Are you looking for a career in the medical field, but don’t want to spend 12 years going through medical school?
Are you interested in a job that puts you more behind the scenes instead of directly working with patients?
If so, a career as a medical coder and biller may be for you.
But, how do you break into this field?
Check out this guide to learn how to become a medical coder and biller.
What Does a Medical Coder and Biller Do?
First things first, what exactly does a medical coder and biller do?
As a medical coding and billing specialist, you’ll work with other healthcare providers to help them run their practices more efficiently.
In this role, your main duty will be to ensure that insurance claims are correctly coded and processed in a timely manner.
As the name suggests, there are two main components to this career:
The coding component involves applying codes to healthcare treatments and diagnoses
The billing component involves billing patients, insurers, and others for the clinic’s medical services
In the medical coding portion of your job, you’ll be working to simplify things for insurers, healthcare providers, and other agencies.
There are universal identifiers that you’ll use for every illness, diagnosis, injury, treatment, and procedure.
In order to apply the correct codes, you must have a basic understanding of medical terminology.
When coding, you’ll rely on special sources such as Current Procedure Terminology, Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System, and the International Classification of Diseases to help you enter the right data.
With the medical billing portion of your job, you’ll prepare and send claims, invoices for payment.
Medical billing ensures that the provider receives fair payment for services rendered.
Medical billers deal with the billing patients and insurers for the clinic’s medical services.
They have a lot of trust in MedcareMSO which allows them to simplify things for insurers, healthcare providers and other respective agencies.
If the claim is rejected, you’ll apply the necessary corrections and then resubmit.
How to Become a Medical Coder and Biller
Now that you know a bit about the job of a medical coder and biller, it’s time to talk about how to become one.
Here are the steps you need to take:
Research Education Options
Once you’ve decided to become a medical coder and biller, it’s time to start researching education options.
The good news is that there are plenty of education options all over the nation, both online and in person.
If you like the idea of working at your own pace and on your own schedule, then online courses may be right for you.
However, keep in mind that you’ll need to have a lot of self-motivation to the online route.
When choosing a school, here are some things you should look for:
They should be accredited by a relevant accrediting body, like the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
Financial aid options
If the school prepares you for industry certification
If the school provides job training and career services
By keeping the above in mind, you’ll be able to settle on the right school.
Diploma vs Degree Program
Once you’ve settled on a school, it’s time to decide the type of program you wish to enroll in.
You can either choose to get a degree or get a diploma.
With an associate’s degree, you’ll have a more well-rounded education, which also means you’ll invest more time and money into your education.
Typically, it’ll take about two years of study to complete an associate’s degree.
Diplomas in medical coding and billing can typically be completed in as little as 11 months.
Here, you’ll focus mainly on the practical skills of your job and you won’t need to take any core classes that you would with an associate’s degree.
But, whether you choose the diploma or degree route, there are certain courses that you’ll need to complete.
These typically include:
*Billing and coding applications
*Medical ethics, law, and record management
*Anatomy and physiology
*Healthcare claim cycle, settings, and claims processing
After completing your degree or diploma, you’re one step closer to becoming a medical coder and biller.
Take the Certification Exam
After completing your education, it’s time to prepare for the CPC, or the Certified Professional Coder exam.
This exam is offered by the AAPC, and while it’s not required to work in medical coding and billing, for many employers, it’s a required job qualification.
Start the Job Hunt
After passing your certification exam, it’s time to start the job hunt.
Typically, the best way to find medical coding and billing jobs is to do a quick internet search for jobs in your area.
Also, because you’re just starting this career path, make sure you’re searching for entry-level jobs.
In addition, here are some extra tips to help you land a job:
Make Your Online Presence Professional
When searching for new hires, a lot of employers will turn to social media to vet who you are even before they interview you.
So, make sure all of your social media profiles are boasting professional photos of yourself.
And, if you have anything on your profile that could be perceived as unprofessional, either take it down or privatize your profiles.
We also suggest setting up a Linkedin account to bolster your professional appearance.
Take Advantage of AAPC Chapter Benefits
As a member of the AAPC, you can attend chapter meetings anywhere.
These meetings are a great place for you to continue your education in the field, as well as network with others in the field in pursuit of landing a job.
Do an Externship
If you’re feeling defeated in your job search because every posting says you need two years of experience, then we suggest you consider applying for an externship.
Through AAPC’s externship program, you’ll be able to gain valuable, on-the-job experience.
How to Become a Medical Coder and Biller: Are You Ready?
Now that you know how to become a medical coder and biller, it’s time to look for a school and jumpstart your career.
And, if you liked this article, be sure to check back in with our blog for more career-related tips and tricks.