Do you enjoy working with numbers, data, and people? Are you looking for a rewarding and in-demand career in the healthcare industry? If so, you might want to consider becoming a medical biller.
Medical billing is the process of submitting and following up on claims to health insurance companies for the services provided by healthcare providers. Medical billers are responsible for ensuring that providers get paid accurately and timely for their work3.
Medical billing is a highly specialized and valuable skill that can open up many opportunities for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for medical records and health information technicians, which includes medical billers and coders, is expected to grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. The average annual salary for a Certified Professional Biller (CPB) ® was $56,652 in 2023, according to the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC)5.
So how do you become a medical biller? In this blog post, we will walk you through the seven steps to start and succeed in this exciting career.
How to Become a Medical Biller?
Step 1: Determine If Medical Billing Is for You
Before you invest your time and money in pursuing a medical billing career, you need to make sure that it is a good fit for you. Medical billing requires a combination of skills, qualities, and interests that not everyone has.
Skills that You Need As a Medical Biller
Attention to detail: You need to be able to review and enter data accurately and efficiently, as well as spot and correct errors or discrepancies.
Communication: You need to be able to communicate clearly and professionally with patients, providers, insurance companies, and other parties involved in the billing process.
Customer service: You need to be able to handle inquiries, complaints, or disputes with patience, empathy, and courtesy.
Problem-solving: You need to be able to research and resolve complex or denied claims, as well as find ways to improve billing processes and procedures.
Qualities that You Need as a Medical Biller
Integrity: You need to adhere to ethical standards and regulations when dealing with sensitive and confidential information.
Adaptability: You need to be able to adjust to changing rules, policies, or technologies in the healthcare industry.
Teamwork: You need to be able to collaborate and coordinate with other medical billers, coders, or staff members.
Interests that You Need as a Medical Biller are:
Healthcare: You need to have an interest in learning about medical terminology, procedures, diagnoses, and treatments.
Business: You need to have an interest in learning about insurance plans, reimbursement methods, billing codes, and accounting principles.
Technology: You need to have an interest in learning about various software applications, systems, or tools that are used in medical billing.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself If You Want to Become a Medical Biller
Do I enjoy working with numbers and data?
Do I like helping people and providing excellent service?
Do I have good organizational and time management skills?
Do I have a passion for learning new things and staying updated?
Do I prefer working in an office setting or from home?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then medical billing might be a great career choice for you. However, if you answered no or are unsure about some of them, then you might want to do more research or explore other options.
Step 2: Choose an In-Person or Online Medical Billing Training Program
Once you decide that medical billing is for you, you need to understand the medical billing process. So the next step is to choose a training program that will teach you the skills and knowledge that you need. There are different types of training programs available for aspiring medical billers, such as certificate programs, diploma programs, or associate degree programs.
Certificate programs are short-term courses that focus on the core concepts and skills of medical billing. They usually take less than a year to complete and are offered by various vocational schools, community colleges, or online platforms. Certificate programs are ideal for those who want to enter the workforce quickly or who already have some experience or education in healthcare.
Diploma programs are longer-term courses that cover more topics and skills related to medical billing. They usually take one to two years to complete and are offered by various vocational schools or community colleges. Diploma programs are ideal for those who want to gain more comprehensive training or who plan to pursue further education in healthcare.
Associate degree programs are two-year courses that include general education courses as well as specialized courses in medical billing. They are offered by various community colleges or online universities. Associate degree programs are ideal for those who want to earn a college degree or who aspire to advance their career or education in healthcare.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Training program.
Cost: How much can you afford to spend on your education? Compare the tuition fees, financial aid options, and other expenses of different programs.
Accreditation: Is the program accredited by a recognized organization, such as the AAPC or the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)? Accreditation ensures that the program meets the quality standards and prepares you for certification exams.
Format: Do you prefer to learn in a classroom setting or online? Compare the advantages and disadvantages of in-person or online programs, such as flexibility, interaction, support, or resources.
Curriculum: What topics and skills are covered in the program? Check the course descriptions, objectives, and outcomes of different programs and see if they match your goals and interests.
Reputation: How is the program rated by students, graduates, or employers? Check the reviews, testimonials, or ratings of different programs and see if they have a good track record of student satisfaction and success.
Reputable and Accredited Programs that Offer Medical Billing Courses:
AAPC: The AAPC offers an online Certified Professional Biller (CPB) ® Certification Course that covers topics such as coding, insurance, reimbursement, compliance, and collections6. The course takes about four to eight months to complete and prepares you for the CPB exam. The course costs $2,195 for AAPC members and $2,495 for non-members.
Penn Foster: Penn Foster offers an online Medical Billing and Coding Diploma Program that covers topics such as anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, coding systems, billing software, and healthcare law. The program takes about 10 months to complete and prepares you for the CPB exam. The program costs $799 for full payment or $49 per month for monthly payments.
Herzing University: Herzing University offers an online Associate of Science in Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist Program that covers topics such as health information management, medical office administration, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and ethics. The program takes about 20 months to complete and prepares you for various certification exams, such as CPB, CPC (Certified Professional Coder), or CCS (Certified Coding Specialist). The program costs $14,000 per year for tuition and fees.
After completing your training program, the next step is to fulfill the essentials and education requirements for the CPB certification. The CPB certification is a credential that validates your expertise and proficiency in medical billing. It is offered by the AAPC and is recognized by employers and payers across the healthcare industry.
Requirements For Being eligible for the CPB exam
Have a high school diploma or equivalent
Be a current member of the AAPC.
Have two years of medical billing experience or complete an approved medical billing course.
Have knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, and pathophysiology7
Steps To Apply for The CPB Exam
Create an account on the AAPC website
Fill out the online application form
Pay the exam fee of $399 for AAPC members or $499 for non-members
Schedule your exam date and location
The CPB exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover various topics related to medical billing. You have five hours and 40 minutes to complete the exam. You need to score at least 70% to pass the exam.
How To Prepare for The CPB Exam?
To prepare for the CPB exam, you should:
Review the CPB exam content outline.
Study your course materials and notes.
Take practice exams or quizzes
Join a study group or forum
Use study guides or flashcards
Resources To Help Prepare for the CPB Exam
AAPC’s CPB Practice Exams: These are online exams that simulate the real exam format and difficulty. They are developed by the same people who created the CPB exam and provide instant feedback and rationales8. They cost $29.95 each or $79.95 for a bundle of three exams.
AAPC’s Official CPB Certification Study Guide: This is a book that reviews each section of the CPB exam and provides practical examples and test-taking techniques9. It also includes 200 exam-quality questions with answers and rationales10. It costs $99.95 for AAPC members or $129.95 for non-members.
AAPC’s Local Chapters: These are groups of AAPC members who meet regularly in different locations to network, learn, and support each other. You can join a local chapter near you and participate in study sessions, workshops, or events.
Step 4: Connect with Your Colleagues
Once you pass your CPB exam and become a certified medical biller, you should network with your peers to find job opportunities, get referrals, or learn new skills. Networking is a powerful way to build relationships with other professionals in your field and stay updated on the latest trends and developments.
Some of the ways to network effectively as a medical biller are:
Join professional associations: Professional associations are organizations that represent and support medical billers and coders1. They offer various benefits, such as education, certification, advocacy, events, publications, and discounts. Some of the popular associations for medical billers are AAPC, American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), American Medical Billing Association (AMBA), and Healthcare Business Management Association (HBMA).
Attend events or webinars: Events or webinars are opportunities to meet and learn from experts, speakers, or peers in the medical billing industry. They can be online or in-person, and cover various topics, such as best practices, tips, tools, or case studies. You can find events or webinars through professional associations, online platforms, or local chapters.
Participate in online forums or communities: Online forums or communities are platforms where you can ask questions, share insights, or seek advice from other medical billers and coders. They can be general or specific, and allow you to interact with people from different locations, backgrounds, or experiences. Some of the popular online forums or communities for medical billers are AAPC’s Forum, AMBA’s Forum, and HBMA’s Forum.
Step 5: Get Your First Medical Billing Job
After networking with your peers and building your reputation as a certified medical biller, you are ready to get your first medical billing job. Medical billing jobs are available in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, physician offices, insurance companies, billing companies, or home-based businesses.
How to get your first medical billing job?
Create a resume and cover letter that highlight your medical billing skills and achievements: Your resume and cover letter are your marketing tools that showcase your value to potential employers. They should be clear, concise, and customized to the job you are applying for. You should include your education, certification, experience, skills, and accomplishments related to medical billing. You should also use keywords and phrases that match the job description and demonstrate your fit for the role.
Search for medical billing jobs on various resources or platforms: There are many resources or platforms where you can find medical billing jobs, such as job boards, social media, networking contacts, or referrals. You should use a combination of these resources or platforms to maximize your chances of finding the best opportunities. Some of the popular resources or platforms for medical billing jobs are Indeed.com, Monster.com, LinkedIn.com, AAPC’s Job Board, AMBA’s Job Board, or HBMA’s Job Board.
Apply for medical billing jobs that match your qualifications and interests: You should apply for medical billing jobs that match your qualifications and interests, as well as the employer’s requirements and expectations. You should read the job description carefully and follow the application instructions. You should also tailor your resume and cover letter to each job and highlight how you can solve the employer’s problems or needs.
Prepare for the interview and follow up: If you get invited for an interview, you should prepare well and make a good impression. You should research the employer and the job, practice common interview questions, dress professionally, arrive on time, and bring copies of your resume and certification. You should also ask relevant questions, express enthusiasm, and thank the interviewer. After the interview, you should follow up with a thank-you note or email and restate your interest in the job.
Step 6: Advance Your Career
Once you get your first medical billing job, you should not stop learning and growing. You should strive to advance your career by keeping your skills and knowledge up to date, renewing your certification, or pursuing further education or specialization.
Some of the ways to advance your career as a medical biller are:
Keep your skills and knowledge up to date: The healthcare industry is constantly changing and evolving. You should keep yourself updated on the latest trends, developments, or regulations that affect medical billing. You should also learn new skills or tools that can improve your efficiency or productivity. You can do this by taking continuing education courses, attending webinars or workshops, reading blogs or newsletters, or joining online forums or communities.
Renew your certification: Your CPB certification is valid for two years from the date of issue. You need to renew it every two years by submitting proof of 36 continuing education units (CEUs) and paying a renewal fee of $175 for AAPC members or $275 for non-members. CEUs are credits that you earn by completing approved educational activities related to medical billing. You can find CEUs through AAPC’s CEU Tracker, AAPC’s Local Chapters, AAPC’s Events, or other sources.
Pursue further education or specialization: If you want to expand your knowledge or skills, or increase your earning potential, you can pursue further education or specialization in medical billing. You can do this by earning a higher degree, such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in health information management, healthcare administration, or business. You can also do this by obtaining additional certifications, such as CPC (Certified Professional Coder), CPMA (Certified Professional Medical Auditor), CPPM (Certified Physician Practice Manager), or CRC (Certified Risk Adjustment Coder).
Becoming a medical biller is a rewarding and in-demand career that can offer you many opportunities and benefits. To become a medical biller, you need to follow these seven steps:
Determine if medical billing is for you
Choose an in-person or online medical billing training program
Fulfill CPB essentials and education requirements
Network with your peers
Get your first medical billing job
Advance your career
However, we understand that becoming a medical biller can also be challenging and time-consuming. That’s why we are here to help you achieve your goals faster and easier.
We are Atlantis RCM, a leading provider of medical billing and credentialing solutions for healthcare providers. We offer a comprehensive range of services, such as insurance verification, claim submission, payment posting, denial management, patient billing, and more.
Whether you are a new or experienced medical biller, we can help you take your career to the next level. You can join our team of experts, and access our training and resources.
If you are interested in becoming a medical biller with Atlantis RCM, contact us today for more information or visit our website to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you soon.