Medical coding and billing classes in Tennessee are in search of students to fill the demand for qualified allied health workers. The next decade is full of tremendous growth and schools are doing their part to fill it. See what the details of this growth are and what you can do to get started towards certification today! We cover all the ins and outs of coding training below!

Becoming a medical coding and billing specialist in Tennessee

The medical billing and coding industry in Tennessee is regulated at a national level. The 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 coding and billing specialist in Tennessee?

The simple and relatively short process for becoming a medical biller or coder in Tennessee is summarized in the following four steps laid out below.

Step 1 – Determine if you plan to become certified

Making a decision whether or not to become certified is the first step you will have to take if you would like to start a career as a medical coding and billing specialist. The choice could influence your future in two ways: the types of opportunities you will be allowed to interview for, and how long it’ll take for you to become employed.

Naturally, there are many more advantages than disadvantages to holding a certification. With the increased litigation that healthcare providers face and the corresponding jump in insurance costs, a large number of facilities now want their team members to have a certification.

Even medical care facilities that employ non-certified medical coding and billing specialists have started to alter their positions. In such cases, it’s now very common for the employer to ask their medical billing and coding personnel to enroll in training and earn their certification so as to continue to be employed.

Nonetheless, it is possible to start looking for a job as a non-certified medical billing and coding specialist right away should you have decided against enrolling in formal training. On the other hand, if you do decide to get your certification, you can continue to Step 2 below.

Step 2 – Complete a formal training program

There are a few different types of credentials that might be received by graduating from a professional medical coding and billing training course – certificate, an associate degree, and a four-year bachelor’s degree. Each of these credentials can help you get a medical coding and billing position, but you’ll want to be informed about the benefits and drawbacks to each prior to choosing one.

Diplomas and Certificates

Diploma or certificate programs may often be finished in 12 months or less, and concentrate their curriculum only on the skills and knowledge necessary to start working. A wide array of schools offer these popular programs, and a lot of them are offered in an online format as well. This is in contrast to associate and bachelor’s degree programs which require general education and other college courses too.

Associate Degree

Tailored toward students who would like 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, coursework for this credential is most often offered by junior colleges and vocational schools.

The benefits and advantages of having an associate degree tend to outweigh the ones from the diploma or certificate, and so the extra hurdles are usually regarded as being well worth it.

Bachelor’s Degree

For students who would like to build the greatest understanding of coding and billing, while also getting a nicely balanced education, bachelor’s degree courses are typically the best choice. Because these programs are offered only by four-year colleges and trade programs, the expense of getting this degree is normally considerably greater.

Those who earn bachelor’s degrees in coding and billing are generally looked at as potential management prospects and are regularly paid like it.

Regardless of the approach you decide on, be sure to base your choice on your long-term career aspirations and economic circumstances. The diploma or certificate route tends to be the best way to go for those who are worried about being capable of spending the time and expense needed for an associate or bachelor’s degree. Take into account, that you could always go back later and pursue a degree after you have started your career.

Should you have a definite long-term career objective on your mind, though, then investing in an associate degree might be the best choice.

What to look for in a medical billing and coding program in TN

The bodies in charge of overseeing medical billing and coding classes in Tennessee 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 finish their classes at a program approved by one of these organizations are allowed to challenge for certification. You can click on the links provided to browse their databases of schools near you.

There are a number of things you may want to look for when selecting a program to enroll in. Think about the following things when comparing a program to another:

  • Take CAHIIM or AAPC accredited classes
  • Get the % of course graduates passed their certification exam
  • Get all of your studies and classes to fit into your time schedule
  • Budget your school costs

It is best to start off by listing, in order, the things that are most-important to you about a program. For instance, if you’re concerned about what your classes will cost, you should begin by eliminating those training programs that don’t fit your budget. Next, you can evaluate every course per your second-most crucial requirement and to remove any that are not satisfactory.

Repeat this method with every criteria that’s important for you, and you’ll at some point have just a couple of schools to make a choice between. Ensuring that the course you go with suits your personal circumstances can significantly boost your chances of successfully graduating.

Step 3 – Complete an internship or get job experience

A precondition for almost all medical coding and billing certification tests is that the student needs to have previously had job experience or completed a professional internship. In order to satisfy this prerequisite, you need to think about doing an internship or working in a non-certified position for a local employer prior to the conclusion of your education program.

Nearby companies sometimes work hand in hand with accredited medical billing and coding schools to help coordinate internships or on-the-job experience for each student. It’s highly recommended that you talk to your educator to figure out what opportunities are available to let you acquire the experience required to be approved for certification testing.

Step 4 – Successfully pass the certification examination

Medical billing and coding specialists in Tennessee must pass one of several national certification exams in order to earn their certification. These examinations incorporate segments on each significant area of knowledge you would have covered in your training course.

Some of the major national certification tests administered in Tennessee are outlined here.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – The popular, highly-regarded national credentials are provided by the AAPC and are accepted by just about {all organizations}.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – This national credential is recognized by the majority of facilities, stands for a well-rounded proficiency in medical billing and coding, and could qualify its recipient for almost any medical billing and coding job opening.

Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) is awarded to graduates who have completed a diverse curriculum in medical coding training, and is accepted by the majority of employers.

Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The NCICS credential symbolizes a specific specialization in the competencies needed 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 Certified Medical Records Technician (CMRT) national credentials symbolize advanced competencies in the tasks necessary to maintain the billing and record-keeping at a professional medical facility’s office.

Medical billing and coding salary and jobs in Tennessee

In Tennessee, and the rest of the nation, demand is extremely high for medical billing and coding specialists. Through the year 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 29% growth in new opportunities for medical coding and billing specialists in Tennessee. Hospitals, physicians offices and outpatient clinics are expected to account for the vast majority of all added openings. The balance of openings should appear in the government job sector.

Due to the rapid expansion of EHRs (electronic health records) in the professional medical community, the medical coding and billing profession is very desirable among those thinking about a career in health information.

To check out wage statistics for Tennessee by location and county, feel free to check out the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.05$18.29$30.21
Memphis, TN-MS-AR MSAHourly$11.34$19.00$33.96
Johnson City, TN MSAHourly$11.33$18.45$27.00
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN MSAHourly$12.12$17.20$29.76
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA MSAHourly$11.07$16.23$24.02
Knoxville, TN MSAHourly$10.85$15.63$23.87
Western Tennessee BOSHourly$10.12$15.21$23.39
North Central Tennessee BOSHourly$10.45$15.05$27.44
Morristown, TN MSAHourly$10.79$15.04$29.07
Clarksville, TN-KY MSAHourly$12.23$15.01$24.72
South Central Tennessee BOSHourly$9.05$14.82$27.69
Chattanooga, TN-GA MSAHourly$10.07$14.62$24.06
Jackson, TN MSAHourly$10.72$14.55$22.75
Eastern Tennessee BOSHourly$9.96$14.22$23.77