The medical billing and coding field, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists as one of the fastest growing occupations, needs you. Expanding healthcare options and expanding medical centers has led to an expanding need for medical billing and coding professionals. But they cannot find adequately trained personnel to fill these positions.
That’s where you come in.
In as little as 9 months, you can start your new career in this field. All you need is a medical billing and coding certificate.
What is Medical Billing and Coding?
Medical billers assign codes to medical procedures, illnesses, and injuries. Doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and even government bodies use the codes, which are consistent across the medical industry, for billing and data collection purposes. These codes are even used by national health agencies to calculate the rate, and cost, of particular illnesses.
How Do I Start?
To become a medical coder, you will need formal training in the field. Medical coders deal with intricate medical and accounting information, and they do so using a special coding system. This requires intensive pre-employment training. The quickest way for you to enter this field is to earn a medical billing and coding certificate.
How Do I Get this Certificate?
Career and community colleges offer medical billing and coding certificate degrees. These programs can be completed in 9 months to 1 year. These programs can be completed so quickly because all of the courses focus on the job of medical coding and billing. There are few, or no, liberal arts requirements in medical billing and coding certificate programs.
But before you enroll in any program, make sure that it is accredited by either the American Academy of Professional Coders or the American Health Information Management Association. If you want to become certified after graduation, your school must either be accredited by at least one of these two agencies or by one of these six regional accrediting agencies:
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC)
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NASC)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS)
What Courses Will I Take for the Program?
Your education will be a broad-based one. Medical coders need to know such varied topics as accounting, medical terminology, insurance claim procedures, medical illness, and office administration. Some of the courses that you will take, therefore, will likely include:
- Insurance claim procedures. Medical coders need to know the process of insurance claim submission.
- Physiology. To be a medical coder, you will need to know how the various organs of the body work. You will also need to know about common illnesses and diseases.
- Medical Terminology. In order to perform your job properly—or at all—you need to learn all the medical terminology that you will be likely to encounter in your job.
- Medical coding. Currently, there are three different coding methods that you’ll need to learn:
- Current Procedural Technology (CPT)
- International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9-CM)
- Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)