How Do I Become A Medical Biller and Coder?

How Do I Become A Medical Biller and Coder?So, you want to become a medical biller and/or coder? Often, the two are lumped together as the same job, when they’re actually two separate positions. Either way, you can get a billing and coding license and enter the field doing either-or, or even both—depending on the organization that you work for.

In this guide, we’ll focus on explaining some details of the job so you can get a better understanding of what you’re getting into. We’ll also show you the best path to take to get into the field and start earning a living in a stable, growing career option.

Here’s how you can become a medical biller and coder in no time!

Understand The Job

First and foremost, you should always fully understand any job you’re seeking out. You should know what your responsibilities might be, as well as any trends in the industry that could help or hinder your progress. As of now, the field is growing by about 8% in the next decade, so you should be able to find opportunities for employment once you graduate.

Being a medical coder means you’re acting as a sort of translator for medical documents. Every medical procedure, prescription, etc., has a standardized code assigned to it. It’s the job of the coder to assign each item a code, so the insurance companies can be billed accordingly. Without these codes, there is no payment—so you’re part of an essential piece of the healthcare industry.

Once the codes are set, they must be turned into an invoice. This is usually where billing and coding are separated, but for smaller organizations, there might be one biller and coder, or a small team of just a few people. In larger organizations, there might be coders and billers in separate positions. It all depends on the size of the organization and the volume of claims that come through.

Either way, you’ll be dealing with sensitive information, which means you need to be respectful of that fact and careful/responsible with the information that comes your way. Medical information is protected by HIPAA and a slew of other laws that keep the info safe and private.

Decide On An Education Route

Now that we understand the job description a bit better, let’s talk about your medical billing and coding training. You’ll need to decide on the best education route for you, and this is usually different for everyone. Some people want the notoriety and added perks of obtaining an associate’s degree, whereas others need a fast-track into a new career; and, therefore, seek out a certification instead.

In most cases, certification will only take about 10-12 months to obtain, depending on the program and how dedicated you are to finishing. There are thousands of schools out there that offer a medical billing and coding program, but you need to make sure the one you pick is accredited. Otherwise, your certification could mean nothing when you graduate.

Bear in mind that you’ll be paying full-price when you seek out an associate’s degree, which can cost thousands of dollars. In a lot of cases, obtaining a certification costs less than $10,000. Think about it—a ten-thousand-dollar investment could change your life forever in less than a year. I’d like to think that’s worth the gamble, wouldn’t you?

Whichever route you decide on, you’ll also need to make another financial decision about student loans. Some schools don’t actually offer federal student aid, but if you do take it, remember you’ll have to pay it back (with interest) upon graduation.

Certifications

There are several certifications you can obtain in the field, including a CPC, COC, CIC, CRC, and specialty coding certification, and a CPB certification for billing. Generally, the more certifications you obtain, the more opportunities you’ll have to both increase your salary and work in a higher position. So, don’t stop with one—expand your knowledge and your skills and you can make a nice living as a medical biller and coder.

Find Employment In The Field

After you graduate, you’ll need to find employment. Some training programs/schools actually offer post-graduation employment services, and some don’t. Either way, you need to first decide what kind of environment you want to work in. Make no mistake—this is a “desk” job, so you won’t be on the front lines helping save people’s lives. What you will be doing is ensuring that those people don’t get hit with the entirety of their medical bills. Coding for and billing insurance helps people in a more behind-the-scenes sort of way, but it’s still helping others.

The Bottom Line

Becoming a medical biller and coder can take as little as ten months, cost less than $10,000, and give you a fast-track into a rewarding and steady career field. First, understand the job, and seek out your education options. Remember to obtain as many certifications/specializations as you can in order to increase your chances for growth and salary increases. Good luck!

 

 

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