This article talks about how to become a Medical Biller or Medical Coder. Due to the economic downturn, many people are seeking to continue their education and enter new fields. One field that currently has a shortage and is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace is the medical billing and coding industry, making this an ideal field for those seeking a new career path.
Besides a passion for the field, the first consideration of most people when determining which career to pursue is pay. Currently, the average salary for a first year medical coder is approximately $39,000. This figure increases with more education and years of experience.
For many, medical billing and coding can be a lucrative career, especially considering that there are options to train at home and even to work from home after certifications have been achieved. As coders gain more experience they also gain more opportunities, such as working at contract positions. These positions sometimes pay housing expenses in addition to a higher salary.
Details on How to Become a Medical Biller or Medical Coder
Once the decision has been made to pursue certification in medical coding or billing, several factors need to be considered. It is important to select a program that is accredited by the AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) and to research when and where the certification exams are within the nearby region.
The main goal of coding programs is to prepare students for the certification exam. Before beginning any coding classes, students must have completed the pre-requisites of medical terminology and anatomy with passing grades. Basic English competency is also required for most programs in the United States.
To prepare for the exam students can choose from an online or traditional classroom curriculum. There are also numerous study guides, practicum, and simulation exams available to ensure that students are fully prepared. Those who are aware of how to become a Medical Biller or Medical Coder are in the best position to be ready to succeed in this kind of educational setting.
Medical coders assign specific numeric and alphanumeric codes to medical procedures and services to ensure that doctors and hospitals can be paid. There are three types of coders:
RHIT – Registered Health Information Technician – This position ensures the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness and entering them into the proper computer system. They may also use specific software to analyze patient data to improve patient care or lower cost.
CCS – Certified Coding Specialist – Reviews patient records and assigns codes for each diagnosis and procedure. A CCS must be knowledgeable about medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology.
CCA – Certified Coding Associate – This is an advanced level coder that exhibits a level of commitment, competency, and professional capability that is appealing to employers.
This certification helps the coder to distinguish themselves from the non-credentialed coder and shows a commitment to the coding profession.
Those that work in medical coding and billing are key players in the healthcare workplace. For many who are interested in health occupations but are not equipped for highly physical jobs such as CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) or other types of nursing. Coding accuracy is vital to healthcare organizations and greatly impacts revenues and many coders find their work to be valuable and take pride in their work.
If you’re interested in the medical field, you may also want to consider How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist.
Armed with this information about how to become a medical biller or medical coder, you are well on your way to success in your career.