Medical billing and coding schools
If you plan on becoming a biller or coder, you need to know more about the medical billing and coding schools that you can attend to learn the ropes and become qualified for a well-paid billing or coding position.
There are all kinds of training options available, which both expands your options and can complicate your decision-making process. I’ve worked here to help you make a better decision and get you thinking.
A big benefit of this field is that you don’t necessarily need as much education to become a medical biller or coder as you would need for so many other medical jobs, and yet training is a must given the specialized knowledge you must have to become a competent medical coder or biller.
Training can mean anything from an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s in medical administration (every college seems to have a different name for this, so look carefully into your options) to a certification course in coding, billing or a specific type of coding or billing, depending on your needs.
One of the most important points to consider is that in case you haven’t read elsewhere on this site, you don’t absolutely have to have a degree to get started in a medical billing and coding career, but you will most likely earn considerably more if you have a degree or certification, and that also ensures that you enjoy the work before you commit to making it your career as well. To ensure that you earn the best salary from your medical coding or billing position, I highly recommend that you find an educational option that trains you before you try to get a job.
What you will learn during your training
Medical billing and coding entails understanding medical documentation, interpreting that documentation so that it can be consolidated into medical forms and using this information to communicate with the government, insurance companies, individuals and other practitioners.
Every course is a little different, but some of the curriculum will typically include training such as:
- Understanding the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), a coding system used to classify diseases
- CPT codes (Current Procedural Terminology codes) that show the practitioner’s treatments/services
- Other key coding systems relevant to the training program in question
- How to accurately fill out necessary forms in order to ensure reimbursement of the correct treatment and how to avoid mistakes
- How to manage a medical billing office
- Handling insurance claim forms
You may also learn about how to handle patient issues, Medicare regulations, worker’s compensation claims and more.
It is also necessary to have an in-depth knowledge of human physiology and diseases, common procedures and treatments and how to research those areas you have less knowledge of to ensure that you code this documentation properly.
Medical billing and coding schools
There are plenty of medical billing and coding schools to choose from. Some have a curriculum focused mainly on coding, while other focus more on billing, and yet others give a hybrid approach to ensure that all your bases are covered when you complete their program.
As you get started with your search, here are a few resources to help you determine what you should do. The following colleges offer a range of training in the area of medical billing and coding, and you may be able to study from your own location in an online billing and coding course.
Some colleges to look into:
Make sure to check out your local options as well because there are very often community colleges and private colleges in your community that offer training in medical billing and coding because there is such demand for qualified help in this field. In my area, the NYC metro area, there are literally at least 2 dozen options, and in smaller cities, there are still usually at least a couple local options. Consider local training specifically if you know you learn best in a classroom setting.
Narrowing down your search
As you investigate your options, you want to make sure that the school you choose is suited to your individual needs as much as possible.
If you already have some training or on-the-job experience, you may only need a certification in a specific type of coding or billing. Likewise, if you have never worked in a medical office in a medical billing and coding capacity, it may make more sense to get a 4-year degree so that you can qualify for the best possible jobs once you graduate.
It also may be helpful to consider how you ultimately plan on working over the longer haul. If you know you eventually want to work from home, it doesn’t help you to gain specialization in coding for hospitals, for example, unless you know that local hospitals employee off-site coders or billers. Only a small percentage of medical billing and coding professionals work from home, and yet this is still an excellent work from home option for many so don’t rule it out. Just be diligent to ensure that you are qualified in the right area.
Continuing education credits (CEUs)
Once you are certified, you may need to get CEUs to keep that certification up to date. Again, this is a time when your priorities are important to consider. If you’re looking for a reason to travel, there may be a weekend seminar available to help you, and if you simply need the CEUs as quickly as possible, look into medical billing and coding schools in your area to find the best programs and courses to meet your needs.