Is Medical Billing and Coding Certification Important?

Is Medical Billing and Coding Certification Important?

Are you wondering whether you need to be certified to work as a medical biller or coder? California does not require certification to work as a medical coder or biller, but most employers are looking for certified candidates.

Medical coding is a complex process, requiring a great degree of accuracy. Obtaining a certificate in billing and coding enhances this accuracy, making it an attractive qualification for potential employers. If you are seeking a job as a medical biller and coder, certifications will help you gain a competitive edge in your job search.

Medical billing and coding is a fulfilling career with numerous upsides and few downsides. Most medical coding and billing training programs are less than a year in length. This means you can start earning a living relatively quickly, and most billing and coding jobs can be done remotely.

State Licensing Requirements for Medical Billers and Coders

Which states require medical billing and coding certification? None of the fifty states officially require a specific medical billing or medical coding certification to work in that capacity. Each state has their own guidelines, but state medical boards do not have licensing mandates for medical coders or billers. This is unlikely to change soon.

However, it may benefit candidates from a hiring and career advancement perspective to get certified in medical coding and billing. Many professionals often ask, "Is Medical Billing and Coding Certification Important?" The answer lies in the competitive edge it provides in the healthcare job market. Healthcare employers depend on a high level of accuracy in medical coding and billing, as well as the patients, and insurance providers.

Is a Medical Billing or Medical Coding Certificate Worth It?

Medical coders and billers play a crucial role in medical offices, private practices, clinics, and hospitals. They must accurately interpret each patient visit into a set of standardized codes. This is why a coding and billing certifications are crucial; they ensure a professional is well-versed in applying these critical standards. If they are less than highly accurate, the medical office may not be properly compensated by the insurance company. In some cases, the medical office may be audited.

For these reasons, most health facilities look for certified medical billing and coding candidates. Medical coding certification means the candidate is adequately trained in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT). These are the standards used by the healthcare system for medical coding and billing.

Not only does medical coding and billing certification give you a practical advantage in getting a job, but it may also help you get a better salary.

A 2021 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the median salary for all medical records specialists (coders and billers) was $46,660.[1] A 2022 salary survey by the American Association of Professional Coders found that medical coders with a CPC certification earned a median salary of $58,895. This data suggests a correlation between medical coding and billing certification and higher median salary.

The AAPC survey also shows a correlation between more coding certifications and higher median salary.

What Are the Different Medical Billing and Coding Certifications?

Each certificate in billing and coding covers various aspects of medical documentation and compliance, essential for the healthcare industry. There are many medical billing and coding certifications, these are some of the most prominent.

Medical Billing Certifications

Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS)

Exam offered by the AMBA (American Medical Billing Association). Awarded by the Certifying Board of the American Medical Billing Association (CBAMBA).

Prerequisite. Deep knowledge of the CPT, ICD-10, HCPCS standards.

Created in 2000, it remains one of the most thorough and respected medical billing certifications.

Certified Professional Biller (CPB)

Exam offered by the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC). All AAPC certifications require applicants to have a AAPC membership and any other prerequisites.

Prerequisite. Deep knowledge of the medical billing claims process, and CPT, ICD-10, HCPCS standards.

Medical Coding Certifications

Certified Coding Associate (CCA)

Exam offered by the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association).

Prerequisite. One of the following: Six months experience coding at a healthcare organization, complete an AHIMA-approved coding certificate program, or complete another formal coding training program.

Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)

Exam offered by the AHIMA. This prestigious coding and billing certification requires dedicated study and understanding, highlighting its importance in the medical field.

Prerequisite. Minimum three years of experience in a hospital or other physician-based setting applying coding to various cases. Also, complete coursework in anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology, or demonstrate equivalent proficiency in those areas.

Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)

Exam offered by the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC). All AAPC certifications require applicants to have a AAPC membership and any other prerequisites.

Prerequisite. Two years medical coding experience or equivalent.

This coding certification is for ambulatory services, dialysis centers, outpatient radiology centers, outpatient clinics and therapy, outpatient cancer centers, hospital emergency rooms.

Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)

Exam offered by the AAPC.

Prerequisite. Deep understanding of inpatient coding and reimbursement fundamentals, anatomy, and medical terminology. This is an advanced certification.

This certification is for hospital and facility inpatient coding, acute care hospitals, long term health care facilities, inpatient rehab facilities, general care hospitals. Focuses on patient services provided by the medical facility instead of the physician.

What States Pay the Most for Medical Billing and Coding?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics [2], the American Association of Professional Coders[3], and Allied Health Schools [4], the states where medical billers and coders are paid the highest are New Jersey, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Reported Avg Salary and Hourly Wage for Medical Billers and Coders, as of May 2022

State Avg Salary, BLS data, May 2022 Avg Salary, AAPC data Avg Salary, Allied Health Avg Hourly Wage, BLS data, May 2022 Avg Hourly Wage, AAPC data
New Jersey $67,130 $65,568 $61,680 $32.28 $31.52
District of Columbia $63,270 $65,000 n/a $30.42 $31.25
Massachusetts $58,950 $66,222 $59,120 $28.34 $31.84
California $57,950 $67,660 $51,170 $27.86 $32.53
Connecticut $57,480 $62,659 $55,100 $27.64 $30.12
New York $55,350 $62,369 $48,350 $26.61 $29.99
Washington n/a $61,920 $48,500 n/a $29.77
Maryland n/a $63,068 $48,350 n/a $30.32
New Hampshire n/a $60,959 $38,180 n/a $29.31
Colorado n/a $60,615 $47,510 n/a $29.14
Oregon n/a $60,830 $47,940 n/a $29.25
Rhode Island n/a $65,110 $47,340 n/a $31.30
Minnesota n/a $60,462 $50,470 n/a $29.07

Note: Data shown is from the respective sources, as of May 2022.

There is a range of data, because the organizations survey different medical records specialists, and they have a different range of education, experience, and professional certifications.

What are the Benefits of Earning a Medical Billing and Coding Certification?

There are many pros and cons to being a medical biller and coder. There are specific advantages to having certifications as a medical biller and coder.

Improved Job Security

One notable advantage is that coding and billing certifications can significantly enhance job stability. In an ever-changing job market, employers are looking to hire candidates with proven experience and knowledge. Medical coding and billing certifications are a sign to hiring managers that you can fit into a healthcare team and make positive contributions right away.

Increased Potential Earnings

The median range for medical billing specialists in 2022 was $47,180. Entry level billing and coding specialists may earn less than that, but the highest 10% of all coders earned about $75,460 in May 2022.[1] However, with additional medical billing and coding certifications, you may earn even more. A 2021 survey by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) found certified medical coders earn an average salary of $55,923 per year. The same AAPC survey showed medical billers and coders who earn two professional certifications earn an average salary of $64,890, and those who earn three certifications have an average salary of $70,608.

Credibility with Clients and Employers

Having certifications in billing and coding show clients that their medical information is in the hands of a dedicated professional who is responsible and ethical.

For employers, obtaining certifications shows you take your career seriously, and you have takne the time and effort to study, learn, and pass important exams. Remember that coders and billers play an important role in every medical office.

Flexible Schedule

Most medical coders and billers work Monday through Friday, though some billing and coding jobs allow a flexible schedule, as long as you get your work done in a timely manner. Having the ability to work on your own schedule, as long as the work gets done, is a great perk.

More Networking Opportunities

Many of the students you will meet as you study for your billing and coding certifications will go on to work in the healthcare industry, and can be valuable connections later on. Making connections now can help you find career opportunities down the line.

Gaining More Industry Knowledge

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to advance your career, investing in your knowledge of medical billing and coding is a smart move that will pay off in the long run.By gaining knowledge of the industry, you’ll be equipped to navigate the complex world of healthcare billing, ensuring that you can provide high-quality service to your patients and improve your overall job satisfaction.f you’re looking to break into the medical billing and coding industry, you’ll need a firm grasp of the principles and best practices surrounding it. With a comprehensive understanding of these concepts, you’ll be able to excel in your career and rise above the competition.

How Long Does it Take to Complete a Medical Billing and Coding Certification Program?

Most medical billing and coding programs take six months to one year to complete. The comprehensive curriculum typically includes key modules that lead to a certificate in billing and coding, equipping students with necessary industry skills. The program at takes about 36 to 42 weeks to complete.

Start Your Medical Billing and Coding Career in 36 to 42 Weeks

Campus offers a Medical Billing and Coding certification program that can be completed in 36 to 42 weeks. This program is fully online; all of the coursework can be done remotely from your computer with a broadband internet connection.

If you see working as a medical billing and coding professional in your future, contact our Admissions department today, and they can answer any questions you have about the course.

Remember, achieving a coding and billing certification can be a pivotal step in this career path, ensuring you meet industry standards. We’re here to help you start a rewarding career in medical billing and coding.

[1] Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, formerly known as MTI College, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.