Guide to a medical billing specialist career
During today’s turbulent economic state, many jobs are lacking the stability they once had. If you have recently been laid off from your company because there is no need for your services, you may want to consider starting a new and rewarding career as a medical billing specialist.
If you were once making minimum wage, you can increase your earning potential in very little time by becoming a medial billing specialist. If you are asking yourself: “How much can I possibly make as a medical billing specialist?”; or “How long will it take to receive the training I need to be a valuable candidate?” review the article below.
I will discuss the process of becoming a medical billing and coding specialist and the average salary you can expect you have gained experience in the industry.
- What Are the Responsibilities of a Medical Billing Specialist?
Medical billing specialists are responsible for maintaining medical records of patients in the environment in which they work. Because there will always be a need for medical care, the demand for billing specialists is on a rise and the career is considered on of the most stable careers in the nation that does not require extensive continuing education.
A quality medical billing specialist will have a passion for the medical field and will be able to work in a fast-paced environment while still being able to pay attention to detail. Because the accuracy or records is extremely important, candidates must be thorough.
- What Type of Education is Required?
If you are like me, the thought of changing careers mid-life can be scary. Not only are you wondering if you have the skills needed for the position, you are wondering how long it will take you to complete required training and be hired on as a medical billing and coding specialist.
While the profession does not require federal or state licensing, quality candidates will participate in an accredited certification program to gain knowledge and experience and distinguish themselves in the field.
While certification is not required, employers show a strong preference towards those that have dedicated their time to complete certification. Depending on the program you choose, you can be certified in as little as 2 months and be ready to earn increased salaries.
While there are a variety of medical billing and coding schools that offer quickly paced training programs, it is important to research each program to verify it will teach you what you need to know to become certified. Most reputable programs will offer in-depth medical billing courses on the following subjects to educate students on the knowledge needed to pass the certification test: Medical Terminology, Billing Practices, Legal Aspects, and Office Coding.
While program lengths will vary on your schedule and availability, participants who dedicate their time to the program should expect to complete it within 3 to 6 weeks after spending 55 to 65 hours in class.
The AAPC is nation’s largest medical billing and coding training and certification association. With both online classes and classroom settings, students can learn on-the-job training and the knowledge necessary to become certified. With a variety of different certification preparation classes and sites available, you can study and schedule an exam conveniently from home.
- What Are the Average Salaries of a Certified Medical Billing Specialist?
While your medical billing and coding salary will depend entirely on the area in which you live and which type of environment you are working in, studies show the national salary average for certified billing specialists is $32,000. While this may seem low, specialists receive excellent bonuses and benefits that more than make up for a seemingly low annual salary.
Once you have gained experience and proven yourself in the industry, you can move on to hospital and nursing home applications which pay higher for certified candidates.
With aging baby boomers, the medical billing and coding field is expected to remain stable for years to come. If you are tired of uncertainty, take a proactive step towards changing your life and complete a certification program to be a valuable asset in the industry as a medical billing specialist or you can always opt to simply start a career as a medical billing assistant.