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How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical Biller?

Medical billers manage invoices, payments, and insurance claims in health care facilities. Medical billing is a growing field in a booming industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an eight percent rise in job openings through 2030 to meet demand. It’s a great opportunity to launch a rewarding new career.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Medical Biller?

Full-time students can graduate from a vocational school medical billing diploma program in just a few months. Having a medical billing diploma can get you ahead in today’s competitive workplace.

Health care finance is complicated, and few employers have the resources to provide extensive on-the-job training. It makes more sense to hire people who are already qualified.

What Do You Learn in a Medical Billing Diploma Program?

Diploma programs were created for people with no background in medicine. You’ll learn everything you need to know to hit the ground running in an entry-level position and build your career as a medical biller. These are the topics included.

Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy is how the body is made up, the structure of bones, muscles, and organs. Physiology is how it works, the chemical, electrical, and mechanical reactions that keep us alive. Medical billing students get a basic overview of the major body systems, disorders, and treatments to make their job gathering data easier.

Medical Terminology

Medical billers have no clinical responsibilities, but they sift through large volumes of health data, pulling information from charts for insurance forms.

Understanding medical jargon is a must. Terminology courses teach students how to figure out what terms mean by breaking them down into their parts, prefixes, suffixes, and roots. You’ll learn, for example, that “hypo” means below normal and “hyper” means above, empowering you to decipher meanings without memorizing thousands of definitions. Standard abbreviates and acronyms are also covered.

Health Insurance Models

Most health care bills in the United States are paid for by insurance companies. The process is complicated and may require reimbursement from multiple sources.

Vocational school programs cover the many different types of health insurance programs, from private policies to government programs, like workers’ compensation and Medicare. You’ll learn how the revenue cycle works and your role in how medical facilities get paid.

Billing Rules

Highly regulated, health care billing is a minefield of regulations. Vocational school programs cover rules governing subjects from patient privacy and fair billing practices to collections and conflicts of interest. Graduates are equipped to work within the law, protecting themselves and their employers.

Medical Coding

Medical codes are short, alphanumeric sequences used to describe health conditions, medical equipment, and surgical procedures. You’ll learn about the three major coding systems used globally for billing and to track health data.

ICD-10

ICD-10 stands for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision. Created in the seventeenth century, it’s the oldest coding system in the world and classifies every complaint, symptom, disorder, and cause of injury known to exist. Updated continually, it condenses medical information, so it’s easier to exchange.

CPT

CPT, or Current Procedural Terminology, codes are five-digit numbers describing diagnostic tests and surgical procedures. Developed by the American Medical Association in 1966, they’re used for reimbursement purposes and by the accrediting agencies that analyze health outcomes among medical facilities.

HCPCS

The Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System is a two-part system developed for the federal government in 1983 to describe medical equipment and ancillary services, such as ambulance transportation.

Computerized Medical Practice Management

Practice management software streamlines accounting in doctors’ offices by integrating inventory, insurance, health records, and other functions. Most practices can be run from a single computer.

A medical biller uses this software to access patients’ information, submit insurance claims, track payments, print invoices, and create financial reports. There are dozens of practice management programs available, but most work the same way.

Career Development

An often overlooked part of education is career development. Students need more than training. They need to know how to harness what they’ve learned to advance professionally. From seeking valuable certifications to marketing yourself to prospective employers, you’ll learn what it takes to get the job of your dreams and successfully climb the career ladder.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Medical Billing Diploma?

There are many benefits to getting a medical billing diploma. From getting a comprehensive education to learning from seasoned instructors, receiving a formal education can train you before you even start working on Day One. You will be a highly sought-after new hire.

Benefit 1—Get a Comprehensive Education

No one wants a job he or she is not prepared for. But vocational schools deliver the same quality education as colleges in less time and for lower tuition by focusing on what matters. Four-year degree programs take a lot of time to complete, and in the meantime, how do you pay your bills?

Benefit 2—Learn from Seasoned Instructors

Industry experienced instructors have a unique perspective on the medical billing field and how to grow your career. You’ll get insider strategies for success from people employed in the health care sector who’ve risen through the ranks. Seasoned instructors have contacts and can give you helpful networking tips.

Benefit 3—Enjoy Smaller Class Sizes

Smaller class sizes enhance learning. The pace is more relaxed with fewer distractions. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the inside of a classroom, and you’re worried about falling behind, relax. Smaller classes mean more one-on-one attention.

Benefit 4—Hands-on Learning

Hands-on learning can help engage both sides of the brain, enhancing recall. Students learn more in less time. In a vocational school program, you’ll learn from more than just books. You’ll practice billing procedures on a computer using the latest software so that when you graduate, you’ll be comfortable in your new job on Day One.

Benefit 5—Prepare for Certification

Certification as a medical biller is the next logical step in most students’ careers. It opens the door to opportunity and advancement. Vocational programs “teach to the test” so students who want to be certified are ready to take the exam.

Benefit 6—Get Job Placement Services

Vocational schools work hard to find jobs for their graduates. By working closely with local health care facilities to understand their staffing needs, these vocational schools become the go-to source for qualified applicants. You may find that many job openings are never seen by the public. Helping employers and graduates connect is a valuable career service.

Benefit 7—Gain a Competitive Advantage

Higher education isn’t required to work as a medical biller, but practically speaking, employers expect it. A diploma demonstrates proven skills and projects a commitment to the industry.

Turnover is costly, so employers prefer applicants with a stake in the field. As a new graduate, you’ll be competing for jobs with experienced medical billers. A diploma stands out and gives employers a sense of confidence in your abilities.

Where Will I Work as a Medical Biller?

Medical billers can work anywhere health care bills are generated. You’ll have opportunities in these areas.

Private Practices and Other Medical Environments

Doctors’ offices hire medical billers to manage insurance claims and assist with other financial tasks. The pace is more relaxed, and you’ll have more contact with patients. Responsibilities are less complex, but in small offices, you’ll have fewer resources for support. It’s an ideal setting for medical billers with prior health care experience.

Medical Billing Services

Medical billing services handle payments and insurance claims for hundreds of practices. Efficient, they allow doctors to separate the health and financial aspects of their practices. More business oriented than clinical, billers with a strong aptitude for accounting will thrive in this environment. You’ll have the support of colleagues with significant experience. If you’re a number cruncher, it’s a quick way to learn a lot.

Insurance Companies

Insurance companies verify the accuracy of claims before making coverage decisions. Medical billers review forms, researching the many details and looking for errors. The job is a good fit for detail-oriented graduates who enjoy the clinical aspects of medicine.

Final Thoughts

While opportunities in other industries are drying up, health care is expanding. If you’re stuck in a job you’re not happy with, but you don’t have years to devote to college, a diploma in medical billing could provide the change you’re looking for. In less time than it takes to plan a wedding or buy a home, you can secure a whole new career.

Did learning about how to become a medical billing specialist interest you? Are you ready for a rewarding career as a medical billing specialist?

The Medical Billing Specialist program at Hunter Business School on Long Island prepares billing and coding students to obtain entry-level employment specializing in medical related billing and coding in physicians’ offices, clinics, medical insurance companies, and hospitals. The Medical Billing Specialist program is a three-month diploma program available in the evening.

Contact us today to find out more about how to become a medical billing specialist on Long Island.