Medical biller and coder training in Washington is a wonderful route to take to get in to allied health! It is growing fast and the next decade looks really bright for the career. A medical coder does not require a college degree and certification and training requirements can sometimes be finished in as little as 12 months. Se more details below.

How to become a medical coder or biller in Washington

The billing and coding industry is regulated at a national level. All coders and billers in Washington don’t need to be certified but they should know it is strongly recommended.

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 Washington?

To see the process for becoming a medical biller or coder in Washington State see the following four steps below.

Step 1 – Do you plan to get certified?

Before anything else, you’re going to first have to figure out if you are going to get a medical billing and coding certification, or try to find a job without one. The decision will influence your future in two ways: the type of opportunities you’ll be allowed to interview for, and the time it’ll take you to find a job.

As you may likely assume, choosing to take some time to get certified provides many significant benefits. Thanks to the increased litigation that medical providers face and the related surge in insurance costs, a large number of facilities now require their team members to have a certification.

This is even true among employers who have previously employed non-certified staff. In such instances, it is now quite typical for the employer to require their medical billing and coding staff to register for training and get their certification so as to stay employed.

Regardless, it is possible to get started searching for a job as a non-certified medical billing and coding specialist immediately if you’ve opted not to sign up for formal training. The next step and all subsequent steps discussed in this article are only needed if you’ve decided to pursue certification.

Step 2 – Finish the necessary education

You’ll find three different types of credentials that can be received by completing a professional medical billing and coding program – certificate, two-year associate degree, and a bachelor’s degree. While each credential could make you eligible for starting medical billing and coding positions, there are a number of significant differences between them.

Diplomas and Certificates

Diploma or certificate programs can often be completed in a year or less, and focus their course of study entirely on the skills and knowledge required to begin working. A wide array of schools provide these popular courses, and a lot of them are made available in an online format as well. In contrast, associate and bachelor’s degree programs call for pupils to take other classes in non-related subjects.

Associate Degree

if your primary career goal is to ultimately advance into specialized healthcare or a professional-level position, two-year associate degree programs are usually the better way to go. Training programs offering this credential are generally located at community colleges and trade schools, so there are often also higher admission requirements that must be met.

The advantages of having an associate degree have a tendency to surpass the ones from the certificate or diploma, and so the additional challenges are usually regarded as being worthwhile.

Bachelor’s Degree

The four-year bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding is the highest level credential offered, and focuses on the largest quantity of material. Given that these programs are provided only by four-year educational institutions and vocational programs, the cost of obtaining this credential is typically significantly higher.

The rewards of holding a bachelor’s degree are many, and consist of things like higher compensation and greater opportunity for promotion.

Regardless of the program you decide on, be sure to base your decision on your future career aspirations and financial circumstances. The diploma or certificate program is typically the best option for those who are concerned with being able to spend the time and money needed for an associate or bachelor’s degree. There is the possibility of going back later and pursuing a higher degree after getting one of these credentials as well.

If you are planning on moving forward quickly in your professional medical career, and have a greater destination in mind, then the additional money and time necessary to get a degree can make sense for you.

Comparing medical billing and coding programs in Washington State

The bodies in control of regulating medical billing and coding programs in Washington include the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). You have to complete a program approved by one of these organizations if you wish to become approved to challenge for certification in the state. The links above go to each organizations databases of accredited training.

There are a few things you will need to look for when you are choosing a course to attend. Consider the following features when comparing a program to another:

  • Take CAHIIM or AAPC accredited courses
  • Find the number of previous grads passed their certification exams
  • Fit school and study time in to your schedule
  • Fit educational costs in to your budget

It is best to start off by ranking, in order, the things which are most-significant for you about a class. For example, if you are concerned about the amount your training will cost, you could start off by eliminating the training programs that don’t fit your budget. You would then give some thought to the second-most important thing to assist in narrowing your list even further.

Return to this method for every criteria that’s important to you, and you will at some point have only a few schools to choose between. By deciding between training programs that match your requirements, you are a lot more apt to have a good end result with your training.

Step 3 – Do an internship or get work experience

Some of the medical coding and billing certification examinations require you to have finished an internship or have a certain amount of work experience in advance of becoming eligible to challenge the exam. To help you meet this prerequisite, you will want to plan on finishing an internship or working in a non-certified job for a local employer prior to the end of your training program.

Local employers oftentimes work hand in hand with accredited medical billing and coding schools to help coordinate internships or work experience for each student. Nonetheless, it’s a good plan to find out as soon as possible if your program can help you with this certification exam prerequisite.

Step 4 – Finish the certification process

In Washington, you are legally required to pass one of the nationally-recognized tests for medical billing and coding certification. The tests consist of segments on every significant area of knowledge you would’ve been exposed to in your program.

Several of the major national certification tests administered in Washington are listed here.

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) from AAPC – every workplace.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) from NHA – The NHA certification is recognized by business employers all around the country, and indicates that its holder has a comprehensive set of medical billing and coding skills.

Certified Coding Associate (CCA) from AHIMA – The CCA is presented to graduates who have completed a diverse course of study in medical coding educaton, and is respected by almost all business employers.

Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) from NCCA – The Insurance and Coding Specialist (NCICS) certification signifies a targeted specialization in the competencies needed to succeed in the billing and coding industry.

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) national credentials signify advanced skills in the tasks that are needed to handle the record-keeping and insurance billing at a professional medical facility’s office.

Medical biller and coder salary and jobs in Washington

There is a high need for medical coding and billing specialists across the U.S. and in Washington. Whereas the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 15% growth in brand new jobs for medical billing and coding specialists across the country through the year 2024, the agency is expecting to witness a 16% increase in Washington. Hospitals, physicians offices and outpatient clinics are anticipated to account for the majority of these new positions. The remainder of opportunities may appear in the government job market.

The opportunity to become comfortable with EHRs (electronic health records) makes the medical coding and billing profession a good choice for those thinking about advancing into another career in the health information field.

Below you will find a record of the largest cities in Washington and even more data on medical billing and coding compensation by area and county.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$12.05$18.29$30.21
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$15.25$21.89$33.72
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSAHourly$13.81$21.83$30.25
Longview, WA MSAHourly$15.63$21.59$30.74
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA MSAHourly$13.44$20.37$30.63
Southwestern Washington BOSHourly$13.40$20.28$29.86
Northwestern Washington BOSHourly$14.44$19.93$29.85
Tacoma, WA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$14.84$19.37$27.73
Eastern Washington BOSHourly$13.09$18.46$25.69
Yakima, WA MSAHourly$12.90$18.30$24.54
Wenatchee-East Wenatchee, WA MSAHourly$12.83$17.94$28.37
Spokane, WA MSAHourly$12.98$17.68$27.40
Bellingham, WA MSAHourly$10.96$17.25$23.25
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA MSAHourly$11.25$17.13$25.40
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA MSAHourly$12.94$16.98$23.10
Lewiston, ID-WA MSAHourly$11.98$16.62$27.56
Olympia, WA MSAHourly$10.82$16.53$28.85