Learn In-Demand Skills with Medical Billing and Coding Programs
Does an interest in medical billing and coding programs have you contemplating a career in the hot field of health information? Between the growing demand for medical care fueled by the United States' aging population and federal mandates requiring the healthcare community to transition to electronic health records, the need for trained professionals capable of properly handling health information is skyrocketing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that employment for medical records and health information technicians will grow by over 20 percent in the next decade. Colleges and universities are taking note, offering certification and degree programs designed to prepare students to take advantage of this surge in opportunity.
What do Medical Billing and Coding Professionals Do?
Medical billers review health information to verify that it's properly coded and then see that patients and their insurance companies are billed correctly. Medical coders translate the tasks performed during a healthcare visit into codes recognized by other medical establishments and insurance companies. Both medical billers and coders generally work at doctor's offices, hospitals or insurance companies. Because of the nature of their work, they must have an eye for detail and a penchant for accuracy. They should be comfortable working with professionals and computers. They must also be willing to commit to lifelong learning; both technology and medical practices are continually evolving, and they'll need to stay current to perform their jobs effectively.
Entering this field requires the successful completion of a medical billing and coding program. Some training programs can be completed in less than a year. Longer programs allow participants to earn an associate degree. Whether it's a traditional or online program, classes should cover medical terminology, administrative duties, computer skills and common software programs. Choosing a program accredited by the American Health Information Management Association or the American Academy of Professional Coders can help guarantee that the curriculum covers the material you'll need to know in order to succeed professionally.
Is Certification Required?
Many employers prefer certification by the American Health Information Management Association or the American Academy of Professional Coders. Both organizations provide detailed, up-to-date information about their various certifications on their websites. Depending on your professional goals and your education and experience, you can pursue certification as a certified coding associate, a certified coding specialist or a certified professional biller.
The healthcare industry's surging need for medical billers and coders is creating plenty of opportunities for people interested in the field. Schools are stepping up with a variety of medical billing and coding programs designed to prepare students for professional success in this in-demand career.