In our latest article below we cover what you can expect in medical coding and billing courses in Montana and how to get started in a few steps. We get in to deep details about the career growth specifically for the state of Montana and much more. The next step towards certification as a medical biller is below!

Becoming a medical coder or biller in Montana

Montana’s medical billing and coding specialists are regulated at a national level by the bodies 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 Montana?

The exact process for becoming a medical biller or coder in Montana is summarized below in the following four steps.

Step 1 – Make the choice if you are going to get certified

Before anything else, you will first need to decide if you are planning to earn a certification, or look for a position without one. Not only will this decision determine the positions you will be eligible to interview for, but it can also determine how long it’ll take before you start your career.

Not surprisingly, there are far more pros than cons to being certified. With the increased litigation that medical providers have to deal with and the related rise in insurance premiums, many facilities now want their team members to be certified.

Even medical care institutions that employ non-certified medical coding and billing specialists have started to alter their positions. An increasing range of business employers around the country have begun to require their non-certified assistants to sign up for certification training courses in order to remain employed.

With all of that said, you can begin searching for a position as a non-certified medical billing and coding specialist right away if that’s your preference. The next step and the subsequent steps discussed in this guide apply only if you have made the decision to earn a certification.

Step 2 – Finish the necessary education

The second choice you’ll need to make is whether you intend to get a an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or a certificate. Either kind of credential is recognized by most hiring managers, but you should be familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Diplomas and Certificates

Certificate or diploma programs can oftentimes be finished in a year or less, and concentrate their course of study only on the competencies and knowledge required to begin working. Due to the fact that these are usually the most-popular kind of programs among students, they are frequently provided both online and on-campus by a wide selection of institutions. This is a significant change from associate and bachelor’s degree programs that have the exact same additional requirements as standard university classes.

Associate Degree

If your career goal is to someday advance into specialized healthcare or a professional-level position, two-year associate degree courses are generally the best way to go. Admission requirements and tuition for these courses are higher because they tend to be offered at either junior colleges or trade schools.

Nevertheless, with the greater commitment needed to get an associate degree, comes a larger range of benefits.

Bachelor’s Degree

The four-year bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding is the highest level credential offered, and focuses on the greatest amount of material. Because these programs are provided only by four-year colleges and vocational schools, the cost of acquiring this credential is usually significantly higher.

Carrying a bachelor’s degree is frequently regarded by businesses as a huge advantage, and one could often look forward to higher pay and responsibilities as a result.

Either of these options is a good way to start your professional career, so long as it matches your personal goals and financial circumstances. For those concerned about the money and time needed to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree, the diploma approach is typically the better way to go. Many medical billing and coding specialists choose to go back to school later and complete a degree after starting off with a diploma, so keep this option in mind as well.

If you are interested in progressing fairly quickly in your medical career, and already have a larger destination on your mind, then the additional time and expense needed to get a degree might make sense for you.

How to choose a billing and coding program in Montana

The bodies in charge of regulating medical coding and billing classes in Montana include the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). To become able to test for certification, you must first complete a training program that is approved by one of these bodies. Above are links to each respective organization’s databases of accredited training programs.

It is very important to check for a few things when deciding upon where to sign up for classes. You should consider the following as you compare classes:

  • Take your training at a program accredited by CAHIIM or AAPC
  • Gather the % of course graduates that previously passed their certification exam
  • Make sure that classes fit into your personal schedule
  • Make sure that the programs cost are going to fit within your budget

You should start off by ranking, in order, the things which are most-significant for you about a program. If you’re worried about tuition expenses, begin your search by seeing which programs fit your budget. After that, move on to the second-most important thing (e.g. class availability, etc.) and use that criteria to further narrow your options.

By using this step-by-step process, you can narrow your list of options to a handful of courses. By simply choosing between programs that meet your requirements, you’re far more likely to have a good end result with your classes.

Step 3 – Complete an internship or acquire job experience

A precondition for the majority of billing and coding certification exams is that the student must have previously had on-the-job experience or completed a formal internship. To help you fulfill this requirement, you will want to plan on finishing an internship or working in a non-certified job for a community employer before the conclusion of your training program.

The majority of accredited medical coding and billing programs make it possible for students reserve internships with area businesses. It is highly recommended that you consult with your teacher to figure out which solutions are available to help you to gain the experience required to be qualified for certification evaluation.

Step 4 – Successfully pass a certification exam

Medical billing and coding specialists in Montana are required to pass one of the five national certification examinations in order to finish their certification. The examinations contain segments on every main area of knowledge you would’ve covered in your training course.

The most-popular main national certification exams administered in Montana are shown here.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – Undoubtedly one of the best-known, and most-respected of the medical billing and coding credentials, the CPC and CPB credentials are sponsored by the AAPC.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – This certification is recognized by virtually all facilities, signifies a nicely balanced expertise in medical billing and coding, and may qualify its recipient for almost any medical billing and coding job possibility.

Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The CCA certificate is a nationally-respected certification that certifies its owner for a broad array of roles in medical coding.

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

Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – The Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) national credentials symbolize advanced proficiencies in the tasks required to be able to manage the billing and record-keeping at a healthcare office.

Medical billing and coding salary and jobs in Montana

There’s a higher than average demand for medical coding and billing specialists throughout the nation and in Montana. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 15% growth in brand new job opportunities across the country and 19% in the State of Montana through 2024. Hospitals, physicians offices and outpatient clinics are projected to fill the bulk of these new openings. The remainder of positions may arise in the state and federal government job market.

The chance to become familiar with electronic health records (EHRs) makes the medical coding and billing profession perfect for individuals interested in advancing into another opportunity in the health information industry.

The following listing features specifics on medical coding and billing specialist income in Montana by location.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.05$18.29$30.21
Central Montana BOSHourly$12.33$18.55$23.45
Great Falls, MT MSAHourly$13.17$17.29$23.01
Billings, MT MSAHourly$10.85$16.83$35.01
Eastern Montana BOSHourly$11.72$16.45$23.45
Missoula, MT MSAHourly$11.13$15.32$22.93
Southwestern Montana BOSHourly$11.57$15.15$24.32
Western Montana BOSHourly$10.62$14.61$21.83