Medical billing involves sending medical claims to insurers. A medical coder takes information from patients' medical charts and translates it into codes so the insurance companies can process them. This profession is seeing a dramatic increase in jobs, and the demand is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. If you know how to choose the right medical billing and coding school, you can start promising career.
Familiarize yourself with the program options. Many medical coders pursue an associate degree in Health Information Technology. Certificate programs for coders may be less intensive than this two-year degree program. The certificate gets you working in the field faster, but the degree will open up more doors for further education and career advancement.
Check the school's accreditation. This will give you the assurance that you are getting a quality education from a school that meets state requirements and guidelines, and it will help you narrow your search in a crowded field. Also, if you decide to further your education after completing a program, you'll have an easier time transferring your credits to a different school. The two main organizations that offer accreditation for certificate programs are the American Academy of Professional Coders and the American Health Information Management Association. For associate degree programs, look for accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.
Choose the type of program you want to pursue. Ask yourself if you would rather attend classes or learn online. Many medical billing and coding schools offer a combination of the two. These are known as hybrid programs.
Match your interests to the school's programs. Many medical billing and coding schools offer training in billing management, health insurance claim forms, electronic data interchange and modifiers, medical documentation, medical insurance and managed care, and government programs. Find out the name of the program director for each school you are considering. Send him or her an email asking about enrollment policies, procedures for transferring credits, and opportunities for field-based internships.
Choose a school with programs that offer hands-on training. You don't want to wait for your first day on a new job to put your billing and coding skills to the test. Visit colleges in your area. Ask if you can sit in on a class. Talk to some of the students about their experiences about the school. Get their opinions about the program.
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