As one of the top allied health career training programs, medical coding and billing training in Massachusetts is increasing in demand at record levels. See what the next decade brings to the field with detailed data from bls.gov and NCES.ed.gov. We cover all the ins and outs and get to the nuts and bolts of what the training brings and what you can expect in your MA billing and coding program. The timing for enrollment is spectacular at the moment and taking advantage is easy if you follow the steps below.
Becoming a medical coder or biller in Massachusetts
Massachusetts medical billers and coders are not required to be certified but it is highly recommended. The billing and coding field is regulated at a national level by the organizations 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 Massachusetts?
If you are looking for how becoming a medical biller or coder in Massachusetts is done, we summarized it in the following four steps.
Step 1 – Do you plan to become certified?
Deciding whether or not to get certified is the initial step you’ll need to take if you would like to begin working as a medical coding and billing specialist. The decision will affect your future in two significant ways: the types of opportunities you will be eligible to interview for, and the amount of time it’s going to take you to find a job.
Not surprisingly, there are more advantages than disadvantages to being certified. On top of that, the majority of employers now demand that their medical billing and coding specialists get certified in order to safeguard them against escalating insurance rates and lawsuits.
Even medical institutions that employ non-certified medical billing and coding specialists are starting to change their stances. A growing number of business employers around the nation have begun to require their non-certified personnel to enroll in certification classes in order to remain employed.
Regardless, it’s possible to start searching for a position as a non-certified medical billing and coding specialist right away if you’ve opted against enrolling in professional training. The next step and all subsequent steps outlined in this guide are only necessary if you have made the decision to pursue certification.
Step 2 – Finish the necessary education
Medical billing and coding programs give three types of credentials to their graduates: an associate-level degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, and a certificate (sometimes called a “diploma”). While all three credentials may qualify you for starting medical coding and billing openings, there are some important distinctions between the three.
Diplomas and Certificates
The curriculum for diploma or certificate courses focuses only on teaching you the daily skills you are going to depend on as a medical billing and coding specialist, and can oftentimes be completed in less than a year. These courses are available through a wide range of institutions, and may even be offered online. By comparison, associate and bachelor’s degree programs mandate pupils to attend additional courses in non-related fields.
Associate degree programs are generally two years long, and the information included is more thorough in scope. As traditional college degree programs, coursework for this credential is most often available from vocational schools and junior colleges.
Nevertheless, with the greater investment required to complete an associate degree, comes an even greater range of advantages.
For those who would like to acquire the deepest comprehension of coding and billing, while also pursuing a well-rounded education, bachelor’s degree programs are normally the best choice. Because these programs are provided solely by four-year universities and trade schools, the price of acquiring this degree is typically significantly greater.
The benefits of holding a bachelor’s degree are numerous, and include things such as higher compensation and greater opportunity for advancement.
Each of these options is a good way to begin your professional career, so long as it fits your personal objectives and financial situation. The diploma or certificate approach tends to be the best option for people who are worried about being capable of spending the time and expense necessary for an associate or bachelor’s degree. Many medical coding and billing specialists elect to return to school later and earn a degree after starting with a diploma, so keep this in mind as well.
The better choice is usually the associate or bachelor’s degree in situations when you have a clear career goal that will require a degree at some point.
How to choose a coding and billing program in MA
The organizations in charge of overseeing medical coding and billing programs in Massachusetts include the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Only graduates who complete their training at a program accredited by one of these bodies are allowed to test for certification. Go ahead and click on the links provided to search their directories of schools near you.
It is very important to check out a few factors when deciding where to register for classes. You should consider the following as you compare training programs:
- Only take classes and courses accredited by CAHIIM or AAPC
- Try and get the prior percentage of course graduates passed their certification exam
- Be certain that classes will fit into your personal schedule
- Make sure that all the program costs are going to fit in your budget
Just like any decision, you must first determine what your main concerns are. For example, if you are concerned with the amount your classes will cost, you should start off by eliminating any training programs that don’t fit your budget. Next, go on to the second-most crucial thing (e.g. class schedules, etc.) and use that criteria to narrow down your possible choices.
By following this step-by-step process, you can reduce your options to a couple of programs. By deciding between programs that satisfy your requirements, you are far more likely to have a good outcome with your training.
Step 3 – Complete an internship or acquire work experience
Most medical coding and billing certification tests require you to have completed an internship or complete a certain amount of workplace experience in advance of being eligible to sit for the examination. For this reason, it is strongly suggested that you either find an internship or an entry-level non-certified job while completing your education.
Nearby employers frequently work hand in hand with accredited medical billing and coding schools to help setup internships or on-the-job experience for each student. It’s highly recommended that you get in touch with your instructor to figure out which solutions are available to make it easier to acquire the experience necessary to become qualified for certification testing.
Step 4 – Successfully pass a certification exam
In Massachusetts, you will be required to pass one of the nationally-administered tests for medical billing and coding certification. These exams include sections on all major areas of knowledge you would have studied in your training program.
Some of the main national certification exams recognized in Massachusetts are detailed here.
Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – every workplace.
Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – This national credential is accepted by nearly all employers, signifies a nicely balanced expertise in medical billing and coding, and may qualify its owner for any medical billing and coding job opening.
Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The CCA is presented to students who have finished a diverse program in medical coding educaton, and is accepted by nearly all business employers.
Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) credential signifies a focused specialization in the competencies necessary to stand out in the billing and coding industry.
Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – The CMBS and CMRT national credentials signify advanced skills in the tasks necessary to be able to manage the record-keeping and insurance billing at a professional medical office.
Medical biller and coder salary and jobs in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, as well as the rest of the country, demand is extremely high for medical coding and billing specialists. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15% growth in additional job opportunities nationally and a 14% increase in the State of Massachusetts through 2024. Hospitals, physicians offices and outpatient clinics are anticipated to fill the bulk of the new openings. The remainder of positions may surface in the state and federal government job market.
Because of the fast growth of EHRs (electronic health records) throughout the medical industry, the billing and coding profession is very popular among people interested in a career in health information.
The following record reflects data on medical coding and billing specialist income in Massachusetts by region.
|New Bedford, MA Metropolitan NECTA||Hourly||$16.93||$25.90||$38.18|
|Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA NECTA Division||Hourly||$15.77||$23.13||$35.42|
|Taunton-Norton-Raynham, MA NECTA Division||Hourly||$14.32||$22.71||$37.01|
|Framingham, MA NECTA Division||Hourly||$14.49||$21.89||$34.89|
|Barnstable Town, MA Metropolitan NECTA||Hourly||$13.72||$21.49||$36.67|
|Worcester, MA-CT Metropolitan NECTA||Hourly||$15.44||$20.84||$34.03|
|Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division||Hourly||$13.18||$20.74||$37.02|
|Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, MA-NH NECTA Division||Hourly||$13.27||$20.65||$33.51|
|Peabody, MA NECTA Division||Hourly||$14.44||$20.58||$34.80|
|Northwest Massachusetts BOS||Hourly||$15.95||$20.16||$24.01|
|Springfield, MA-CT Metropolitan NECTA||Hourly||$13.42||$18.89||$29.81|
|Leominster-Fitchburg-Gardner, MA Metropolitan NECTA||Hourly||$14.12||$18.87||$29.76|
|Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, MA NECTA Division||Hourly||$12.78||$18.68||$29.69|
|Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, MA-NH NECTA Division||Hourly||$13.64||$18.64||$26.88|
|Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA Metropolitan NECTA||Hourly||$12.71||$18.49||$28.60|
|Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, MA-NH NECTA Division||Hourly||$12.86||$16.55||$26.98|