With the healthcare field growing at a historic pace, all medical billing and coding schools in Georgia are filling up fast! See the details from bls.gov and nces.ed.gov below! We cover the ins and outs of training and how to start in a few quick steps today! The time could not be any better to get started towards your certification!
Becoming a medical coding and billing specialist in Georgia
Although medical billers and coders are not required by law to hold a certification Georgia, it is basically a mandate. It just comes at a national level. Below are the certification associations for billing and coding.
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 Georgia?
If you are looking for the process for becoming a medical biller or coder in Georgia, we summarized it in the following four steps.
Step 1 – Decide if you plan to become certified
Prior to anything else, you’re going to first need to figure out if you’re going to earn a medical billing and coding certification, or search for a position without one. This decision is extremely important as it’s going to have a major impact on not just how long it takes you to begin working, but also the types of positions you can apply for.
Although there will be an investment of both time and money required in order to become certified, the benefits that this gives you are significant. Being certified is becoming seen as a necessity by a large number of employers who regard it as a way to protect themselves against potential lawsuits and increasing insurance rates.
Even medical institutions that retain the services of non-certified medical coding and billing specialists have begun to alter their positions. An increasing range of business employers across the United States have begun to ask their non-certified assistants to sign up for certification training in order to stay employed.
Should you still choose against getting certified, then the next step is to start applying for employment opportunities for non-certified medical billing and coding specialists. The rest of the process described in this article only applies if you make the decision to get certified.
Step 2 – Finish the necessary education
The second decision you’ll need to make is whether you prefer to earn a an associate degree in medical billing and coding, four-year bachelor’s degree, or a certificate (called a “diploma” by some courses). While each credential could make you eligible for starting medical billing and coding opportunities, there are some significant distinctions between the three.
Diplomas and Certificates
The standard training course that awards a diploma or certificate usually lasts approximately 12-15 months and focuses entirely on getting students ready to manage the day-to-day tasks of a medical coding and billing specialist. A wide range of institutions provide these popular courses, and many of them are offered in an online format too. This is a big differentiation from associate and bachelor’s degree programs that hold the very same added requirements as conventional university classes.
if your main career goal is to advance into a specialized area of healthcare or a professional-level position, associate degree programs are usually the better option. Admission prerequisites and costs for these courses are higher as they are usually available at either traditional junior colleges or trade schools.
Having an associate degree does give you a lot of benefits that one may not enjoy with only a certificate or diploma, though.
The four-year bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding is the highest credential offered, and addresses the largest volume of material. Since these programs are provided solely by four-year schools and trade programs, the cost of getting this degree is normally significantly greater.
The advantages of earning a bachelor’s degree are many, and include things like higher salary and more opportunity for advancement.
Each of these options is a good way to start your professional career, as long as it fits your personal goals and economic situation. In the event you want to start your career sooner rather than later, and are concerned with tuition fees, then the diploma program might be the best choice. Remember, that you could always go back later and earn a degree after you have started working.
Should you have a clear long-term career objective in your mind, however, then committing to an associate degree may be the better choice.
What to search for in a medical billing and coding program
Medical billing and coding education in Georgia is regulated by the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). You need to graduate from a program approved by one of these bodies if you wish to become eligible to challenge for certification in the state. The links above will take you to searchable databases of accredited schools.
There are several things you will need to look for when you are deciding on a program to enroll in. Think about the following things when comparing a program against another:
- Only attend courses that are currently accredited by either the CAHIIM or AAPC
- Find out the total percentage of graduates who passed their certification exams
- Be certain that school time fit into your personal schedule
- Get the programs cost to fit in your own budget
We all have different priorities that influence the choices we make. For example, if you are worried about how much your training will cost, you could begin by eliminating any training programs that don’t fit your budget. You could then give some thought to the second-most pressing thing to help narrow your list even further.
Repeat this process for every requirement that is essential to you, and you will eventually have only a few schools to make a choice between. By simply deciding between programs that meet your needs, you are far more likely to have a good outcome with your training.
Step 3 – Complete an internship or acquire work experience
Most of the billing and coding certification exams call for you to have finished an internship or acquire a specific amount of job experience prior to being eligible to sit for testing. To help you fulfill this requirement, you will want to consider completing an internship or being employed in a non-certified role for a local employer before the conclusion of your education program.
The majority of accredited medical coding and billing schools make it possible for students arrange internships with area employers. It’s strongly recommended that you talk to your teacher to determine which solutions are available to help you get the experience needed to become approved for certification assessment.
Step 4 – Successfully pass a certification exam
In Georgia, you will be legally required to pass one of the nationally-administered tests for medical coding and billing certification. These examinations contain sections on every main area of knowledge you would’ve been exposed to in your study course.
The most-popular main national certification tests recognized in Georgia are shown below.
Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – every facility.
Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – The NHA credential is well known by businesses all over the country, and signifies that its owner owns a wide-ranging collection of medical billing and coding skills.
Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) is granted to students who have finished a diversified program in medical coding training, and is recognized by nearly all organizations.
Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) credential shows a targeted expertise in the competencies necessary to excel in the billing and coding field.
Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – The Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and CMRT national credentials represent advanced skills in the tasks needed in order to take care of the record-keeping and insurance billing at a professional medical business office.
Medical coding and salary salary and jobs in Georgia
In Georgia, as well as the remainder of the country, the demand is very high for medical coding and billing specialists. Through the year 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 23% growth in additional positions for medical billing and coding specialists in Georgia. The majority of new jobs are likely to be created in physicians offices and hospitals. There may additionally be limited demand at registrar organizations.
The opportunity to become acquainted with EHRs (electronic health records) makes the billing and coding field ideally suited for anyone interested in progressing into another job in the health information field.
Below is a record of the major metropolitan areas in Georgia and even more information on medical billing and coding compensation by location and county.
|Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA||Hourly||$12.47||$20.20||$27.13|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA MSA||Hourly||$12.23||$18.38||$29.29|
|Gainesville, GA MSA||Hourly||$10.11||$18.32||$24.74|
|Savannah, GA MSA||Hourly||$11.51||$17.91||$33.07|
|Middle Georgia BOS||Hourly||$9.75||$16.62||$27.00|
|Columbus, GA-AL MSA||Hourly||$10.61||$16.58||$25.92|
|Brunswick, GA MSA||Hourly||$12.21||$15.40||$26.25|
|Athens-Clarke County, GA MSA||Hourly||$9.19||$15.29||$22.82|
|South Georgia BOS||Hourly||$9.96||$15.24||$24.21|
|Rome, GA MSA||Hourly||$11.37||$14.73||$24.92|
|Chattanooga, TN-GA MSA||Hourly||$10.07||$14.62||$24.06|
|Macon, GA MSA||Hourly||$9.43||$14.55||$26.56|
|Valdosta, GA MSA||Hourly||$11.40||$14.48||$24.44|
|Albany, GA MSA||Hourly||$8.38||$14.08||$22.04|
|East Georgia BOS||Hourly||$9.53||$13.61||$24.35|
|Warner Robins, GA MSA||Hourly||$9.75||$13.07||$21.17|
|North Georgia BOS||Hourly||$9.82||$13.02||$19.74|