How long does a medical insurance coder and medical biller takes?
Am thinking to put them together when I start school next fall.
And can I go to community college to take this career?
- redhedLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
I teach medical billing and coding. I have taught everything from 60 hours or less programs up to seven month programs that were over 500 hours and several in between. You can take an eight week program or study as long as two years if your community college offers an associate degree program.
So you will get the most bang for your buck at your local community college, adult school and ROP programs. The vocational schools are the most expensive as would be online programs. I highly recommend you DO NOT take an online course for billing and coding. It might be okay for medical terminology if that is the only class you can find to take.
Before you start any program check with local employers to see which schools they like. Some companies won't hire graduates of certain programs. I got my A.A. in Business/Medical Assisting many years ago. The doctors preferred us because we had a more well-rounded education. It might be possible to go to school one year, get your certificate for the medical billing and coding program, get a job and then go back to school and finish your degree. Some companies even have tuition reimbursement programs. One place I worked offered up to $3,000 a year.
Right now a lot of people are going into billing and coding so they can get a job. I just taught a bunch of students who were attending the program through unemployment. Many of them I don't think will make it because they are looking for a job, not a career. If you want this to be your career, do whatever you can to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
If the course includes an externship, great. However if only the private schools offer externships then you have to ask yourself whether or not it is worth the extra money. A few things you should ask them. First, how many students get hired from their externship? How much do they earn? What percentage of graduates get a job in the industry? And ask to speak to some graduates. If they don't have any, BIG red flag.
If you take a short billing course, make sure you also study medical terminology, even if it is on your own. Chabner has a great short course book, I forget the name. It is only five chapters but covers the basics. Chabner also has a full medical terminology book which includes a CD with practice and games which help a lot. Last I saw it was the eighth edition but they may have come out with a new one.
While it can be tough in this economy to break into this industry many of my students started off working as a medical front office person as they knew the insurance stuff. If they offer you a job take it. You are getting paid to learn. If you have a good attitude you will eventually work your way up.
Look up AHIMA and HOSA for more information.
One crucial thing to understand. When you complete a program you get a certificate of completion. It DOES NOT mean you are certified. HOSA is great to get involved in while you are in school. Study the website for AHIMA to find out about the different certification tests you can take. Some programs are actually designed to help prepare the student to take one of the exams. When calling local employers also find out which certification they like.
Write back if you have any other questions.Source(s): Graduated in 1983 with my degree and certificate in Business/Medical Assisting. Worked front office for over 20 years. Have been teaching medical front office, medical billing and coding and medical terminology for six years. www.hosa.org www.ahima.org