How to Become a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

With good study habits, you can complete your training in as little as one year!

If you are looking for a new career, you may have heard of a healthcare profession called medical billing and coding specialist. Have you ever wondered what this field is all about? How do you know if it would be a good career field for you?

The American College for Medical Careers offers a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist program that can be completed in just about one year’s time. Many people choose this professional field because they want to work in the field of healthcare, but prefer an office environment over direct patient contact.

To learn more about how to become a medical billing and coding specialist and to find out what the career field is like, check out these frequently asked questions.

What would I do as a medical billing and coding specialist?
Medical billers and medical coders are responsible for processing health insurance claims. They work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient centers, and other healthcare facilities. In this job, you would assign special codes to patients’ records and submit their insurance claims to private insurers, Medicaid, and Medicare. You might also be responsible for following up on claims that are not paid on time, billing patients for their portion of the payment, and checking the accuracy of the medical codes.

What courses would I need to take?
Learning to become a medical biller or coder will require dedication and commitment to your coursework. Programs like the one at ACMC can be completed in less than one year if you are diligent about attending your classes, doing your homework, and studying hard for your exams. Here is a sampling of the courses you would need to take at ACMC:

  • Medical Insurance & Billing: This course will introduce you to the different types of medical insurance and the importance of completing accurate claims. You will get to fill out universal claim forms and begin to learn to the coding systems called ICD-10 and CPT.
  • Electronic Health Records: Nearly all healthcare facilities have converted to electronic health records. In this course, you will learn how to use health information system software to maintain patient health records.
  • ICD Medical Coding: This course will teach you how to use the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) manual. You will become proficient in medical and surgical coding, including system-specific coding, third-party reimbursement systems, and issues of fraud and abuse.
  • CPT Medical Coding Concepts: Current Procedural Terminology is the procedural coding system for reporting medical services and procedures. You will learn to code procedure charges and services by utilizing the CPT Manual and Guidelines. HCPCS coding will also be covered.
  • Computerized Medical Billing: In this course, you will have the opportunity to input patient information, schedule appointments, and process the day-to-day billing, reports, and insurance claims using MediSoft Patient Accounting for Windows.
  • Medical Terminology and Physiology: As a medical biller or coder, you need to be comfortable with the language of medicine. You will learn the body systems as well as common diseases and symptoms. You will learn human anatomy and how the body systems work.
  • Medical Law and Ethics: Everyone working in the field of healthcare needs to understand the professional code of ethics, including patient confidentiality and patient rights. This course will focus on these areas and how they pertain to medical billing and coding.
  • Practicum/Externship: This course is an onsite externship (minimum of 100 hours) and a simulated computerized practicum experience. You will assign ICD-10, CPT-4 and HCPCS codes to actual medical records using an encoder and code books.

If this coursework sounds like it’s up your alley, you might want to take the time to explore this career choice further. Try reading the Occupational Outlook Handbook’s career description to help you get a better understanding of the career. Or feel free to contact ACMC to learn more about the career training programs at our campus in sunny Orlando, Florida!