8 Ways to Become a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
Medical billing and coding is for individuals who are interested in working in the healthcare industry but may not have the desire or ability to provide direct patient care.
Complete a Medical Billing and Coding Program
One of the most common ways to become a medical billing and coding specialist is to complete a program that focuses specifically on medical billing and coding. These programs may be offered at vocational schools, community colleges, or universities and can typically be completed in one to two years.
Earn a Degree in Health Information Management
Another option is to earn a degree in health information management, which covers a broader range of topics than a medical billing and coding program. This degree may take longer to complete, but it can provide a more comprehensive education that includes not only medical billing and coding but also health information management and healthcare systems.
lthough certification is not required to work as a medical billing and coding specialist, it can be helpful for job seekers to earn a certification from a recognized professional organization such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Gain Work Experience
Many medical billing and coding jobs require previous work experience, so it may be helpful to gain experience by working in a related healthcare position, such as a medical assistant or medical receptionist.
Pursue On-the-Job Training
Some medical billing and coding specialists learn on the job by completing training programs provided by their employer. These programs may last for several weeks or months and provide hands-on experience in medical billing and coding.
Enroll in Online Training Programs
Online training programs offer another route to becoming a medical billing and coding specialist. These programs may be more flexible and allow students to complete coursework at their own pace.
Attend Continuing Education Programs
Medical billing and coding specialists are required to stay up-to-date with new developments in the industry, so attending continuing education programs can be a valuable route for those already working in the field.
Attend Professional Conferences
Attending professional conferences can also be a useful route to learn about new developments in the industry and network with other medical billing and coding specialists. Conferences may cover topics such as changes to medical codes, new billing regulations, and emerging technologies in the field.