The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows great demand for qualified allied health workers and medical billing courses in Alaska are trying to do their best to satisfy the growing demand. See the steps to get started and how you can find the best options for training are in the state of Alaska. From start to finish, we leave nothing out. The time could not be better to choose health information training!

Becoming a medical biller or coder in Alaska

Below are the certifying bodies for all medical billing and coding. It is regulated at a national level and you will need to be certified by one of the national bodies below to become a medical coder or biller.

Certifications for billing and coding are recognized from several different national bodies. Employers in the state recognize a wide range of certifications from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), National Healthcare Association (NHA), American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and the Medical Association of Billers (MAB).

What is the process for becoming a certified coder or biller in Alaska?

The process for becoming a medical biller or coder in Alaska is shown in the following steps.

Step 1 – Decide if you are going to earn your certification

Making the decision whether or not to get certified is the very first step you will need to take if you’d like to start a career as a medical coding and billing specialist. This decision is extremely important as it’s going to have a major impact on not only how long it takes you to begin your career, but additionally the types of positions you can find.

As you can probably guess, choosing to make an effort to become certified provides a number of considerable benefits. Thanks to the amount of litigation that medical care providers have to deal with and the related jump in insurance premiums, the majority of facilities now require their medical billing and coding specialists to be certified.

This move toward compulsory certification has additionally begun to have an impact on non-certified workers who have been employed for many years. As a condition of continued employment, non-certified team members are frequently being asked by their employers to earn a certification.

With all of that said, you should start looking for a position as a non-certified medical coding and billing specialist immediately if that’s your preference. But then again, should you decide to get your certification, you should move on to the next step below.

Step 2 – Complete a formal training program

The next choice you will need to make is whether or not you want to get a an associate degree in medical billing and coding, four-year bachelor’s degree, or a certificate. All three of these awards can help you get your first medical billing and coding position, but you will need to be acquainted with the disadvantages and advantages of each before deciding on one.

Diplomas and Certificates

The curriculum for certificate or diploma courses concentrates only on showing you the daily skills you’re going to rely on as a medical coding and billing specialist, and can typically be completed in less than a year. A wide array of schools provide these sought after training programs, and many of them are provided in an online format too. This is a big change from associate and bachelor’s degree programs that have the same additional requirements as traditional college classes.

Associate Degree

if your primary career objective is to someday advance into specialized medicine or a professional-level position, two-year associate degree courses are generally the best way to go. Admission requirements and tuition costs for these programs are higher as they tend to be offered by either traditional junior colleges or trade schools.

The benefits of earning an associate degree usually outweigh the ones from the certificate or diploma, so the added hurdles are usually regarded as being worthwhile.

Bachelor’s Degree

For students who want to acquire the greatest comprehension of billing and coding, while at the same time getting a nicely balanced college education, bachelor’s degree programs are typically the preferred option. Since these programs are provided solely by four-year educational institutions and trade programs, the expense of acquiring this degree is typically considerably higher.

Having a bachelor’s degree is often looked at by businesses as a tremendous advantage, and someone can typically expect better salary and responsibilities as a consequence

Either of these alternatives is a viable approach to begin your professional career, so long as it fits your personal goals and economic situation. For those concerned with the cost and time necessary to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree, the diploma approach is usually the right way to go. Take into account, that you can always go back in the future and get a degree after you have started working.

The best option is typically the associate or bachelor’s degree in cases when you have a definite career goal that will call for higher education at some time.

How to compare coding and billing programs

Medical billing and coding programs in Alaska are mandated by state law to be accredited by a number of groups including the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Only those students who finish their education at a program accredited by one of these bodies will be allowed to test for certification. Feel free to click on the links above to browse their directories of programs in your area.

There are a few things you should consider when you are deciding on a course to register for. You’ll want to look at the following when comparing programs:

  • Attend courses that areaccredited by CAHIIM or AAPC
  • See the percentage of graduates that passed their certification exam
  • Get classes to fit into your personal schedule
  • Get all cost to fit within your budget

You’ll want to get started by listing, in order, the things which are most-important for you about a program. If the cost of tuition is the most important issue to you, make that the first thing you find out about each program. Then, go on to the second-most crucial thing (e.g. course availability, etc.) and apply that criteria to narrow down your possible choices.

By using this methodical process, you can narrow your options to a handful of classes. Being sure that the class you choose suits your individual situation can significantly boost your chances of graduating.

Step 3 – Complete an internship or accumulate some job experience

A requirement for the majority of medical billing and coding certification exams is that the test-taker needs to have previously had job experience or finished a formal internship. To be able to satisfy this prerequisite, you need to plan on finishing an internship or working in a non-certified position for a local employer before the conclusion of your training program.

Many accredited medical billing and coding schools help each student find internships with community companies. It’s strongly recommended that you talk to your teacher to see which opportunities are available to make it easier to gain the experience necessary to become qualified for certification evaluation.

Step 4 – Successfully pass a certification examination

The official medical billing and coding certification exams administered in Alaska are the five major national examinations. These examinations incorporate segments on each significant area of knowledge you would’ve studied in your training course.

Several of the major national certification exams administered in Alaska are shown below.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – every employer.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – The NHA certificate is well known by organizations all over the country, and shows that its holder possesses a well-rounded set of medical billing and coding competencies.

Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The CCA is presented to individuals who have finished a diversified curriculum in medical coding studies, and is recognized by the majority of facilities.

Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The NCICS awards a certification for medical billing and coding specialists.

Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – The Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and CMRT credentials symbolize advanced skills in the responsibilities needed to be able to take care of the billing and record-keeping at a professional medical business office.

Medical coder and biller salary and jobs in Alaska

The need for medical coding and billing specialists is at record levels in not only Alaska, but throughout the whole U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 15% growth in brand new job opportunities nationally and 13% increase in the State of Alaska through 2024. The bulk of new positions are likely to be produced in physicians offices and hospitals. The balance of openings may arise in the government job sector.

The opportunity to become familiar with electronic health records (EHRs) makes the medical billing and coding occupation ideal for anyone interested in advancing into other roles in the health information sector.

The following record features specifics on medical billing and coding specialist income in Alaska by region.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.05$18.29$30.21
Southeast Alaska BOSHourly$17.63$25.20$36.95
Fairbanks, AK MSAHourly$16.33$21.96$29.55
Anchorage, AK MSAHourly$15.69$20.09$27.58