The medical billing industry in the United States remains loosely regulated. While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) altered the way the industry operates, there is no government-mandated educational background required for medical billing employees. Most job advertisements require applicants to possess at least a high school diploma and prefer applicants obtain an associate degree in the field. Positions in management often necessitate an undergraduate degree and many executive-level positions are occupied by medical doctors or doctorates in the natural sciences.
There are a number of certifications offered by various health-care associations which can allow an individual to demonstrate a basic level of competence in medical billing. The Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist certification offered by the American Medical Billing Association and the Registered Health Information Technician certification from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education are the two most popular credentials available in the industry. It is important to note that none of the current credentialing programs are mandated by government regulators and no certification is required to call yourself a medical biller.
Community colleges, trade schools, and for-profit colleges offer various types of degrees and diplomas focused on the medical billing industry. Since the industry lacks a universal certification, it can be difficult to compare the varied offerings. While an educational background can demonstrate familiarity with the field, a diploma specific to medical billing may not necessarily be more useful than a more general degree. As the medical billing industry is fragmented, experience with one particular software package and billing method does not translate to expertise with a competing process.
Visit several online job boards to look for entry-level medical billing positions and familiarize yourself with the application requirements. A snippet from a sample job posting may look like this:
Must be at least 18 years of age or older
High School Diploma (GED) required
A minimum of an Associates’ Degree in healthcare related discipline desired
Knowledge, experience and/or training in accurate data entry, office equipment and procedures required.
The best route to entering the medical billing field would be to possess at least an associate degree in a health-care field and clerical experience. A school which provides an internship or entry-level job placement can be a good choice as well. Be sure that you are familiar with the total cost of education and the job placement rate of the institution before you begin a educational program in medical billing.