Medical Billing and Coding Certification

February 12, 2021


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?

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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

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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. 

The Cost of Medical Billing Certification

 

If you are considering whether to become a medical biller and obtain your certification, you are probably also wondering about the costs associated with becoming certified. 

Overall, the medical billing exam costs may vary depending on the type of credential and the organization issuing it. The cost to take the CPB exam is $399, or $325 for AAPC students. The cost for the CBCS is $117.

Tips on Preparing for the Medical Billing Certification Exams

Medical billing certification is an important step for your career, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a stressful experience. Planning ahead and setting aside time to study is one of the best ways to prepare for the exam.

Many online resources provide valuable information on medical billing certification practice tests to help you get started. Creating a list of important medical terms is also a sensible idea. Even if you already covered this during your certificate training or degree program, regularly testing your knowledge can prove very beneficial both for passing the exam and avoiding medical billing errors in your future career.

Other medical terminology resources to consider include study guides from professors’ classes, digital flashcards, and online quizzes.

How to Obtain a Medical Billing and Coding Certification Fast

There are many great reasons to pursue this career and get certified. Before you can experience the benefits of medical billing and coding certification – including better job prospects and higher wages – you need to start with the proper education.

Medical billing and coding training programs can often be completed in less than a year, making it ideal for both recent graduates and people looking for a career change. Upon completion of the certificate or degree program, you can sit for certification.

Ready to take the next step towards a financially rewarding career? Check out our medical billing and coding certificate program