How to Become a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
There’s a reason why the medical billing and coding profession is a rising star in today’s economy. According to the US Department of Labor, 80 percent of all medical records and health information technicians — medical billing and coding specialists, inpatient and outpatient coders, patient account representatives, and more — work at a professional level without a college degree. Even better, they enjoy an average annual salary of $40,350 and they work in a profession where opportunity is growing faster than the national average.
So, with an investment in your education, you can start a rewarding career in the healthcare field!
About Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
Medical billers and coders make sure that healthcare activities are properly recorded in patient health records. They see to it that services, diagnoses, and procedures are reported, billed, and reimbursed correctly. This requires a thorough knowledge of the coding system used for patient care, insurance, and billing.
- Medical coding matches medical procedures to a set of categories and descriptions.
- Medical billing ensures the charges for those activities are correctly captured and presented.
The two processes work closely together to form an important part of the healthcare system. By performing these important tasks, medical billing and coding specialists keep the healthcare industry operating efficiently. They are critical members of healthcare provider teams. And simply put, this is exactly why they are in great demand.
Preparing to be a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
There are three key steps to becoming a medical billing and coding specialist:
Qualifying to be a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) administers the official Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) credential. According to the NHA, you need a high school diploma or equivalency to begin your journey toward CBCS status.
NHA notes that a high school diploma, General Education Development (GED) test or credential approved by your state of residency is usually sufficient to begin study toward the CBCS.
Preparing to become a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
NHA recognizes two pathways to preparing your knowledge and skills for medical billing and coding.
- The first pathway is through training
- The second is through work experience
On the first pathway, you complete a training program dedicated to medical billing and coding. The program will be offered by a properly authorized school or course provider. The second pathway requires at least one year of work experience directly related to medical billing and coding within the past three years.
For most of us, the first pathway is a much more efficient choice. You can expect a medical billing and coding training program to provide knowledge about:
- Medical billing and insurance
- Medical terminology
- Basic and advanced medical coding
- Electronic medical records
- Legal and ethical issues in medical billing and coding
Certification for Medical Billing and Coding Specialists
Finally, to prove that you are ready to go to work as a medical billing and coding specialist, you will need to pass a certification exam, such as the CBCS exam offered by the NHA.
You can expect the certification exam to be challenging and to address areas such as:
- Regulatory compliance
- Claims processing
- Front-end duties
- Payment adjudication
- Knowledge of codes and coding
With a strong training courses and a recognized certification, you open up opportunities for a great career in the medical field.
Medical billing and coding specialists are in demand all over the healthcare industry, including hospitals, physician’s offices, surgery centers, home health agencies, and mental health facilities.
Our medical billing and coding courses prepares you for certification as a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist. It even includes a voucher to cover the certification exam fee.
- CBCS Medical Billing and Coding (Voucher Included)
- CPC Medical Billing and Coding (Voucher Included)
- ICD-10 Medical Coding
- Advanced Coding for the Physician's Office
- Advanced Hospital Coding and CCS Prep
Article by ed2go, our partner in online courses.
View all blogs