Certification Makes A Difference To Medical Coders And Billers

January 20th, 2023 - Find-A-Code
Categories:   Coding   Practice Management  

Medical coding and billing jobs are available all over the country. To get hired, you need to have a basic understanding of diagnostic codes, HIPAA compliance, and things like CPT and ICT 10 codes. But what about certification? Is it absolutely necessary?

Technically, no. Neither federal nor state laws mandate that medical coders and billers be formally educated or certified. But nearly all employers require certification at this point. The fact is that certification makes an enormous difference in everything from accuracy to efficiency.

People looking to become medical coders or billers have plenty of training opportunities. Between local community colleges and specialized training and certification organizations, choices abound.

The Health Information Technician

It is possible to be certified as either a medical coder or biller. Another option is to become a certified health information technician with dual certifications in both billing and coding. Going the health information technician route gives a person greater access to more job opportunities. Certified technicians enjoy:

●    competitive compensation and benefits
●    access to more job opportunities
●    the opportunity for a career rather than just a job
●    the ability to start working immediately.

Simply put, certification opens doors. The more certifications a person possesses, the more opportunities there are to build a successful career as a medical coder or biller.

The Certified Medical Coder

In order to become a certified professional coder, one must pass a certification exam. That's where the training comes in. You train for the purposes of passing the exam and getting your certificate. Passing that exam tells employers that you:

●    have demonstrated accuracy in assigning medical codes
●    possess adequate knowledge of coding guidelines and regulations
●    possess adequate knowledge of common medical terminology
●    possess adequate knowledge of both human physiology and anatomy
●    have demonstrated proficiency in a variety of medical services and procedures
●    have the ability to integrate coding with employer policies and procedures.

Certification is as important to a medical coder as it is a software developer. Being certified demonstrates that you have undergone the training necessary to do your job well. However, certification does not guarantee that you will perform as expected. That is your part.

Earning Specialty Certifications

Speaking of software developers, they can get both general and specialty certifications. Medical billers and coders have the same opportunities. For example, you might choose to become a certified professional coder through an organization known as the AAPC. Even after you start work, you can continue your training to earn additional certifications.

Specialty certifications for coders include things like:

●    outpatient coding
●    inpatient coding
●    risk adjustment coding.

Specialty certifications for billers include things like:

●    anesthesia and pain management
●    ambulatory surgery
●    cardiology
●    family practice
●    general surgery
●    ophthalmology.

The list goes on and on. The question is this: why would a certified professional coder or biller want to continue earning more certifications? It all boils down to career advancement. As you go up the certification ladder, you find that fewer and fewer coders and billers possess the more advanced certifications. The result is higher pay for them.

Certifications Fuel a Career

As a general rule, more certifications equate to more job opportunities and higher pay. You could say that certifications fuel a career in medical coding or billing. They provide a pathway for establishing and building a lifelong career.

You do not technically need to be certified to get a job as a medical coder or biller. But these days, it is awfully tough to get hired without certification. Being certified makes a difference. It goes a long way toward getting that first job and then moving up the career ladder.


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