Guide to the Educational Path of Becoming a Medical Biller and Coder

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Becoming a medical biller and coder can grant you access to several healthcare career options. Medical billers and coders are in demand in pretty much every kind of clinical facility, including hospitals, physicians’ offices, and more. You’ll have the advantage of a fast-track education, plenty of certification options, better employment opportunities, and a good starting salary. What’s not to love?

If you want to become a medical biller and coder, you first need to understand what you’ll be doing, which program to choose, and what kind of training is required. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting into the field, from contemplation to graduation. Let’s begin! 

What You’ll Do

The medical field has very specific policies and processes when it comes to billing. Due to the nature of insurance, federal programs, and the for-profit model that many healthcare providers follow, it’s not a straightforward process. The medical billers and coders act as a sort of “translator” for the medical forms detailing procedures, medications, etc. Doctor’s notes are translated into standardized medical codes, which are then included on the invoice to be sent off to the insurance companies.

Since medical terms, procedures, etc., can differ across states, individual practitioners, and institutions, this code was created as a way to standardize these terms to make billing and payments easier. You’ll be responsible for translating notes and documents into standardized codes, then billing the appropriate insurance agency for the cost. 

This is an important job, and one that requires attention to detail, patience, and plenty of training to ensure you’re using the right codes. Millions of Americans cannot afford their medical costs without insurance, so billers and coders are crucial to the process.

The Right Program

Now that we better understand what a medical biller and coder does, let’s look into what it takes to become one. First, you’ll need to choose the right program for your training. There are medical billing and coding online courses available from top schools like UMA that can get you certified quickly. The faster you can become certified, the faster you can enter the field and start earning money.

There are also in-person learning programs available, as well as a few work-at-your-own-pace programs. These programs are perfect for people who don’t do well in a typical education setting, have children, or simply want to take their time. 

Earning A Certification Or Degree

Once you’ve completed your medical billing and coding coursework, have two options to choose from. You can either go on to earn an associate’s degree in your field, or you can opt for a certification. Each has its pros and cons, and some medical institutions will require a degree in order to work for them. However, in most cases, a certification should be enough. 

Passing The CPC Exam

To gain your certification, you’ll need to pass the AACP’s CPC exam. This will grant you the title of “Certified Professional Coder”, and from there, you can go on to work in the field. Or, you can take a look at the dozens of specialty certifications that are available from the AACP. 

Specialty Certifications

While a basic certification is enough to get you working right away, there are several other certifications you can acquire to expand your employment options and even increase your salary. There are around 18 specialty certifications on the AACP website, so you have plenty of options to choose from. 

Where You Can Work

The great thing about becoming a biller and coder is that you can pretty much work anywhere. Even the smallest physicians’ offices need someone to translate documents into the standardized codes for billing. If you want to work in a hospital setting, there are plenty of positions for billers and coders across the country. You won’t find this level of versatility with many other entry-level certifications. 

What You Might Make

As a certified medical biller and coder, your salary might differ by state and the organization you’re working for. Some coders can make as much as $50,000 per year, while the entry-level salary is usually somewhere between $35,000 and $43,000 per year. When you gain specialty certifications, you might be able to command a few extra dollars per hour for your specialized knowledge. Again, this depends on the organization you’re working for. 

Another advantage to becoming a coder/biller is that you’ll usually have access to a benefits package if you’re working full-time in a medical setting.

Final Thoughts

To be in the best position possible to get the job we recommend you use a resume template. This will ensure that your resume is up to the highest standard and thus improve your chances vastly. Becoming a medical biller and coder only takes a few months in most programs, and you’ll be entering a field that’s in high-demand through at least 2029. Billers and coders are a crucial part of the medical field, and you’ll be responsible for ensuring patients get their bills paid.

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