What Training Do I Need For A Medical Billing and Coding Job?

Training for a medical coding or billing job can be easy and fun, but you must understand the type of training you need for each job. Failure to research the requirements for these jobs before choosing a school could mean that you are not receiving the training you need.

There are many scams out there that bilk customers out of thousands of dollars in fees for training that is essentially worthless in these fields. In order to be sure you have the right training for a career in medical coding and billing, follow the steps below as you choose your training program.

1) Choose your field. Medical billing and coding are not the same thing, although they are often lumped together, especially by training programs that are not accredited. There are actually programs specializing in only medical coding, only medical billing, or both together; however, the programs that cover both medical billing and coding will take longer to complete and require two separate certification tests.

You should also consider sub-groups of medical coding as separate fields if you want to train for mastery in those areas. There are several different coding certifications that focus on specialized practice areas. If you already know you want to specialize in coding for a heart specialist, for example, there is a certification that specializes in only that field. However, it is far more common for an entry-level coder to obtain a general coding certification through a general program, then add the specializations later. Unless you have a job already lined up or are going back to school to get certification in a field in which you are already working, this is probably the path you want to take.

2) Choose your instructional program. If you have narrowed down your choice of career path, this should not be difficult. Search for accredited schools that offer the program you want. It is important to find a program that is accredited by the agency that will offer your certification examination. These schools have curriculum that is aligned with the standards used on these tests, so your training will be useful when you take the examination. A non-accredited program may not offer the same type of training and you may be ill-prepared to take the certification test.

3) Take your certification examination. It is important to be certified in your field area. While you can find a job without certification, there are many advantages to being certified that you want to consider. First, certification shows an employer that you are a professional and that you understand your job. Second, certification lets an employer know that you are worth more money as an employee. Finally, certification lets employers know that you are serious about your career and will not take just “any old job” to make ends meet.

Certification examinations are offered by organizations that govern the standards for medical coding and billing in various areas. There are several certification tests, each designed for a different purpose.

• The CPC®, or Certified Professional Coder, examination is offered by the American Association of Professional Coders and is considered the “general” exam for medical coding. Many coders begin with certification through this examination.

• The CPC-H® is the test for Certified Professional Coder-Hospital. This test focuses on the language and coding needs of hospitals rather than doctor’s offices. Combined with the CPC® this certification is one of the broadest in the medical coding field.

• The CPC-P®, or Certified Professional Coder—Payer, test certifies you to work for an insurance company, the government, or other third-party payment organization. This is the “other side” of medical coding from a doctor’s office or hospital. In many cases, coders who specialize in payment may also work toward an auditing certification.

• CIRCC® and other specialty coding certifications offer you a chance to branch out into over 20 specialized fields of medicine. You can choose your area and take a very specific test for coding only in that field. Some specialists are more likely to hire someone who has certification in their particular field, and it is more likely that you will grasp the financial functions of the doctor’s office more quickly if you have this specialty certification.

• AMBA®, or American Medical Billing Association, offers certification for those who want to specializing in the billing aspects of practice rather than coding.

4) Enjoy your new job! As a medical biller or coder you will experience a growing field and top pay for your hard work. Begin the process of becoming a medical biller or coder today by visiting our web pages and choosing a program that works for you.

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