How Long Does It Take to Get Certified as a Medical Biller?
Medical coders and billers are essential personnel in the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked because they don’t have a direct hand in treating patients.
Without efficient billers and coders, the healthcare industry will be in shambles. Timely payment is critical for professionals and utility companies to continue providing patient services.
Medical billers need to be experts in the field as they handle complex finances. They require medical billing certification.
How long does it take to get certified as a medical coder? We have the details here.
The Importance of Medical Billing Certification
The truth is, one can become a medical biller without a certification. However, there are several advantages to pursuing a certificate.
First, what is a medical biller?
A medical biller is responsible for assessing, calculating, and invoicing medical fees. They do this for all healthcare procedures, tests, treatments, and surgeries. Invoices are sent to patients, insurance companies, and other payers.
Medical billers work closely with patients to discuss payment plans. They can share information on how insurance can reduce the financial burden. They also follow up on pending payments to ensure that medical operations will not be hampered.
Medical billing is critical to the smooth operations of all facilities. It is reasonable to expect these professionals to be certified.
Here are the benefits of becoming a certified medical biller and coder:
More Knowledge and Skills
Going to school for medical coding and billing will certainly arm you with knowledge about the profession. Instructors will impart skills to be more efficient at the job.
As you learn, you gain confidence in what you are doing. You will become highly proficient in the ins and outs of coding and billing. Your certification will prove your expertise and take your career to another level.
A person without certification can still apply for a medical biller position in a healthcare facility. However, they will likely be at a disadvantage. Employers will likely prioritize hiring certified medical billers.
A certified medical biller and coder is expected to earn an average salary 20% higher than their non-certified counterparts. This is according to data collected by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
More Advancement Opportunities
There are several medical coding and billing certifications available for the profession. The longer the course, the higher the certificate. When you have basic certification, you are one step closer to getting a higher one. This entails higher pay. As such, you can also step up the career ladder much faster.
Pursuing a certification will introduce you to many professionals in the medical field. Your fellow trainees may be attached to medical institutions that could be future employment options.
Medical billing instructors also have ties to institutions that will help advance your career.
Obtaining a certificate will surely open many doors for you. You can join medical and coding organizations. These will provide networking opportunities and professional support.
Medical billing trends are continually changing because of technology. Education and training must change in tandem with emerging trends and developing advancements.
However, some principles remain the same, and these are consistent in training programs on how to become a certified medical biller.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects medical coding and billing employment to increase by 7% annually until 2031. Consequently, many training programs have opened up to certify medical coders and billers. Many institutions offer different iterations of similar programs.
Here are some of the notable ones:
Certified Professional Biller Training
This course can be taken online or in person. It focuses on medical terminology for billing and coding. It also tackles insurance billing and invoicing.
All trainees go through a practical course study. It is the most basic program for anyone who wants to take the easiest certification.
Medical Billing Specialist Training
This program involves courses and lessons for entry-level certification. It can be taken online or in person and includes interactive simulations. Practicum and simulations are important elements as medical facilities are dependent on technology in their operations.
In this case, medical billing software is critical for streamlining healthcare facility operations. Medical billers must learn how to leverage technology to complete their tasks more efficiently.
Medical Billing and Coding Course
Coding and billing are two distinct responsibilities that are closely related. Someone with medical billing and coding training will be more efficient in billing operations because they are well-versed in coding and calculations.
The course also tackles diagnostic coding and procedural coding.
Duration of Certification Programs
How long does it take to become a certified medical biller and coder?
Certification programs vary, but most educational institutions offer programs that take between four weeks and 15 months to complete. The four-week course only provides entry-level certification.
Programs that take more than a year to complete are for higher certifications. Individuals aiming for further academic accomplishments can take a three-year associate medical billing degree or a full four-year bachelor’s degree.
After completing a training program, a medical biller can take a certification exam. The following are some of the certifications available:
Certified Billing and Coding Specialist
The National Healthcareer Association is the national professional certification agency for healthcare workers in the U.S. It provides this certification to ensure individuals possess the skills to complete the coding and billing process in medical facilities.
This is an entry-level certification. Applicants must have a high school diploma and proof of medical billing and coding training within the last five years. The latter can be waived with one year of supervised experience as a medical biller within the last three years.
Certified Professional Biller
The certificate is offered by the AAPC to verify if the medical biller can manage revenues for organizations. They will be tested on their knowledge of insurance plans, payer policies, national coverage determinations, and more. For this certification, an AAPC membership is needed.
Some of the responsibilities mentioned above are made simpler with the use of medical insurance billing software. Certified medical billers can add it to their roster of expertise.
What happens when you become a certified medical coder? You can expect the following:
Apply for a Promotion or Salary Increase
Undergoing training and getting a certification will require a financial investment on your part. However, it is also a critical investment for your personal and professional growth.
You can also leverage your certification when you pursue a promotion or salary increase. A certificate represents higher learning in the coding and billing field. Your knowledge is vital to your organization’s long-term success.
The following are some of the higher positions you can aim for:
- Certified professional biller
- Certified inpatient coder
- Certified coding specialist
- Registered health information technologist
- Registered health information administrator
- Medical policy coordinator
Apply for a Larger Institution
A certification will also open opportunities in bigger and better institutions. They may also offer higher pay.
People often underestimate medical billers. The attention is largely on healthcare workers, such as doctors, nurses, and other medical support staff. But without billers, the system will crumble. All healthcare workers will suffer as well.
Medical billers ensure healthcare service finances are in order. Professionals will be paid, utility bills taken care of on time, and all types of medical equipment will be paid for and well-maintained.
Medical billers who want to advance their careers must get certified. The process can take between four weeks and 15 months, depending on the training program and certification. They must also be well-versed in software from ISI Technology for maximum efficiency.