Medical billing and coding courses in North Carolina are taking students at high rates due to the increasing demand for qualified students. See what training entails and how you can get started in a few easy steps. We cover the ins and outs of training from the beginning to the end.
How to become a medical biller or coder in North Carolina
All medical billing and coding specialists in North Carolina are regulated at the 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 coder or biller in North Carolina?
The short process to become a medical biller or medical coder in North Carolina can be summarized in the following four steps laid out below.
Step 1 – Do you plan to get certified?
The initial step you need to take is to make the decision if you’re going to get a certification, and the specialized education that will require. This choice can impact your career in two ways: the type of positions you will be able to interview for, and the time it’s going to take you to find a job.
Although there will be a commitment of both time and money needed to become certified, the benefits that doing so gives you are significant. Furthermore, most facilities now require that their team members get certified in order to safeguard them against rising insurance costs and lawsuits.
Even healthcare facilities that employ non-certified medical coding and billing specialists have started to alter their positions. An increasing number of business employers around the country have started to require their non-certified assistants to enroll in certification training as a condition of remaining employed.
Regardless, it is possible to get started looking for a position as a non-certified medical billing and coding specialist right away if you’ve opted against enrolling in professional training. The balance of the process described in this article only applies should you have made the commitment to get certified.
Step 2 – Complete a formal training program
Medical billing and coding programs award three types of credentials to their graduates: an associate-level degree, a bachelor’s degree, and a diploma. Either kind of credential is accepted by most hiring managers, but you need to be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
Diplomas and Certificates
The curriculum for diploma or certificate classes focuses solely on teaching you the daily skills you’ll rely on as a medical billing and coding specialist, and can often be completed in 12-15 months. A wide range of institutions provide these popular courses, and some of them are offered in an online format as well. In contrast, associate and bachelor’s degree programs call for students to attend extra courses in non-related subjects.
If your career goal is to someday move into specialized healthcare or a professional-level career, two-year associate degree programs are generally the best option. Admission standards and costs for these programs are higher since they tend to be offered by either junior colleges or trade schools.
Having an associate degree could provide you with a lot of benefits that one will not enjoy with only a diploma or certificate, however.
The four-year bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding is the highest level credential offered, and goes over the largest quantity of material. Given that these programs are provided solely by four-year universities and vocational schools, the cost of getting this credential is usually much higher.
Having a bachelor’s degree is frequently viewed by businesses as a tremendous advantage, and one can typically look forward to better pay and responsibilities because of this.
Regardless of the program you choose, you’ll want to base your choice on your long-term career goals and economic situation. The certificate or diploma route tends to be the better option for people who are concerned with being capable of spending the time and money required for an associate or bachelor’s degree. Take into account, that you can always go back in the future and get a degree after you’ve started working.
If you have a definite long-term career objective on your mind, however, then committing to an associate degree can be the better choice.
Comparing medical billing and coding programs
The organizations in charge of regulating medical coding and billing training programs in North Carolina include the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Only those students who complete their schooling at a program accredited by one of these bodies will be allowed to test for certification in the state. Click on the links provided to look through their directories of schools in your area.
Picking out the right program for your specific situation typically requires several considerations. Take into account the following features when comparing a program against another:
- Attend training currently accredited by CAHIIM or AAPC
- See the % of course graduates passed their certification exam
- See that classes will absolutely fit into your personal schedule
- See that the programs cost will actually fit within your personal budget
Similar to any decision, you must initially decide what your priorities are. In the event that the cost of classes is the most important issue to you, that should be the first thing you learn about every program. You should then give some thought to the second-most pressing thing to help narrow your list down even more.
Applying this approach, it is easy to cut your possibilities down to only a handful of schools. Ensuring that the program you go with fits your personal situation can significantly boost your likelihood of graduating.
Step 3 – Finish an internship or acquire work experience
The majority of the medical billing and coding certification tests will require you to have completed an internship or complete a specific amount of on-the-job experience in advance of being approved to challenge the examination. For this reason, it’s highly suggested that you either find an internship or an entry-level non-certified job while completing your education.
Most accredited billing and coding programs make it possible for each student arrange internships with area businesses. It is highly recommended that you have a talk with your educator to determine which opportunities are available to make it easier to acquire the experience necessary to be qualified for certification evaluation.
Step 4 – Finish the certification process
Medical billing and coding specialists in North Carolina need to pass one of several national certification tests in order to earn their certification. These exams consist of sections on every major area of knowledge you would have studied in your training program.
Some of the major national certification tests administered in North Carolina are shown here.
Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – Undoubtedly one of the most-recognized, and most-highly regarded of the medical billing and coding credentials, the CPC and CPB certifications are provided by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – The NHA certification is recognized by businesses all around the nation, and indicates that its recipient owns a wide-ranging set of medical billing and coding competencies.
Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The CCA is awarded to individuals who have completed a diversified curriculum in medical coding educaton, and is accepted by nearly all organizations.
Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The NCICS certification represents a targeted specialization in the competencies required to excel in the billing and coding world.
Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – The CMBS and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) credentials signify advanced competencies in the tasks needed in order to manage the record-keeping and insurance billing at a medical facility’s office.
Medical biller and coder salary and jobs in North Carolina
In North Carolina, and the remainder of the country, the need is very high for medical billing and coding specialists. Through the year 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 20% gain in new opportunities for medical coding and billing specialists in North Carolina. Hospitals, physicians offices and outpatient clinics are projected to fill the vast majority of the new positions. Certain registrar organizations also hire health information technicians.
As a result of the rapid growth of electronic health records (EHRs) throughout the medical field, the medical coding and billing profession is very desirable among those interested in working in health information.
To check out wage information for North Carolina by location and county, be sure to take a look at the table below.
|Winston-Salem, NC MSA||Hourly||$11.50||$19.09||$28.16|
|Greenville, NC MSA||Hourly||$11.82||$18.00||$25.14|
|Fayetteville, NC MSA||Hourly||$9.90||$17.69||$27.45|
|Durham-Chapel Hill, NC MSA||Hourly||$12.27||$17.55||$25.64|
|Burlington, NC MSA||Hourly||$11.20||$17.15||$27.44|
|Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC MSA||Hourly||$11.48||$16.95||$25.15|
|Asheville, NC MSA||Hourly||$12.61||$16.72||$24.32|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA||Hourly||$12.42||$16.50||$23.68|
|Jacksonville, NC MSA||Hourly||$12.24||$16.06||$24.87|
|Greensboro-High Point, NC MSA||Hourly||$11.69||$15.65||$23.34|
|Goldsboro, NC MSA||Hourly||$11.83||$15.57||$28.83|
|Wilmington, NC MSA||Hourly||$12.03||$15.16||$23.04|
|Western Central North Carolina BOS||Hourly||$11.40||$14.98||$22.78|
|Raleigh-Cary, NC MSA||Hourly||$10.70||$14.85||$23.37|
|Northeastern North Carolina BOS||Hourly||$10.34||$14.67||$21.88|
|Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC MSA||Hourly||$10.62||$14.30||$23.64|
|Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC||Hourly||$10.75||$14.28||$21.60|
|Western North Carolina BOS||Hourly||$11.11||$14.20||$23.28|
|Rocky Mount, NC MSA||Hourly||$10.28||$13.51||$19.58|
|Other North Carolina BOS||Hourly||$9.93||$13.36||$21.99|