If you choose to become a medical biller and coder, you’ll be entering a career in healthcare that is one of the most-popular in the state if you enroll in medical billing and coding schools in Pennsylvania. Get all the details about the great demand for the career below!
Becoming a medical coder or biller in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania medical billers and coders are not required to but most of the state’s employers do prefer hiring certified candidates. The industry as a whole is regulated on a national level by the associations 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 Pennsylvania?
The process for becoming a medical biller or coder in PA is detailed in the following four steps.
Step 1 – Do you want to get your certification?
The very first step you should take is deciding if you are going to earn a certification, and the professional schooling it’ll require. Not only could this decision determine the jobs you may be able to interview for, but it’ll also dictate the amount of time it will take before you start working.
As you may probably imagine, deciding to take the time to get certified provides numerous significant advantages. Furthermore, the majority of employers now demand that their team members be certified in an effort to help protect their practices against soaring insurance premiums and litigation.
This is even true of employers who traditionally hired non-certified personnel. An increasing number of business employers around the United States have started to require their non-certified staff to register for certification training courses as a condition of remaining employed.
With all of that said, you should begin looking for a job as a non-certified medical billing and coding specialist immediately should that be your choice. Step 2 and all subsequent steps mentioned in this article apply only if you have made the decision to pursue certification.
Step 2 – Finish the necessary education
Medical billing and coding programs award a few types of credentials to their students: an associate-level degree, a four-year bachelor’s degree, and a diploma (alternately referred to as a “certificate”). All three of these awards could help you secure your first medical coding and billing position, but you’ll want to be acquainted with the advantages and drawbacks to each before deciding on one.
Diplomas and Certificates
The curriculum for diploma or certificate programs focuses solely on instructing you on the daily skills you will rely on as a biller or coder, and can oftentimes be completed in 12-15 months. A wide variety of schools provide these popular programs, and many of them are offered in an online format too. This is a significant change from associate and bachelor’s degree programs which have the very same added requirements as standard university classes.
Intended for students who want to become employed in specialized settings and progress into other positions, associate degree courses are in-depth and last a minimum of two years. As regular college degree programs, this degree is typically offered by junior colleges and vocational schools.
Nonetheless, along with the additional commitment necessary to complete an associate degree, comes an even greater number of benefits.
Bachelor’s degree programs normally require a minimum of four years, and will require students to develop a considerable mastery of coding and billing principles, and additional standard academic material. Given that these programs are administered solely by four-year educational institutions and vocational programs, the cost of acquiring this credential is normally significantly greater.
Holding a bachelor’s degree is frequently viewed by employers as a tremendous asset, and one could often anticipate greater pay and responsibilities because of this.
Either of these alternatives is a viable way to begin your career, as long as it matches your personal goals and financial situation. In the event you have to begin working right away, and are worried about college tuition fees, then the diploma program may be the right choice. There is always the possibility of returning to school later and getting a higher degree after getting a diploma or certificate too.
If you’re interested in advancing quickly in your medical career, and have a greater objective in mind, then the additional money and time required to earn a degree may make sense for you.
How to decide on a coding and billing program in PA
Medical billing and coding programs in Pennsylvania are mandated by state guidelines to be approved by a number of groups including the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). For you to become eligible to challenge for certification, you have to first graduate from a training course that is sanctioned by one of these bodies. The links above go to the databases of schools for each respective organization.
There are several things you will need to look for when deciding on a program to register for. Consider the following features in a program when comparing it against another:
- Get CAHIIM or AAPC accredited training
- Find out how many previous course graduates passed their certification exam
- Get all your school time to fit into your schedule
- Get all costs of education within your budget
Similar to any decision, it is important to first decide what your priorities are. For example, if you are worried about what your classes will cost, you should start off by eliminating the training programs that are outside your budget. You would then give some thought to the second-most important thing to assist in narrowing your list down even further.
By sticking to this step-by-step process, you can narrow your list of options to a couple of classes. Ensuring that the class you choose fits your individual situation can greatly improve your likelihood of graduating.
Step 3 – Do an internship or get work experience
Many billing and coding certification exams require you to have finished an internship or acquire a specific amount of on-the-job experience prior to being eligible to challenge testing. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you either complete an internship or a non-certified job during your education.
Many accredited billing and coding schools help pupils arrange internships with community companies. It’s recommended that you get in touch with your educator to figure out which solutions are available to make it easier to secure the experience necessary to be approved for certification assessment.
Step 4 – Complete the certification process
Medical billing and coding specialists in Pennsylvania must pass one of the national certification examinations in order to finish their certification. The exams incorporate sections on all principal areas of knowledge you would have covered in your training program.
The most-popular major national certification examinations administered in Pennsylvania are listed below.
Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – every workplace.
Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – The NHA certificate is well known by organizations all around the United States, and signifies that its owner holds a wide-ranging collection of medical billing and coding skills.
Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certificate is a nationally-accepted credential that qualifies its holder for a broad number of roles in medical coding.
Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) offers a national credential for medical billing and coding specialists.
Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) and Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) from MAB – The CMBS and CMRT credentials symbolize advanced skills in the responsibilities required in order to manage the billing and record-keeping at a medical facility’s office.
Medical coding and salary salary and jobs in Pennsylvania
There is a high demand for medical coding and billing specialists around the nation and in Pennsylvania. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 15% increase in brand new jobs nationally and grow at a 12% rate in the State of Pennsylvania through 2024. offices of other healthcare practitioners, hospitals and physicians offices are projected to account for the majority of the new positions. Certain registrar services also employ records technicians.
The opportunity to become acquainted with EHRs (electronic health records) makes the coding and billing field ideally suited for those contemplating moving on into other positions in the health information field.
The following record features statistics on medical billing and coding specialist income in Pennsylvania by location.
|Newark-Union, NJ-PA Metropolitan Division||Hourly||$18.06||$28.51||$41.21|
|Reading, PA MSA||Hourly||$12.48||$20.73||$30.58|
|Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division||Hourly||$12.95||$18.55||$32.31|
|Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA MSA||Hourly||$11.64||$18.38||$29.18|
|Far Western Pennsylvania BOS||Hourly||$12.23||$18.08||$23.31|
|Northeastern Pennsylvania BOS||Hourly||$12.91||$17.80||$24.50|
|Altoona, PA MSA||Hourly||$12.22||$17.47||$23.59|
|Lebanon, PA MSA||Hourly||$12.60||$17.26||$27.03|
|York-Hanover, PA MSA||Hourly||$11.57||$17.23||$27.44|
|Lancaster, PA MSA||Hourly||$10.91||$17.21||$25.38|
|State College, PA MSA||Hourly||$12.65||$16.89||$23.67|
|Johnstown, PA MSA||Hourly||$12.69||$16.87||$22.46|
|Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ MSA||Hourly||$12.71||$16.69||$26.48|
|Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, PA MSA||Hourly||$10.86||$16.57||$24.18|
|Pittsburgh, PA MSA||Hourly||$12.47||$16.21||$24.07|
|West Central Pennsylvania BOS||Hourly||$12.03||$15.68||$22.61|
|Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA MSA||Hourly||$11.35||$14.73||$22.47|
|Erie, PA MSA||Hourly||$11.04||$14.32||$21.67|