Why Medical Billing and Coding Certification?
Medical billing and coding certification is given to individuals who have undergone the relevant formal training or have an associate’s degree to work in the concerned field. It is not a legal requirement by law to have this certification in order to get a job as a medical biller but it certainly gives an edge above the other applicants applying for the same job position. This is because the individual with the certificate will have proof to show the potential employer that they have undergone the required training and have also garnered some experience on the way.
To be able to receive this certification, the aspiring medical biller will have to sit and pass a medical billing and coding certification exam which can be administered by professional billing and coding associations such as AAPC and AHIMA. These exams are national and if passed the certificate can then be used anywhere in the US to prove qualification as a billing specialist in the health sector. This will entitle you to a higher entry level salary than your counterparts without the certification. It will also open up opportunity doors to large reputable organizations that only employ individuals certified by the billing and coding associations as they know that you will meet the standards that they require.
If you qualify, there are 3 different exams that you are allowed to sit for depending on the path you want your career to take. These are: -
1. CMRS Board Exam – This exam is taken by those who want a career as a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist. The exam is given by the American Medical Billing Association.
2. CPC Board Exam – This exam is for individuals aspiring to become Certified Professional Coders. This exam is administered by the American academy of Professional Coders.
3. CCS Board Exam – This board exam is for those who want to be Certified Coding Specialists. The exam is administered by the American Health Information Management Association.
How to Get Medical Billing and Coding Certification
If you qualify for the medical billing and coding certification exam, there are quite a number of centers where you can sit for the test. As mentioned before, these exams are three in number and are administered by the following organizations:
• American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
• American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
• American Medical Billing Association (AMBA)
These organizations have their very own test centers spread out all across various states of America. You can find information about these test centers on the organizations’ websites to see which one would be the closest to you. Apart from these test centers, you may also be able to do these tests right in the medical billing and coding certification schools. Despite being in the schools, the exams will still be administered by the above named organizations. You can also find out which schools offer these exams through the internet or you can actually visit the schools if they are nearby.
Advantages of Medical Billing and Coding Certification
It has to be known that a certificate in medical billing and coding is not mandatory for one to get employed in the corresponding job field. It does however come with some perks that are truly worth taking advantage of as listed below:
• Faster Employment – When it comes to job hunting with a medical biller or coder’s certificate, it becomes simpler to get employed. This is due to the fact that employers can quickly see that you have achieved a certain level of training that will be more advantageous to them than hiring your counterpart applicants who they will have to train from scratch.
• Higher Entry Level Salary – Medical billers and coding specialists who are certified will be entitled to a higher entry level salary than those who are not. The reason for this once again is that the employer does not have to train you from scratch which costs time and money. Your experienced gained in preparation for certification also goes towards boosting the salary.
• Employment into the Best Health Care Organizations – The best health care organizations will have some very high standards and requirements that not just any coding specialist can meet. The certification will be your foot in the door into such organizations.
• Opportunity for Career Advancement – With the medical billing and coding certification, it becomes simpler for one to climb the ranks in their career in the health sector. With further training and education the medical biller can be prepared to handle more responsibility and thus be able to earn higher salaries. They can also open up their own consulting services firm if they choose to.
Requirements for Medical Billing and Coding Certification
There are certain requirements than have to be met if one wants to get medical billing and coding certification. These will greatly depend on the type of exam one has to sit for to get their certification. One thing that they all have in common however is that you are going to need one of two things to be able to qualify to sit for the exams. These are:
1. Associate’s Degree
2. Formal Training in medical billing and coding
One advantage of the second option is that one can sit for their certification exam before entirely completing the formal training. For example, if the formal training is for 9 months, you may qualify to sit for the exam after about 3 months of training. This will allow you to begin job hunting a few months before you complete your formal training course.
Obviously, there are also some requirements if you are to get the necessary formal training so that you can qualify to sit for the exams to get you certified. These requirements will vary from school to school but the basic minimum is a high school diploma or a good average pass in your GEDs. Once you have your certification you may still have to do some small courses in the future to maintain it.