3 Key Resources and Benefits of Credentials in the Field of Medical Billing and Coding
There used to be a time when someone could get a job in a physician’s office and be trained to properly do the coding and billing for that office. The physician would have someone train them and then most of them would stay at the office until retirement or use that experience as a springboard to get a bigger job. Times have changed.
While there are still those smaller practices that might hire someone with no experience and/or training, being certified has become the norm in this field. If you are someone who wants a career in medical billing and coding, getting credentials is the key to opening that door.
What Organizations Offer Credential Opportunities?
There are two organizations that are the most reputable in getting certified: AHIMA and AAPC. Both of them have various certifications if you are choosing to pursue a career in these areas. What is the difference you might ask?
The biggest difference is that AHIMA deals more with the medical records side of the medical field, where as AAPC does not. Now, both sites have more than one certification that you can look into. My suggestion is to go to both websites and see what they offer. When you are first starting out, AAPC will allow you to be CPC certified and AHIMA you provide you a CCA certification. Both of these will help you to get started in this field.
In addition to certification, you should consider joining the organization as there are several benefits. You have to obtain CEU’s each year to keep up your credentials and both of these organizations have different ways for you to obtain these. They also help to provide you with up-to-date information in the field. This is a critical component as the field is continually changing. The more information you have, the better a coder and biller you can be.
This also includes training opportunities. When ICD10CM was first being implemented, there were training opportunities for coders to take advantage of. These training opportunities helped to put them one step ahead in getting ready for this big change.
Possibilities with Credentials
Tired of where you work and want to switch jobs? The transition is more seamless if you hold credentials, because it shows you have the knowledge you need to be successful in the field. If you are not certified, you are taking a risk by leaving your current job and trying to find another one. If you need to relocate, you have that certification which will help you find employment in another location.
When you are certified, you can also work in many different settings and are not limited with your options. Similar to switching jobs, if you want to work in another specialty or another area of this field, you can do that. I have seen coders and billers start out with the basic certification and then get credentials in other areas so they can be more marketable. Displaying marketability means you have more opportunities for finding a job.
How Certification Impacts Salary
Need a pay raise? Being certified helps you to have that leverage when you need to ask. Most physicians and facilities recognize the importance of certification and are willing to pay more for that. However, if you are working at a place that does not quite get it, you can definitely use that to your advantage when communicating with them.
Getting certified has its benefits. Unfortunately, for those who are not, their time of being able to have success in this field is slowly dwindling as more certification is desired. If your hope to be in this field for the long haul, get certified and get ready for the possibilities.
Are You Already a Graduate?
Graduates of Blackstone’s Medical Billing and Coding online courses are qualified to sit for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) exam from the American Billing Association (AMBA), and the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Written by Kara Silvers CPC, CPC-I
Kara Silvers has been in the field of medical billing and coding for 15+ years. She started out working in a small practice and has worked for a larger scale practice with 6 physicians from different specialties. She currently works from home as an instructor in Medical Billing and Coding. She is certified through the AAPC with CPC, CPB and CPC-I certifications and through the CCMA with an NHA certification.