If you’re ready to start your career as a medical biller and coder, it’s time to start looking at medical billing and coding online programs.
By choosing to further your education through distance learning, in as little as nine months you could be ready to enter the exciting, growing industry of medical billing. Medical billers and coders are always in demand in the health care system as the medical billing process continues to be more specialized.
And your choices for medical billing and coding online programs have never been greater; over the past several years, the number of online medical billing and training programs has increased drastically, giving you many options as you pursue your career as a medical biller and/or coder.
If you’re ready to learn more about medical billing and coding online programs, read on.
What is Medical Billing and Coding?
Medical billing and coding are actually two separate parts of the medical billing process, but both are equally critical to the continued, smooth operation of the health care system.
Note that although billing and coding procedures differ, you can greatly increase your job prospects and salary potential by pursuing training in both specialties. Why is that? Because employers are always looking for ways to streamline their businesses, and the same holds true in medical billing; if you are certified to handle both aspects of the medical billing process, you will be an even more attractive job candidate to potential employers.
What do medical billers and coders do?
The medical billing process starts with medical coders, also called health information coders, medical record coders, coder/abstractors, or coding specialists, who apply specially formulated, standard codes to medical services and procedures.
Medical billers, also called medical billing specialists, then take up these code-filled forms and prepare them for billing to insurance companies or other health care agencies for payment. Medical billers may also be responsible for gathering information, preparing claims and invoices, and communicating with insurance companies, doctors, and patients.
Medical billers and coders can often be found working at a desk, at a computer–and for this reason should be quite comfortable with computers and database management. They may work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, accounting and law firms, and other health care-related sites.
Medical billers and coders may also work from home, although this opportunity usually arises only after they have gained some experience in the workplace. If you are looking toward eventually working at home, think about taking some business classes in addition to your medical biling and coding online instruction.
How do I become a medical biller and coder?
Medical billers and coders are often required to have an associate degree or certificate and be certified by a well-respected organization such as:
- American Medical Billing Association
- Medical Association of Billers
- American Health Information Management Association
- American Academy of Professional Coders
Note that a bachelor’s or master’s degree can greatly enhance both your marketability as a job candidate and the salary level you can command.
What types of programs are available for medical billing and coding online?
Medical billing and coding online programs are available at every level, including diploma, certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and master’s degree for medical coding.
What are are programs for medical billing and coding online like?
Depending on what type of certificate or diploma you are pursuing, medical billing and coding online programs can last between nine months and four years; a program that provides you with less than nine months of training probably will not prepare you adequately for this highly technical career, so do be ready to invest at least that much time preparing for your new career.
Medical billing and coding online programs often include courses like:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Business and Information Technology
- Coding and Abstraction of Data
- Computer Skills
- CPT Surgical and Non-Surgical Coding
- Electronic Record Keeping
- Health Data Standards
- Information Security and Data Integrity
- Legal Aspects of Medical Billing and Coding
- Medical Coding
- Medical Terminology
As you can see, you will not only need to know about medical billing and coding procedures, but you will also be expected to have a working knowledge of medical terms, diseases, and ethics requirements surrounding your job.
Many medical billing and coding online programs also offer help in placing students in internships to put their newly acquired skills to work; you should take advantage of this as it can be difficult to get your first job in medical billing and coding without some practical experience.
What is the job outlook for medical billers and coders?
Job prospects for medical billing specialists and other health information technicians are expected to grow “faster than average” through 2016 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The best opportunities will continue to available to those who are properly trained and certified as medical billers and coders, so get your start today with the medical billing and coding online program of your choice!