Medical billers and coders are at the heart of healthcare administration. By accurately billing patients or coding and processing claims, these allied health professionals secure seamless administrative care, act as a liaison between the practice and insurance companies, and help ensure patients are not overcharged.
Holding an allied healthcare certificate has many benefits, such as in-demand, financially-rewarding job opportunities, which includes a career in medical billing and coding. Obtaining a certification is often the next step towards increasing your chances of recognition and professional growth. Here is a quick overview of everything you need to know before acquiring your certification in medical billing and coding.
What Are Medical Billing and Coding Certifications?
Graduates – who have successfully completed medical billing and coding education – may be eligible to apply for a number of certification exams offered by certifying organizations. Generally speaking, aspiring medical coders and billers can obtain different credentials depending on their field of specialization.
Medical Billing Certifications
The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offers the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) credential. Graduates of NHA approved programs are eligible for this certification. Earning this credential as a medical biller and/or medical coder demonstrates vast knowledge in processing health insurance claims, reviewing patient information, and verifying documentation.
Other recognized certifications include the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) credential from AAPT and the Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS). credential from the American Medical Billing Association.
Medical Coding Certifications
The Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) credential is a highly prized standard of achievement in the field of health information management. Holding this credential exhibits a commitment to the medical coding profession and shows professional capability and competency. The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential is an entry-level coding certification that some coders earn prior to earning the CCS credential.
Medical coders can also apply for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential. Obtaining CPC certification demonstrates excellence in the proper application of procedure codes, diagnosis codes, and supply codes.
Best Medical Billing Certifications
In the US, several organizations offer healthcare administration certification exams. Offering specialized credentials, the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and AAPC are among the most nationally-recognized certifying boards for medical billers and coders. Other certifying organizations in the field include the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and the American Medical Billing Association (AMBA).
Do I Need a Certification in Medical Billing and Coding?
Working as a successful medical biller or coder requires adequate training. While allied health certification may not be necessary to get started in most states, the majority of employers prefer them.
Investing in getting certified can help you find better medical billing and coding career opportunities, stand out from other applicants, and earn a higher salary. What’s more, certified medical billing and coding professionals are more likely to qualify for positions in hospitals and medical practices.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification Requirements
It is worth noting that medical billing and medical coding are two separate processes. Medical coders are primarily involved in interpreting the care provided to patients. They assign the correct diagnosis and procedure codes and enter them into a computer system. The main duties of a medical biller include using these codes to post payments to accounts, as well as process and submit patients’ medical claims to insurance companies.
The requirements for obtaining certification in either of these fields can vary. In general, to become a certified medical biller, you will need to graduate from an accredited or approved program, and pass the medical billing certification exam. Some certifications may waive the education requirement if the applicant has relevant, real-world medical billing experience.