There are plenty of opportunities for people who wish to become a medical billing and coding specialist with the accredited medical billing and coding courses in New Mexico. See what the growth is over the next decade and how you can get involved right away and get started!

Becoming a medical biller or coder in New Mexico

New Mexico’s medical billers and coders are not required by law to hold a certification in order to work but most of the employers in New Mexico do want to hire certified individuals. The national 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 billing and coding specialist in New Mexico?

The exact steps and process for becoming a medical biller or coder in New Mexico is shown and summarized in the four steps below.

Step 1 – Do you plan to earn your certification?

Making a decision if you’re going to get certified is the first step you will want to take if you would like to begin working as a medical coding and billing specialist. This choice will affect your career in two ways: the types of opportunities you will be able to interview for, and how long it’ll take for you to find a job.

As you may likely guess, opting to make an effort to become certified offers some important benefits. Certification is becoming regarded as a necessity by some facilities who regard it as a way to protect themselves against possible litigation and soaring insurance premiums.

Even medical institutions that employ non-certified medical billing and coding specialists are starting to alter their positions. As a requirement of continued employment, non-certified medical billing and coding specialists are frequently being asked by their employers to earn a certification.

Nonetheless, it is possible to start looking for a position as a non-certified medical coding and billing specialist right away if you’ve decided against signing up for professional education. But then again, if you do decide to pursue your certification, you’ll advance to Step 2 below.

Step 2 – Complete a formal training program

Medical coding and billing programs award three types of credentials to their graduates: an associate degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, and a diploma (alternately referred to as a “certificate”). Either type of credential is accepted by most employers, but you should be aware of the disadvantages and advantages of each.

Diplomas and Certificates

The traditional course that awards a diploma or certificate usually lasts about 12 months and focuses only on getting students ready to cope with the daily tasks of a biller or coder. A wide array of schools offer these sought after training programs, and some of them are provided in an online format as well. This is unlike associate and bachelor’s degree courses which require general education and additional university classes as well.

Associate Degree

If your career objective is to ultimately advance into a specialized field of medicine or a professional-level job, associate degree courses are typically the better option. As traditional college degree programs, coursework for this degree is most often offered by junior colleges and vocational schools.

Having an associate degree could provide a number of benefits that one wouldn’t enjoy with only a certificate or diploma, however.

Bachelor’s Degree

The four-year bachelor’s degree in medical coding and billing is the strongest credential available, and goes over the largest quantity of material. Given that these programs are provided only by four-year colleges and trade schools, the cost of acquiring this credential is normally significantly higher.

Carrying a bachelor’s degree is frequently regarded by employers as a significant asset, and one could often anticipate greater salary and responsibilities as a consequence.

No matter which program you decide on, you’ll want to base your decision on your future professional objectives and financial situation. The diploma or certificate route tends to be the best choice for people who are concerned with being capable of spending the money and time required for an associate or bachelor’s degree. Many medical billing and coding specialists decide to go back to school in the future and complete a degree after starting out with a diploma or certificate, so keep this option in mind as well.

The better option is probably the associate or bachelor’s degree in situations when you do have a definite career goal that will require a degree at some point.

What to search for in a medical billing and coding program in NM

The organizations in control of overseeing medical billing and coding classes in New Mexico include the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). You will need to graduate from a program accredited by one of these organizations if you wish to be eligible to test for certification in the state. The two links above go to databases of accredited schools from each organization.

There are a few things you should consider if you are selecting a program to attend. As you weigh your choices, you need to take these factors into consideration:

  • Only attend classes and training that is accredited by the CAHIIM or AAPC
  • Ask for the % of course grads that previously passed their certification exams
  • See that classes will in fact fit into your personal schedule
  • Take the time to find out that the program costs will fit in your budget

Just like any decision, you have to initially decide what your priorities are. If the cost of tuition is the most crucial issue to you, make that the first thing you learn about a program. You would then consider the second-most important thing to help narrow the list down even further.

By sticking to this methodical approach, you can narrow your list of options to a couple of courses. Making sure that the class you go with fits your individual circumstances can greatly enhance your likelihood of graduating.

Step 3 – Complete an internship or get work experience

A precondition for many of the medical coding and billing certification exams is that the test-taker needs to have already had work experience or finished a professional internship. Therefore, it’s highly suggested that you either complete an internship or a non-certified position while completing your schooling.

The majority of accredited medical billing and coding schools help students setup internships with area employers. Nonetheless, it is a good plan to figure out whenever you can if your program will assist you with this certification examination requirement.

Step 4 – Finish the official certification process

In New Mexico, you will be legally required to pass one of the nationally-administered tests for medical coding and billing certification. These examinations are made up of sections on all important areas of knowledge you would have studied in your course.

Several of the major national certification examinations recognized in New Mexico are outlined here.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – These popular, highly-valued national credentials are sponsored by the AAPC and are accepted by almost {all employers}.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – This credential is respected by virtually all facilities, represents a nicely balanced expertise in medical billing and coding, and could qualify its recipient for any kind of medical billing and coding job opportunity.

Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) is awarded to graduates who have finished a diverse program in medical coding training, and is recognized by most organizations.

Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) grants a national credential 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 CMRT national credentials symbolize advanced skills in the tasks that are required to be able to manage the billing and record-keeping at a healthcare office.

Medical coder and biller salary and jobs in New Mexico

The need for medical billing and coding specialists is at historic levels in not just New Mexico, but throughout the whole U.S. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 15% growth in new spots for medical coding and billing specialists across the country through the year 2024, the agency expects to witness a 13 % growth in New Mexico. Popular workplaces are: general care facilities, hospitals and physicians offices. The balance of positions may appear in the state and federal government job market.

Because of the rapid expansion of EHRs (electronic health records) inside the medical industry, the medical billing and coding field is very desirable among people considering working in health information.

Below is a record of the major cities in New Mexico and even more specifics on medical coding and billing compensation by location and county.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.05$18.29$30.21
New MexicoHourly$10.62$15.54$26.29
Santa Fe, NM MSAHourly$12.70$19.13$29.48
Farmington, NM MSAHourly$10.57$17.32$25.30
North and West Central New Mexico BOSHourly$11.99$16.67$24.38
Albuquerque, NM MSAHourly$10.81$16.04$28.62
Southwestern New Mexico BOSHourly$10.95$14.38$23.72
Eastern New Mexico BOSHourly$10.02$13.36$23.00
Las Cruces, NM MSAHourly$9.72$13.27$20.81