take the AACCA's certification exam, you'll need to be a registered nurse and have completed an approved education program or have at least one year of work experience. Another option is to become a Certified Professional Medical Auditor by the American Association of Professional Coders, which only requires passing an exam.

Alternative Careers

Medical Assistant

If you're interested in working in the medical field but don't want to spend years in post-secondary education, consider a career as a medical assistant. Medical assistants can find jobs with only high school diplomas, and many employers offer on-the-job training. Like nurse auditors, medical assistants have clerical duties, including recording medical and personal information and operating computer software. However, unlike nurse auditors, assistants interact with patients by monitoring vitals and administering treatments. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for medical assistants at approximately $29,000 as of May 2011.

Medical Transcriptionist

You can work with medical records without having to learn coding by becoming a medical transcriptionist. A transcriptionist converts a physician's voice-recorded reports into text documents, checks reports for errors and translates medical jargon. Like nurse auditors, you'll need extensive knowledge of medical terminology, pharmacology and anatomy. To become a transcriptionist, you must earn either a certificate or associate's degree in medical transcription. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for medical transcriptionists was around $33,000 in May 2011.

Budget Analyst

Alternately, you can become a budget analyst by earning a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as accounting, statistics or finance. As a budget analyst, you could provide financial advice for a private or public healthcare institution. The duties of budget analysts include reviewing budget proposals, evaluating the costs of programs, monitoring spending and estimating future costs. The median annual salary of budget analysts was about $69,000, according to the BLS as of May 2011.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • Accelerated BSN to MSN
      • MS in Nursing
      • Master of Science - DNP Family Nurse Practitioner
      • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult - Gerontology Practitioner
      • M.S. in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
      • Master: Nursing/Nurse Educator
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)
      • Bachelor: Health Science
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
    Certificate
      • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate
      • Nurse Educator Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
      • MS in Nursing: Generalist
      • MSN in Nurse Educator
      • MS in Healthcare Administration
      • MSM in Healthcare
      • MS in Nursing: Patient Quality and Safety
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
      • BS Business Admin w/conc in Healthcare Administration
      • BS Health Science
      • BS Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice
    Master's
      • Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
      • Master in Business Administration - Health Services Administration
    Bachelor's
      • RN to BSN
    Associate's
      • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    Master's
      • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
      • M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MS in Nursing: Nursing Education
      • MBA: Health Systems Management
      • MS in Health Care Administration
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)
      • BS in Health Care Administration
      • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Abilene Christian University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Advanced Practice Nurse
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Executive Nursing Leadership
    Master's
      • MBA - Healthcare Administration
      • Master of Healthcare Administration
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Nursing With a Concentration in Family
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Public Safety Leadership
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Healthcare Management and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • RN to Bachelor's in Nursing
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Assisting
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
      • Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Nursing (RN to BSN)
      • BA/Gerontology
      • B.A. - Health Care Admin
      • BS/Health Information Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Health Admin
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management - Health Care Management and Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration
      • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education
      • Master of Science in Healthcare Management
      • Master of Science in Management - Healthcare Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Health Care Management

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • Accelerated BSN to MSN
  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN (RN License Required)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Southern New Hampshire University

  • MS in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MS in Nursing: Generalist
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • BS Business Admin w/conc in Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner
  • RN to BSN
  • Associate of Sciences - Medical Assistant

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • MBA and MS in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems (dual degree)
  • BS in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to BSN)

What is your highest level of education?

Abilene Christian University

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Advanced Practice Nurse
  • MBA - Healthcare Administration
  • Master of Healthcare Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • Master of Science - Nursing With a Concentration in Family
  • RN to Bachelor's in Nursing
  • Diploma: Medical Assisting

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Ashford University

  • BS in Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • BA/Gerontology
  • B.A. - Health Care Admin

What is your highest level of education?