You’ve decided to join the allied health sector as a medical biller and coder – congratulations! But how do you find the medical billing and coding training to provide all the skills you’ll need in your new career?
There are thousands of accredited medical billing and coding schools throughout the country. So whether you’re already a current member of the medical field and looking for a new career – or just entering allied healthcare – our comprehensive guide provides all of the necessary information for you to make an educated decision.
1. Find Your Ideal Campus
When pursuing your medical coding education, the location is crucial. If you live with your family, have a full-time job, or have transportation issues, a local program is likely a great fit. For people considering a change of scenery, a new city or state may be an excellent choice.
Wherever you decide to pursue your education for medical coding, visit the school campus first. There, you’ll 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 heading to the school, request to sit-down with a school representative and go over your academic records and future goals together. This will help you have a better conversation about courses, pricing, and even financial aid options.
If you have questions about the enrollment process, this is the time to ask them!
2. See Whether You’re Eligible to Receive Financial Aid
Not all accredited medical billing and coding schools offer financial aid. That said, various forms of student aid and assistance (like interest-free payment plans and private student loans) are often available, so don’t panic if your program isn’t approved for federal student aid.
For example, the Medical Billing & Coding program at AIMS Education offers payment plans and private loans through Climb Credit. If you’re planning to apply for a loan, be sure to submit your application prior to enrollment.
3. Enroll in Your Medical Billing & Coding School
Many schools offer rolling admissions, meaning that prospective students can enroll in their programs as soon as a starting date is posted on the website. Be prepared to visit the school in-person to turn in your admission documents. Some schools also require an interview and entrance exam.
Note: Medical coding course eligibility requires students to be at least 17 and hold a high school diploma (or equivalent).
Are Entrance Exams Difficult to Pass?
It’s normal to feel nervous before taking an entrance exam. Most exams are designed to test general mental aptitude and determine if students can handle the educational requirements of a particular program. Don’t worry: The majority of test-takers pass them on the first try.
4. Attend Orientation
On the first day of class – or just before – all students are required to attend orientation. This is an opportunity to ask any further questions, meet staff members and other students, and go over the school’s policies and procedures. Start your education off right by taking advantage of the provided information!
5. Medical Billing and Coding Classes and Internship
Future medical coding experts need 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 use medical billing software while interpreting billing, coding, insurance, HIPAA, and electronic health records.
Most programs offer placement in an internship with a professional mentor to provide practical training in a working environment. This extra attention helps to avoid medical billing errors that can create enormous issues for clinics, insurance companies, and patients alike.
6. Pass Your Medical Billing and Coding Certification Exam
When you successfully complete your medical coding education, you’ll be eligible to sit for a number of different certification exams. Some of these medical billing exams include the Certified Billing & Coding Specialist Exam offered by NHA, the Insurance & Coding Specialist Exam through NCCT, and the Certified Coding Associate Exam via AHIMA.
Note: While you aren’t required to complete a certification exam to work in this field, medical billing and coding salaries are typically higher for people who do.
Apply to a Medical Billing & Coding Program Today
With fantastic job growth and excellent entry-level salaries, there’s never been a better time to join this allied health career.
If you’re in the New Jersey area, make an appointment with an AIMS representative to join the medical coding and billing field!