See how to gain entry in to one of the accredited medical coding and billing classes in Virginia with our latest article. We cover the path to certification and what to expect along the way! Lets not waste anymore time and get started!
Becoming a medical biller or coder in Virginia
Medical billers and coders are not required by law to hold a certification to work in the state of Virginia, most of the state’s employers do prefer to hire certified individuals. Below are the certifying bodies that regulate the industry at a national level.
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 Virginia?
The steps to become a medical biller or coder in Virginia is detailed in the steps listed below.
Step 1 – Decide if you want to pursue a certification
Before doing anything else, you will first want to figure out if you are planning to get a certification, or try to find a job without one. This particular decision will influence your career in two ways: the types of jobs you’ll be allowed to apply for, and the time it will take for you to become employed.
As you could likely assume, deciding to make an effort to become certified offers several important benefits. Thanks to the increased litigation that medical providers face and the corresponding rise in insurance costs, many facilities now want their employees to have a certification.
The move toward compulsory certification has even started to have an impact on non-certified personnel who have been employed for years. In these instances, it’s now very typical for the workplace to call for their medical billing and coding staff to go to training and get their certification in order to continue to be employed.
If you nevertheless choose against getting certified, then the second step is to start applying for employment opportunities for non-certified medical billing and coding specialists. Step 2 and all subsequent steps mentioned in this article are only required if you’ve decided to pursue certification.
Step 2 – Finish the necessary education
The second choice you will have to make is whether your goal is to get a an associate degree in medical billing and coding, four-year bachelor’s degree, or a diploma. Either type of credential is recognized by most business employers, but you need to be cognizant of the pros and cons of each.
Diplomas and Certificates
Diploma or certificate programs may often be completed in a year or less, and concentrate their curriculum solely on the skill and practical knowledge necessary to start working. These programs are offered at a wide range of schools, and might also be available online. In contrast, associate and bachelor’s degree programs mandate students to take extra classes in non-related subjects.
Associate degree programs are typically two years long, and the content discussed is more comprehensive in scope. Courses awarding this credential are normally hosted by trade schools and community colleges, so they commonly have more-stringent admission standards that have to be met.
However, along with the additional commitments required to complete an associate degree, comes a larger range of advantages.
The four-year bachelor’s degree in medical coding and billing is the strongest credential offered, and goes over the largest volume of subject matter. These types of programs are administered by vocational schools and regular four-year colleges, so entrance prerequisites and tuition expenses are normally higher.
The rewards of receiving a bachelor’s degree are many, and include things like greater compensation and greater opportunity for promotion.
Either of these options is a viable approach to begin your professional career, provided that it meets your personal goals and economic circumstances. Should you have to start working as soon as possible, and are concerned with college tuition fees, then the diploma program may be the right choice. Many medical billing and coding specialists decide to go back to school in the future and earn a degree after starting with a diploma, so keep this option in mind as well.
The better option is probably the associate or bachelor’s degree in situations when you have a clear career objective which will require higher education at some time.
How to choose a coding and billing program in Virginia
The bodies in control of regulating medical billing and coding programs in Virginia include the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). You have to graduate from a program sanctioned by one of these bodies in order to become eligible to challenge to become certified in the state. The links above go to databases of accredited training programs.
Picking out the best program for your particular situation typically requires several considerations. Take into account the following things in a program when comparing it to another:
- Only attend CAHIIM or AAPC accredited classes and training
- Find out how many graduates passed their certification exam
- Get your time schedule in line with school
- Get educational costs inside your budget
All of us have different priorities that affect the choices we make. If you’re worried about tuition costs, start your search by seeing which programs fit your budget. After that, go on to the second-most important thing (e.g. course schedules, etc.) and use that criteria to further narrow your possible choices.
Repeat this method with every requirement that is important for you, and you should sooner or later have just a couple of schools to choose between. This considerably improves your likelihood of selecting a program that will meet all of your needs.
Step 3 – Finish an internship or accumulate some work experience
A prerequisite for almost all medical billing and coding certification tests is that the applicant needs to have previously had job experience or completed a formal internship. To satisfy this requirement, you need to plan on doing an internship or working in a non-certified position for a community business prior to the end of your education program.
Nearby businesses often work together with accredited coding and billing schools to help arrange internships or on-the-job experience for students. It’s recommended that you talk to your teacher to determine which solutions are available to let you gain the experience necessary to become eligible for certification assessment.
Step 4 – Pass a certification exam
The official medical billing and coding certification tests given in Virginia are the five primary national tests. These examinations consist of segments on each significant area of knowledge you would’ve studied in your study course.
The most-popular major national certification examinations administered in Virginia are outlined here.
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 respected by employers all around the country, and shows that its recipient owns a comprehensive collection of medical billing and coding skills.
Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The CCA credential is a nationally-respected certification that qualifies its owner for a wide range of opportunities in medical coding.
Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The NCICS certification signifies a chosen specialization in the skills necessary to succeed in the billing and coding field.
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) certifications signify advanced proficiencies in the tasks that are necessary to manage the record-keeping and insurance billing at a healthcare facility’s office.
Medical biller and coder salary and jobs in Virginia
There’s a high demand for medical coding and billing specialists around the U.S. and in Virginia. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15% growth in brand new positions nationally and a 18% increase in the State of Virginia through 2024. Hospitals, physicians offices and outpatient clinics are expected to fill the majority of these added jobs. The remainder of positions should appear in the state and federal government job sector.
The chance to become acquainted with electronic health records (EHRs) makes the medical coding and billing profession perfect for anyone contemplating advancing into another job in the health information sector.
The subsequent record reflects specifics on medical billing and coding specialist wages in Virginia by region.
|Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division||Hourly||$12.74||$20.32||$34.86|
|Charlottesville, VA MSA||Hourly||$13.96||$19.84||$29.52|
|Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA MSA||Hourly||$12.74||$17.55||$23.58|
|Roanoke, VA MSA||Hourly||$12.23||$17.38||$26.29|
|Lynchburg, VA MSA||Hourly||$11.94||$17.09||$28.27|
|Richmond, VA MSA||Hourly||$12.37||$16.75||$26.11|
|Harrisonburg, VA MSA||Hourly||$11.13||$16.61||$18.98|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA||Hourly||$12.42||$16.50||$23.68|
|Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA MSA||Hourly||$11.07||$16.23||$24.02|
|Winchester, VA-WV MSA||Hourly||$11.45||$15.82||$24.84|
|Southwestern Virginia BOS||Hourly||$9.41||$15.37||$24.09|
|Northwestern Virginia BOS||Hourly||$11.32||$15.13||$22.53|
|Southside Virginia BOS||Hourly||$11.13||$15.08||$22.85|