Medical Billing And Coding Certification

A medical billing and coding professional’s job is to make claims with insurance companies on behalf of policyholders. Most medical billers and coders are employed by private health organizations and hospitals. Medical billing and coding is a very profitable field of work and many people strive to make this their career path.

However, only a certain number of applicants hold a certification in the field of medical billing and coding. This official certification looks wonderful to employers and these people are considered for jobs before all others.

Medical Billing And Coding Certification

Medical Billing And Coding Certification

The coding certification exam is how to get certified as a medical billing and coding specialist. You’ll learn HCPCS codes, and the lCD-9-CM and ICD-10 protocols so that you’ll be officially prepared to handle working at the job site. There are a lot of programs online for people who don’t have the time to attend a traditional university. You can learn at your own pace and take the exam whenever you’re ready.

Over the next ten years, there is going to be slow and steady job growth for people in the medical billing and coding field. Salaries for people just beginning is low, but potential to be promoted to higher paying positions is high. Making sure you get your certification from an accredited educational institution should be a priority.

The technical aspects of medical billing and coding is what makes the job a specialist position. You can get certification from many places, but the most popular organizations are AHIMA, RHIA, RHIT, and the PAHCS. There is also specialty coding certification to think about. Job placement is almost guaranteed as there are not as many specialty coders available as there are AHIMA coders.

The exam you take will depend on what type of credentials you’re seeking to hold. You can choose from Certified Professional Coder, Certified Professional Coder-Outpatient Hospital, Certified Professional Coder Payer, Certified Interventional Radiology Cardiovascular Coder, Specialty Credentials, Certified Professional Medical Auditor, Certified Professional Compliance Officer, and Certified Physician Practice Manager.

There are practice exams you can take to make it easier to pass the test. For each area of coding expertise, there is a practice test available. They’re usually comprised of 50 questions. An official practice exam can assess your readiness to take the actual test because it’s very much like the test itself.

Career options are abundant for medical billers and coders. As long as you have the certification necessary and can produce proof of this to an employer, you should expect a wealth of jobs to be available to you. Certification gives you the very best chance at having all the skills necessary to be a real value to a medical organization. This type of certification is a stepping stone to multiple other degrees and occupations. This way with prior certification you already have experience dealing with insurance companies and have first-hand knowledge of medical codes. With the multiple tools and resources available it is easy to see why the medical field is one of the most competitive.

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Medical Assistant: Salary, Duties And Certification

Employment in the healthcare industry is at an all time high. A job position in this field offers an attractive salary and people work in all different areas as medical assistants. Medical assistants need specific training and certification to be considered by potential employers.

The Four Different Classifications Of Medical Assistant

1. Administrative

Someone with a MS health care administration degree is responsible for medically focused clerical duties.¬†Things like scheduling operations, insurance form filing, and form updates to any changes in a patients status are commonplace. The majority of a administrative medical assistant’s duties are focused on managing the office.

Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant

2. Clerical

A clerical administrative assistant handles the answering of phones, scheduling appointments, handling mail deliveries, typing duties, medical transcription, and filling in various medical forms. A clerical medical assistant may also be responsible for billing issues and bookkeeping. They keep a medical facility in working order and well organized to function at it’s best.

3. Clinical

A clinical medical assistant is responsible for physical duties associated with a professional health care organization. Taking vital statistics, taking patient’s blood, removing patient sutures, purchasing needed medical supplies, X-ray examinations, and other duties are commonplace. Duties performed by a clinical MA are regulated by state law.

4. Specialist

There can be many forms of specialist medical assistant. Their duties are always specifically medical related, and for this reason they are provided with specialist training.

Medical Assistant Salary

The raw data from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics show that the average salary for medical assistants was $29,760 in 2010. This converts to an hourly rate of $14.31. The highest paying jobs were reported to be:

Substance Abuse And Psychiatric hospitals: $39,220 per year

Dentist Offices: $36,880 per year

Scientific Research: $35,550 per year

How To Become Certified

In order to become a medical assistant, it’s not mandatory that you possess certification, but statistics show that people who have certification in this field have much higher salaries. Medical assistant schools offer nationally recognized certification from either CAAHEP or ABHES. The only agency that gets official recognition by the U.S. Department of Education is the ABHES.

Certification credentials are also offered by the AAMA and the AMT as well. Either of these organizations can give you nationally recognized certification. In order to remain certified as a medical assistant, you will need to undergo schooling that will recertify you through testing. You either retake the exam or continue your education to add to your existing schooling experience.

Becoming certified as a medical assistant as well as going through any formal training is highly desirable by potential employers. They want to know that you can adequately perform the specific job duties needed. People who are certified as medical assistants are chosen by employers much more often than people who aren’t. There are many nursing degrees that will jump start your career.

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Traditional Programs and MSN Online Programs Bring Different Challenges and Opportunities

Pursuing an MSN program is a big commitment, with a couple of different paths available. Traditional learning, in a classroom setting is one way, but there are also MSN online programs that allow students to obtain a degree quickly, while working around a full time schedule. Each learning style has pros and cons, which helps prospective students determine the right learning environment for them.

For a basic RN or BSN degree, there is no all online option. Much of the coursework must be completed in a clinical, hands-on setting. Transitioning to a master’s degree requires more academic learning, and less hands-on. This opens up the option of an entirely online program. Online programs offer several benefits when compared to traditional learning environments.

  • Flexible scheduling – Many prospective students need to maintain full time employment, while pursuing their Bachelor’s degree. Not all nursing programs offered in a classroom setting fit around every schedule. Online classes allow the student to decide on the time spent “in class.”Due dates for projects and assignments exist, but students have full discretion about when to work on assignments, provided all tasks reach the professor on time. This flexibility allows even those on extended shifts or on call to work on a higher degree, while earning a living. The downside of earning an MSN online degree is the lack of interaction between students and the professor, and each other. Learning in a traditional classroom environment is often easier for many students, provided they can meet the scheduling requirements.
  • Staying motivated – Part of the challenge of online classes versus traditional lies with motivation. It is difficult to remain motivated without any kind of external pressure to stay engaged. In the classroom, students have little choice but to pay attention, for at least part of the time. Online, students can ignore required reading, leaving them grasping at straws for proctored tests or behind the eight ball on turning in assignments. Self motivation is a big part of what allows online students to succeed.
  • Study habits – Many students fail to realize that online courses expect the same level of time commitment, per class, as a traditional in class environment. Students can arrange that time to suit their own schedules, but a four credit class still takes between 12 and 16 hours of concentrated study time each week. For some students, that number may be even higher, since learning from a textbook may take additional repetition.

Earning an MSN online or in a traditional classroom offers students a chance at the same end result: a Masters in the Science of Nursing. Students must carefully assess their capabilities before choosing the best learning method.

The flexibility offered by online courses may make it not only the best, but also the only option, for many prospective students seeking to juggle a full time schedule around their educational goals. As long as they are prepared for the challenges of distance education, an online program may be the exact solution they need.

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