Becoming a medical biller or coder in Maryland
All medical billers and coders in Maryland do not have to become certified to be employed but employers may demand it. That being said it is a good idea to be certified as soon as you can. The field itself is regulated at a national level and the certifying bodies are listed below.
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 Maryland?
The exact process to become a medical biller or coder in Maryland is detailed below in the following four steps.
Step 1 – Determine if you are going to get certified
Coming to a decision whether or not to get certified is the very first step you’ll have to take if you’d like to begin a career as a medical billing and coding specialist. This particular decision could impact your future in two important ways: the types of positions you’ll be eligible to interview for, and the time it will take you to become employed.
Despite the fact that there will be an investment of both time and money necessary in order to get certified, the benefits that doing so gives you are significant. Being certified is becoming viewed as a must by some facilities who view it as a means to safeguard themselves against possible litigation and soaring insurance costs.
This move toward mandatory certification has even begun to have an effect on non-certified personnel who have been employed for years. A growing range of facilities across the United States have begun to expect their non-certified assistants to sign up for certification classes in order to stay employed.
With all of that said, you should start looking for a job as a non-certified medical billing and coding specialist right away if that’s your choice. But then again, should you choose to get your certification, you should continue to the next step below.
Step 2 – Complete a formal training program
The second choice you will need to make is whether you intend to pursue an associate degree, four-year bachelor’s degree, or a certificate. While each credential could make you eligible for starting medical billing and coding positions, there are some important differences between them.
Diplomas and Certificates
The syllabus for certificate or diploma programs focuses solely on teaching you the daily skills you’ll use as a biller or coder, and can usually be finished in 12-15 months. These programs are offered at a variety of schools, and may even be available online. This is unlike associate and bachelor’s degree courses which include general education and many other university classes as well.
Intended for students who wish to become employed in specialized settings and progress into other opportunities, associate degree courses are in-depth and last at least two years. Admission prerequisites and tuition for these programs are more substantial because they tend to be offered by either traditional junior colleges or trade schools.
The advantages of having an associate degree typically surpass those of the diploma or certificate, therefore the additional challenges are generally considered to be worthwhile.
The four-year bachelor’s degree in medical coding and billing is the highest level credential available, and covers the largest volume of material. These programs are provided by trade schools and traditional four-year schools, so entrance standards and tuition fees are usually higher.
The rewards of holding a bachelor’s degree are many, and consist of such things as higher pay and greater opportunity for advancement.
No matter the option you choose, be certain that you base your choice on your long-term career aspirations and financial situation. In the event you have to begin your career as soon as possible, and are worried about tuition fees, then the diploma program is probably the best choice. Many medical coding and billing specialists elect to go back to school in the future and earn a degree after starting with a diploma, so bear this in mind as well.
The best option is typically the associate or bachelor’s degree in situations when you have a precise career objective which will require a degree at some time.
How to pick a billing and coding program
Medical billing and coding education in Maryland 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 graduates who finish their training at a program accredited by one of these bodies are able to test for certification in the state. Go ahead and click on the links above to search their databases of schools near you.
It is very important to look for a few factors when figuring out where to enroll for training courses. Think about the following features when comparing a program to another:
- Find and only attend courses accredited by CAHIIM or AAPC
- Be sure to get the percentage of course graduates passed their certification tests
- Get your classes to fit into your personal schedule
- Be sure that all of your program costs will fit within your budget
Each one of us has different priorities that influence the decisions we make. For instance, if you’re concerned about how much your classes will cost, you can begin by eliminating any training programs that don’t fit your budget. Second, you should measure every course according to your second-most crucial criteria and to remove those that are not acceptable.
By simply following this methodical approach, you can narrow your choices to a handful of courses. Ensuring that the program you go with suits your individual circumstances can greatly improve your chances of successfully graduating.
Step 3 – Do an internship or acquire work experience
A requirement for many of the coding and billing certification exams is that the applicant needs to have already had job experience or finished a professional internship. Therefore, it’s strongly suggested that you either go through an internship or a non-certified position while finishing your schooling.
Many accredited medical billing and coding schools help students arrange internships with community companies. It’s recommended that you speak with your educator to see what solutions are available to help you gain the experience needed to be qualified for certification testing.
Step 4 – Successfully pass the certification assessment
Medical billing and coding specialists in Maryland are required to pass one of several national certification tests to earn their certification. The examinations incorporate segments on all important areas of knowledge you would’ve covered in your course.
The most-popular main national certification assessments administered in Maryland are detailed below.
Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – every employer.
Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – The NHA certification is recognized by businesses all around the United States, and indicates that its recipient has a well-rounded set of medical billing and coding competencies.
Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) is awarded to students who have finished a diverse curriculum in medical coding educaton, and is recognized by almost all facilities.
Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) grants a certification for medical billing and coding specialists.
Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – The CMBS and CMRT certifications stand for advanced expertise in the responsibilities required to maintain the record-keeping and insurance billing at a professional medical facility’s office.
Medical biller and coder salary and jobs in Maryland
In Maryland, as well as the remainder of the nation, demand is extremely high for medical billing and coding specialists. Through the year 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 20% growth in new jobs for medical billing and coding specialists in Maryland. Common workplaces are in hospitals, physicians offices and general care facilities. The remainder of positions should appear in the state and federal government job market.
Due to the rapid growth of EHRs (electronic health records) in the professional medical industry, the medical billing and coding industry is quite desirable with those interested in a career in health information.
To view income data for Maryland by region and county, feel free to check out the table below.
|Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA||Hourly||$13.58||$22.75||$36.09|
|Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division||Hourly||$12.74||$20.32||$34.86|
|Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV MSA||Hourly||$13.82||$19.78||$29.11|
|Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division||Hourly||$13.55||$18.51||$28.73|
|Salisbury, MD MSA||Hourly||$12.20||$17.33||$27.39|