Medical billers create and submit invoices to insurance companies and government health programs to obtain payments for procedures, examinations, and tests. Most use standardized codes to represent different procedures and charges. These professionals can earn medical billing certification through schools, training programs, and specialized associations.
Some medical billers and coders receive on-the-job training, but most begin working after obtaining a degree or certificate from a college, technical school, or training program. The requirements to earn medical billing certification from a training facility or program vary, depending on the school. Usually, medical billing students take courses to learn basic anatomy and physiology, medical coding, and the legal responsibilities billers have when handling a person’s medical records.
Many medical billing and coding programs are done online, though courses are also offered at community colleges and technical schools as well. Typically, a medical billing program only requires a person to have a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll. Students must meet the individual program's requirements to obtain a certificate, diploma, or degree at the end of the program. Most require students to meet certain grade expectations on coursework and tests. Some may have other requirements, such as attendance or internship hours.
Some associations for billers and coders offer medical billing certification. These credentials are usually nationally-recognized and demonstrate to current and potential employers that a biller has fulfilled the requirements of the association to receive a medical billing certification. Most certifications offered by professional associations require billers to complete continuing education courses or workshops to maintain their certifications, and remain informed about new developments in the field.
The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) offers several different certifications for medical billers and coders. The designation of Certified Professional Coder (CPC) is awarded to those who pass a comprehensive exam given by the organization. Medical billers who wish to sit for the CPC examination must be members of the AAPC, and must maintain their membership for as long as they wish to keep the certification. CPCs must meet continuing education requirements by completing classes, conference calls, workshops, or writing coding and billing articles.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers medical billing and coding certifications to their members. The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential is available to any biller or coder who applies to take the exam through AHIMA, and pays the exam fees. AHIMA also offers a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) designation, which is designed for medical billers and coders with more experience in the field, though anyone with a high school diploma can take the examination.