Those who may be intrigued by the idea of enrollment in to accredited medical billing and coding schools in Illinois, we have you covered with our latest article. See the data from bls.gov and get the facts about the future growth of the career as a whole and how you can start towards your billing and coding license today!

Becoming a medical coder or biller in Illinois

The medical billing and coding field in Illinois and nationwide is regulated at the national level by the the two certifying bodies below. It is not mandated by the state of Illinois to be certified but employers are mostly hiring certified candidates nowadays.

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 Illinois?

The process for becoming a medical biller or coder in Illinois is detailed in the four steps listed below.

Step 1 – Determine if you want to pursue a certification

Prior to anything else, you will first want to figure out if you’re going to get a certification, or look for a position without one. The choice could influence your career in two important ways: the type of opportunities you’ll be able to apply for, and the time it’ll take for you to get a job.

Although there is an investment of time and money required to become certified, the advantages that doing so gives you are significant. In addition, most employers now require that their staff get certified in an effort to help protect them against rising insurance costs and lawsuits.

This is even true among employers who previously employed non-certified personnel. A growing range of employers across the United States have begun to expect their non-certified staff to sign up for certification classes in order to remain employed.

With all of that said, you should start searching for a job as a non-certified medical coding and billing specialist right away if that is your choice. The next step and the subsequent steps mentioned in this article apply only if you have chosen to pursue certification.

Step 2 – Finish the necessary education

There are a few different kinds of credentials that can be earned by graduating from a professional medical billing and coding program – a diploma (or “certificate”, as they are also called), an associate degree, and a bachelor’s degree. Any of these awards could help you find your first medical coding and billing position, but you need to be informed about the advantages and disadvantages to each prior to choosing one.

Diplomas and Certificates

Diploma or certificate courses can oftentimes be completed in a year or less, and target their curriculum entirely on the competencies and practical knowledge needed to start working. A wide array of institutions provide these popular training programs, and a lot of them are provided in an online format too. In comparison, associate and bachelor’s degree programs mandate students to attend other courses in non-related fields.

Associate Degree

If your career objective is to advance into a specialized field of healthcare or a professional-level career, two-year associate degree programs are typically the better way to go. As traditional degree programs, this credential is usually provided by junior colleges and vocational schools.

However, with the additional commitment required to get an associate degree, comes an even greater range of advantages.

Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degree courses typically require a minimum of four years, and will require students to display a profound command of coding and billing principles, and other basic education materials. Since these programs are offered exclusively by four-year universities and vocational programs, the price of gaining this degree is normally much higher.

Students who complete bachelor’s degrees in billing and coding are generally viewed as potential management candidates and are frequently compensated accordingly.

No matter which option you decide on, be sure to base your choice on your future career goals and economic situation. If you have to start working right away, and are worried about tuition costs, then the diploma approach might be the best option. There is always the option of going back later and earning a higher degree after completing a diploma or certificate as well.

Should you have a definite long-term professional goal on your mind, though, then investing in an associate degree program may be the better choice.

Comparing billing and coding programs in IL

Medical billing and coding training in Illinois is regulated by 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 classes at a program sanctioned by one of these bodies will be able to challenge for certification in the state. Feel free to click on the links provided to browse their directories of schools in your area.

There are a few things you may want to consider when selecting a program to sign up for. When weighing your choices, you should take the following into account:

  • Only take classes that are accredited by CAHIIM or AAPC in a current form
  • Get percentage of grads that previously passed their certification exams
  • Fit any school time into your personal schedule
  • Fit all school costs in your budget

All of us have different concerns that influence the choices we make. In the event that the cost of tuition is the most crucial factor for you, make that the first thing you find out about every program. You could then consider the second-most pressing thing to help narrow the list down even further.

Repeat this approach for every criteria that’s critical for you, and you’ll eventually have just a few schools to pick from. By deciding between programs that match your needs, you’re far more apt to have a good outcome with your schooling.

Step 3 – Finish an internship or get work experience

A prerequisite for many of the billing and coding certification tests is that the applicant must have already completed on-the-job experience or finished a professional internship. For this reason, it’s strongly recommended that you either complete an internship or a non-certified training position during your education.

Most accredited billing and coding programs make it possible for each student reserve internships with area companies. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to find out as soon as possible if your program will help you with this certification examination requirement.

Step 4 – Successfully pass a certification assessment

In Illinois, you are required to pass one of the nationally-recognized exams for medical coding and billing certification. These assessments incorporate segments on all important areas of knowledge you would’ve covered in your program.

Some of the major national certification tests administered in Illinois are detailed below.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – Among the best-known, and most-respected of the medical billing and coding certifications, the CPC and CPB certifications are provided by the AAPC.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – This credential is recognized by the majority of facilities, signifies a nicely balanced expertise in medical billing and coding, and can qualify its owner for any medical billing and coding job possibility.

Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certificate is a nationally-respected credential that qualifies its owner for a broad range of positions in medical coding.

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

Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – Appropriate for anyone planning on specializing in billing tasks, the CMBS and CMRT are certifications that represent high level proficiencies in a number of billing-relevant skills.

Medical billing and coding salary and jobs in Illinois

Demand for medical billing and coding specialists is at historic levels in not only Illinois, but throughout the entire U.S. Up through 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10% increase in new jobs for medical coding and billing specialists in Illinois. Common workplaces are: general care facilities, hospitals and physicians offices. The balance of openings may surface in the government job market.

The potential to become familiar with EHRs (electronic health records) makes the billing and coding occupation a good choice for those interested in progressing into other roles in the health information sector.

Below is a listing of the major metropolitan areas in Illinois and more specifics on medical billing and coding compensation by location and county.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.05$18.29$30.21
Yearly$25,070$38,040$62,840
IllinoisHourly$11.76$18.38$31.25
Yearly$24,450$38,230$64,990
Danville, IL MSAHourly$14.80$23.44$32.17
Yearly$30,780$48,760$66,920
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan DivisionHourly$12.63$20.22$35.02
Yearly$26,260$42,070$72,840
St. Louis, MO-IL MSAHourly$12.62$20.17$28.99
Yearly$26,250$41,950$60,290
Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan DivisionHourly$13.41$19.24$32.34
Yearly$27,890$40,020$67,270
Springfield, IL MSAHourly$11.30$17.91$34.06
Yearly$23,510$37,250$70,840
South Illinois BOSHourly$11.21$17.76$30.31
Yearly$23,310$36,950$63,040
Decatur, IL MSAHourly$11.13$17.42$28.90
Yearly$23,150$36,240$60,120
Northwest Illinois BOSHourly$11.18$17.01$23.46
Yearly$23,260$35,380$48,800
West Central Illinois BOSHourly$10.63$16.84$28.11
Yearly$22,110$35,040$58,460
Rockford, IL MSAHourly$11.81$16.68$27.46
Yearly$24,570$34,690$57,120
Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL MSAHourly$9.26$15.77$27.10
Yearly$19,270$32,800$56,360
Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL MSAHourly$10.86$15.72$25.68
Yearly$22,580$32,690$53,410
Champaign-Urbana, IL MSAHourly$10.71$15.52$23.77
Yearly$22,280$32,270$49,450
East Central Illinois BOSHourly$10.57$15.28$25.54
Yearly$21,980$31,780$53,120
Kankakee-Bradley, IL MSAHourly$12.74$14.81$27.78
Yearly$26,490$30,810$57,770
Peoria, IL MSAHourly$10.83$14.54$23.48
Yearly$22,530$30,240$48,850