Did you know that medical billing and coding is expected to grow at a rate of 13% for the next 7 years? That’s much higher than the average of 7%!
You are interested in a career where you can save lives? Whether you’re looking for a career change or a direction in life, medical billing might be for you. After all, it pays well and has a steady growth trajectory for the next several years, so you won’t be hurting to find a job!
Curious how this job can be yours? Read on to find out how to become a medical biller!
What Is a Medical Biller?
Medical billers help patients, insurance companies, and healthcare facilities navigate healthcare’s business side. This job is essential for preventing medical mistakes, keeping costs down, and updating medical history.
For example, medical billers review records, submit insurance claims, and manage payments. The coding aspect of the job makes sure patient data remains confidential but accurate. Incorrect medical coding can be deadly.
So, what traits are essential for being a good medical biller? First, you have to be great at communication. After all, you’re a conduit between patients, doctors, and insurance companies.
You also need to have good attention to detail to avoid any fatal coding errors. Being good with computers will help you learn the software programs used for the job.
As with most jobs in the healthcare sector, you need to be good at multitasking. Interruptions can occur at any point, so you must be able to switch back and forth. You also need to be ethical to make sure you uphold HIPAA privacy standards.
Finally, you need to have thick skin because this job has unique emotional demands. For example, you may have to bill for death or serious illness, which may upset you. And working closely with the patient and their families can make that difficult.
But also remember that you’re saving lives. For some, this reward far outweighs the emotional negatives associated with the job.
So, do you think this is the right career for you? Next, we’ll cover how to become a medical biller.
How to Become a Medical Biller: Educational Requirements
First thing’s first: you need a high school diploma or your GED. Next, you’ll want to enroll in a medical billing program. There are two routes you can take for your medical billing education: a certificate program or an associate degree program.
These programs can be anywhere from a few months to 1 year long. These programs teach you about basic medical terminology and laws regulating healthcare.
While a certification program isn’t necessary, it makes you a much stronger candidate. Consider taking an online program at your leisure, like this great course offered by Expert Rating.
Note that a certification program does not actually result in certification. You’ll still need to take a certification test before you can call yourself a “certified medical biller”.
Associate Degree Programs
An associates degree will take two years to complete. It doesn’t have to be a medical billing degree. Health information management is one of the more common names for an associates degree that will help you succeed in this field.
Candidates with degrees often have a better chance at employment. An associates degree program will be a more in-depth exploration of the medical billing field. It will also train you for other potential roles in healthcare.
Having experience with many roles might come in handy later when seeking promotions as well!
Becoming a Medical Biller: Getting Certified
While it’s not a required, getting a medical billing certification can help you land the perfect job or get a raise at your current one. Regardless of the educational option you choose, you’ll want to make sure that it prepares you for a certification exam.
Because certification isn’t required, there are several certification options out there. But here are three of the most common:
- American Medical Billing Association (AMBA)
- American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
- American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
AHIMA actually offers two certifications. There’s the certified coding associate (CCA) for newbies and the certified coding specialist (CCS) for coders with years of experience.
Once you decide which certification you’d like to pursue, submit an application to take the exam on the organization’s website. They’ll help you set up a date and find a location in your area (or set up a time to take it online). Some require letters of recommendation or employer verification, so bring these with you.
Note that some organizations require you to have two years of experience before taking the exam. This may mean that you’ll have to do an internship or get a lower paying entry level job before you can achieve certification. Be sure to check out the requirements and get any necessary experience before your exam, so you aren’t out the exam fee.
Finally, even after certification, you’ll have to update it every few years. That’s because the field of medicine is always changing. You’ll need a certain number of continuing education credits before you can get your recertification.
Now You Know How to Become a Medical Biller!
Now you know all the necessary steps for how to become a medical biller. If you’re looking for a job with great growth outlook that can help save lives daily, this just might be the career for you.
Are you interested in learning more about medical education? Check out more articles on The Emory Wheel for all the latest in the field of medical education!