If medical billing and coding courses in Arkansas are something you are interested in, see our latest resource below. We walk you through the process to licensing and what to do get started below. Along with that, we have extensive data from bls.gov and we show the future growth of the allied health field as a whole.
Becoming a medical biller or coder in Arkansas
It is not required by law to hold a certification in order to work in Arkansas but in most of the state, employers do prefer to hire certified individuals. The medical billing and coding profession in Arkansas is regulated on a national level and below are the certifying associations.
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 coding and billing specialist in Arkansas?
The process for becoming a medical biller or coder in Arkansas is summarized in the four steps listed below.
Step 1 – Determine if you plan to get certified
The initial step you should take is deciding whether or not you’re planning to get a certification, and the formal training it will require. This choice is crucial as it can have a huge influence on not only how long it takes you to begin your career, but additionally the types of positions you can apply for.
While there will be an investment of time and money necessary to become certified, the benefits that this provides are substantial. Being certified is also becoming regarded as a necessity by many employers who see it as a means to safeguard their practices against possible litigation and increasing insurance costs.
The shift toward mandatory certification has additionally started to have an impact on non-certified personnel who have worked for many years. As a condition of continued employment, non-certified team members are often being ordered by employers to earn a certification.
With all of that said, you should begin looking for a position as a non-certified medical billing and coding specialist right away if that is your choice. The balance of the process outlined in this article only applies should you make the choice to get certified.
Step 2 – Complete a formal training program
Medical coding and billing programs give a few types of credentials to their students: a two-year associate degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, and a diploma. Although all three credentials could qualify you for entry-level medical coding and billing openings, there are several important distinctions between them.
Diplomas and Certificates
The curriculum for certificate or diploma courses concentrates entirely on showing you the daily skills you will depend on as a coder or biller, and can oftentimes be finished in 12-15 months. A wide variety of schools provide these popular courses, and some of them are made available in an online format as well. This is in contrast to associate and bachelor’s degree programs which require general education and additional university courses as well.
Geared toward students who wish to work in specialized jobs and advance into other roles, associate degree programs are detailed and last a minimum of two years. As traditional degree programs, coursework for this degree is most often available at trade schools and junior colleges.
Having an associate degree does provide you with a lot of benefits that one will not have with just a certificate or diploma, though.
For students who want to acquire the deepest comprehension of coding and billing, while also pursuing a well-balanced college education, bachelor’s degree courses are probably the ideal choice. Given that these programs are offered exclusively by four-year universities and trade programs, the cost of getting this degree is generally much greater.
Holding a bachelor’s degree is often looked at by employers as a tremendous advantage, and someone can typically anticipate greater wages and responsibilities as a result.
Either of these options is a good approach to start your career, provided that it fits your personal objectives and economic circumstances. For people concerned about the money and time needed to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree, the diploma program is usually the right alternative. You have the possibility of returning to college later and earning a degree after getting a diploma or certificate as well.
Should you have a definite long-term career objective in mind, however, then committing to an associate degree program might be the better choice.
What to search for in a billing and coding program
Medical billing and coding training in Arkansas is governed by the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). You have to complete a program sanctioned by one of these bodies if you wish to become approved to test to become certified in the state. Click on one of the links above to to search accredited programs.
Deciding on the right training for your specific circumstances always involves a few considerations. You’ll want to consider the following as you compare classes:
- Take classes that are only accredited by CAHIIM or AAPC
- Get percentage of previous grads that passed their certification tests
- Try and fit school into your schedule
- Verify that the program cost is going to fit in your budget
It is best to get started by ranking, in order, the things which are most-important for you about a program. In the event that the cost of tuition is the most important issue for you, that should be the first thing you learn about each program. Next, you can evaluate every course based on your second-most essential criteria and to remove any that aren’t acceptable.
By sticking to this methodical process, you can reduce your options to a couple of programs. By deciding between programs that satisfy your needs, you are a lot more likely to have a good end result with your classes.
Step 3 – Complete an internship or acquire work experience
Some of the coding and billing certification examinations will require you to have completed an internship or have a specific amount of on-the-job experience prior to becoming approved to challenge the exam. To help you fulfill this prerequisite, you need to plan on doing an internship or being employed in a non-certified job for a community medical employer prior to the end of your education program.
Nearby business employers oftentimes work together with accredited coding and billing programs to help arrange internships or work experience for students. Nonetheless, it is a good plan to figure out whenever you can if your school can assist you with this certification exam requirement.
Step 4 – Successfully pass a certification assessment
In the State of Arkansas, you are required to pass one of the nationally-recognized examinations for medical coding and billing certification. The examinations incorporate sections on all principal areas of knowledge you would’ve studied in your course.
Some of the major national certification exams recognized in Arkansas are outlined below.
Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – every employer.
Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – The NHA credential is recognized by businesses all over the nation, and signifies that its holder holds a broad set of medical billing and coding competencies.
Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) is presented to individuals who have finished a diversified program in medical coding training, and is recognized by virtually all organizations.
Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The NCICS credential shows a specific specialization in the abilities needed to succeed in the billing and coding field.
Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – Suitable for anyone planning on concentrating on billing jobs, the CMBS and CMRT are national credentials that represent high level proficiencies in a range of billing-relevant skills.
Medical billing and coding salary and jobs in Arkansas
The need for medical coding and billing specialists is at historic levels in not only Arkansas, but throughout the whole U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15% growth in new jobs across the country and 17% incease in the State of Arkansas through 2024. The majority of new opportunities are likely to be produced in physicians offices and hospitals. Several registry organizations additionally employ health information technicians.
As a result of the rapid growth of EHRs (electronic health records) throughout the professional medical industry, the medical billing and coding field is very popular for people interested in working in health information.
To compare pay data for Arkansas by region and county, please take a look at the table below.
|Memphis, TN-MS-AR MSA||Hourly||$11.34||$19.00||$33.96|
|Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR MSA||Hourly||$11.46||$18.00||$26.35|
|Texarkana, TX-Texarkana, AR MSA||Hourly||$10.65||$16.79||$34.67|
|Hot Springs, AR MSA||Hourly||$10.33||$15.76||$19.03|
|East Arkansas BOS||Hourly||$9.97||$14.78||$24.24|
|Central Arkansas BOS||Hourly||$10.11||$14.74||$20.65|
|Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO MSA||Hourly||$10.14||$13.65||$23.55|
|Pine Bluff, AR MSA||Hourly||$10.10||$13.51||$25.74|
|Jonesboro, AR MSA||Hourly||$10.23||$13.37||$24.95|
|South Arkansas BOS||Hourly||$9.33||$13.16||$18.77|
|West Arkansas BOS||Hourly||$9.06||$12.76||$23.03|
|Fort Smith, AR-OK MSA||Hourly||$8.87||$11.87||$18.24|