How to Become a Medical Billing & Coding Expert
You’ve decided becoming a medical billing and coding professional is the right path for you. Congratulations! Your next step is to find a training program that provides all the skills you’ll need in your new career.
With thousands of medical billing and coding schools throughout the country, how do you choose the right one for you? Whether you’re already a current member of the medical field and looking for a new career – or you’re just entering into the allied healthcare community – our comprehensive guide details how to become a medical biller.
While it’s true that these steps can vary from school to school, the general expectations are very similar for every medical coding program.
1. Narrow Down Your Ideal Campus
When deciding on where to pursue your medical billing education, location is obviously important. If you live with your family, have a full-time job, or have transportation issues, choosing a local school is likely a great fit. For those looking for a change of scenery, a new city may be an excellent choice.
Wherever you decide to fulfill your medical coding education, be sure to visit the school campus first. There, you have the chance to meet fellow students, speak with instructors, scope out the lab and classroom settings, and decide whether the school feels right.
Make an Appointment with the Admissions Team
Before making your way to the school, be sure to request a sit-down with a school representative. By going over your academic records and future goals together, you’ll be able to have a better conversation regarding courses, pricing, and possible financial aid. Do you have questions about the enrollment process? No worries: this appointment aims to get you into the classroom quickly and easily.
2. Figure Out Financial Aid
Depending on the school and program you choose, there are different types of student aid available. For some programs you may be able to submit a FAFSA to determine your financial aid eligibility. Don’t worry, however, if your program of choice isn’t approved for federal student aid.
Most schools offer alternative options like interest-free payment plans and private student loans. For example, the Medical Billing & Coding program at AIMS Education offers payment plans and private loans through Climb Credit. If you are planning to apply for a loan, it’s best to submit your loan application prior to enrollment.
3. Get Enrolled in Your Medical Billing & Coding Program
Many schools offer rolling admissions, which means prospective students can enroll in their programs as soon as a start date is available. Be prepared to visit the school in-person to turn in your admission documents and take an entrance exam. Some schools may also require an interview.
It’s important to note that, to be eligible for most medical billing and coding programs, students need to be at least 17, and hold a high school diploma (or equivalent).
Is the Entrance Exam Difficult to Pass?
It’s normal to feel nervous or apprehensive about taking an entrance exam. Keep in mind that the majority of test takes pass the entrance exam on the first attempt. Most exams are designed to test your general mental aptitude. They help schools determine which students can handle the educational requirements of a particular program.
4. Attend Orientation
On the first day of class – or just before – you’ll be required to attend orientation, to go over the school’s policies and procedures. It’s an opportunity to ask any further questions, as well as to meet staff members and other students. Start your education off right: take full advantage of the information provided and apply them to your classes.
5. Medical Billing and Coding Classes and Internship
Medical billing and coding classes instruct students to understand precisely how to translate medical procedures and diagnoses into insurance codes, currently known as the ICD-10 code set. Students will learn to interpret the industry’s often complicated billing, coding, insurance, HIPAA, and electronic health records by using medical billing software.
Most programs offer placement in an internship, which provides practical training in a working environment. Students are paired with a professional mentor, who assists the training process. This type of training helps to avoid medical billing errors, which can create enormous issues for clinics, insurance companies, and patients alike.
6. Pass a Medical Billing & Coding Certification Exam
Successful graduates are eligible to sit for a number of different certification exams. Some of these include the Certified Billing & Coding Specialist Exam offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the Insurance & Coding Specialist Exam through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), and the Certified Coding Associate Exam via the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Apply to a Medical Billing & Coding Program Today
Those who have chosen this future career will be happy to know that the field is expected to grow by 13% over the next decade, and the average medical billing and coding salary is just under $40,000. The benefits certainly don’t stop there.
If you’re looking for medical billing and coding schools in New Jersey, make an appointment with an AIMS representative to kickstart your future career today!