There has been much buzz online regarding the need for medical billing and coding programs. The medical industry is projecting strong career growth within the next decade due to the large population of baby boomers. For this reason many people have chosen to take the career path of becoming a medical biller or certified coding specialist.
An Overview of Medical Billing and Coding Programs
Although the two medical professions are often seen together, they are actually quite different from each other. Medical billing involves entering clinical and patient data into practice management software. This information is then submitted as insurance claims, post payments from insurance companies and run management companies. This is a business that can be done in locations other than the doctor’s office.
Many people are attracted to this career because it lends one the opportunity to work from home while making a very good salary. On the other hand, medical coding will not allow you to work from home.
A medical coder will often work in a doctor’s office inputting information given to them by doctors regarding a patient’s procedure. They then give the information a code and create a claim submitted to insurance providers. A medical coder will work along side of a medical biller to get insurance claims paid.
To become a medical biller or coder, it is advisable to go through an accredited on-site or online college program. Either type of program will prepare you for the medical billing and coding certification exam. Becoming familiar with the AMA Standard or professional versions of the CPT, the ICD-9-CM and the HCPCS books is also encouraged. All of these books are a great resource and will be vital in your future career. Many medical billing and coding programs can be completed in as little as 9 months to a year depending on your study habits and motivation.
Typically what is required to be a medical biller and coder is a solid understanding of anatomy, physiology and medical terminology. For example a typical college course outline may include topics such as: Insurance Claim Filing, Medical Office Technology and Administration. These classes along with others will prepare you for the certification exam.
The last step in becoming a medical biller and coder is to take the Medical Coding Certification Exam. The “American Academy of Professionals Coders” website is a great resource that will give you current information on certification, training, study material and the potential job market. The exam lasts 5 ½ hours and consists of 150 questions.
So, Exactly How Long are Medical Billing and Coding Programs?
In as little as 9 months you can be well on your way to earning a good starting salary. If you are interested in pursuing medical billing and coding careers, research online and find medical billing and coding programs that will work for you and your lifestyle.