The time to get in to medical billing and coding courses in Arizona is now and the latest data from supports that statement. See the details below in our latest article. The time to get started could not be better. We walk you through the process from start to finish and let you know who to contact to get started in accredited coding training today. The allied health sector is growing and the health information field is growing even more! See the details below.

How to become a medical billing specialist in Arizona

In Arizona medical billers and coders are not required by law to hold a certification in order to work but, employers do actually prefer to hire certified candidates. The medical billing and coding profession in Arizona is regulated on a national level and below are the national certifying bodies.

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 biller or coder in Arizona?

Becoming a medical biller or coder in Arizona can be done in the following 4 steps.

Step 1 – Determine if you want to become certified

The initial step you should take is to make the decision whether or not you’re going to earn a certification, and the professional education it’ll require. This choice can affect your career in two significant ways: the kinds of opportunities you will be allowed to apply for, and the time it will take you to become employed.

As you can probably imagine, choosing to take the time to get certified provides some important benefits. In addition, most employers now require that their employees be certified in an effort to help protect them against soaring insurance premiums and litigation.

Even healthcare facilities that employ non-certified medical coding and billing specialists are starting to alter their stances. A growing range of business employers around the United States have begun to require their non-certified assistants to register for certification classes as a condition of remaining employed.

With all of that said, you can begin looking for a position as a non-certified medical coding and billing specialist right away should that be your preference. The balance of the process outlined in this article only applies should you make the decision to become certified.

Step 2 – Finish the necessary education

Medical coding and billing programs award a few types of credentials to their students: an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, and a diploma. Each of these awards may help you get your first medical coding and billing position, but you should be aware of the disadvantages and advantages to each before choosing one.

Diplomas and Certificates

The syllabus for diploma or certificate courses focuses solely on showing you the everyday skills you will make use of as a medical coding and billing specialist, and can typically be finished in 12-15 months. Due to the fact that they are traditionally the most-sought after program format among students, they are frequently provided both on-campus and online through a wide range of institutions. This is a big differentiation from associate and bachelor’s degree programs which hold similar added requirements as conventional college classes.

Associate Degree

If your career objective is to someday advance into a specialized field of healthcare or a professional-level job, two-year associate degree programs are generally the better way to go. Courses offering this credential are often hosted by trade schools and junior colleges, so they usually have tougher admission requirements that have to be met.

The advantages of earning an associate degree typically exceed the ones from the certificate or diploma, and so the additional hurdles are normally considered to be well worth the while.

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degree programs usually last a minimum of four years, and expect students to attain a profound command of billing and coding theory, as well as additional basic academic subject matter. Because these programs are administered exclusively by four-year schools and trade schools, the price of gaining this credential is typically much higher.

Students who complete bachelor’s degrees in billing and coding are usually seen as prospective management candidates and are commonly paid as such.

Regardless of the approach you decide on, make sure to base your decision on your long-term professional goals and financial circumstances. Should you need to start working right away, and are worried about college tuition costs, then the diploma program is probably the best option. Remember, that you could always go back in the future and get a degree after you’ve started your career.

The better option is probably the associate or bachelor’s degree in cases where you have a precise career goal that will call for college at some time.

What to search for in a coding and billing program

Medical coding and billing education in Arizona is regulated by the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). You will need to graduate from a program approved by one of these bodies to become eligible to test for certification in the state. Click on one of the links above to search for accredited training.

There are a few things you need to consider when selecting a program to enroll in. Take into account the following things in a program when comparing it against another:

  • Find CAHIIM or AAPC classes
  • Seek the % of prior graduates that passed their certification exam
  • Fit class and studies into your personal schedule
  • See that costs fit within your budget

Just like any decision, you will need to initially establish what your main concerns are. If you are concerned with tuition costs, begin your search by finding out which programs fit into your finances. You could then give some thought to the second-most pressing thing to assist in narrowing the list down even further.

With this approach, it is possible to cut your options down to just a couple of schools. Doing this vastly improves your likelihood of selecting a program that will meet your requirements.

Step 3 – Do an internship or accumulate some job experience

The majority of the billing and coding certification tests call for you to have finished an internship or have a specified amount of work experience in advance of becoming approved to sit for the examination. To help you fulfill this prerequisite, you should think about doing an internship or working in a non-certified position for a area business prior to the end of your education program.

Local businesses frequently work with accredited medical coding and billing programs to help arrange internships or job experience for each student. It is highly recommended that you have a talk with your instructor to see what opportunities are available to let you acquire the experience needed to become eligible for certification assessment.

Step 4 – Finish the certification process

medical billing and coding specialists in Arizona need to pass one of the five national certification exams in order to finish their certification. These assessments are made up of sections on all major areas of knowledge you would have been exposed to in your program.

Several of the major national certification assessments recognized in Arizona are shown below.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – These well-known, highly-respected national certifications are sponsored by the AAPC and are respected by virtually {all organizations}.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – This national credential is respected by nearly all business employers, stands for a nicely balanced competency in medical billing and coding, and can qualify its recipient for any medical billing and coding job opening.

Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential is a nationally-recognized credential that certifies its recipient for a wide range of positions in medical coding.

Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) presents 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 Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) credentials symbolize advanced skills in the responsibilities that are necessary in order to manage the billing and record-keeping at a medical care office.

Medical billing and coding salary and jobs in Arizona

There’s a higher than average demand for medical coding and billing specialists around the country and in Arizona. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% increase in new job opportunities across the nation and 22% increase in the State of Arizona through 2024. The majority of new jobs are expected to be created in physicians offices and hospitals. The remainder of positions may appear in the government job sector.

The opportunity to become comfortable with electronic health records (EHRs) makes the medical billing and coding occupation perfect for anyone thinking about advancing into another opportunity in the health information field.

Below you will find a list of the largest metropolitan areas in Arizona and even more data on medical coding and billing salary by location and county.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.05$18.29$30.21
Flagstaff, AZ MSAHourly$14.41$22.06$32.65
Yuma, AZ MSAHourly$10.82$19.16$38.40
North Arizona (BOS)Hourly$12.59$18.54$26.75
Tucson, AZ MSAHourly$12.19$17.93$28.28
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ MSAHourly$12.38$17.30$31.44
Prescott, AZ MSAHourly$12.13$15.48$23.71
Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ MSAHourly$12.11$14.93$34.85