Medical billing is a complex profession that requires a great deal of specialized knowledge and experience. As such, medical billers typically hold an associate’s degree from a two-year college, in addition to extensive on-the-job training. Medical billing students take classes either in a campus setting, which which gives the advantage of hands-on classroom experience, or online, which provides the convenience of learning from home on one’s own schedule. You can use our list of recommended programs to see which program works for you.
Billing & Coding Curriculum
Classes in a medical billing program generally include an overview of medical topics and software used in the billing industry. Students who’ve already taken courses in math, biology, chemistry, health and computer science should be well-prepared for the course of study.
Typical subjects taken by medical billing students include:
- Medical terminology
- Types of health insurance
- Data coding
- Database management
- Quality improvement
- Computer science
- Medicare overview
- Billing cycles
- Legal issues with billing and insurance
- Medical transcription
Medical Billing Certification
Once you’ve earned an associate degree in medical billing, you may want to consider becoming voluntarily certified by a medical billing association.
Certification is further evidence to a potential employer that you are qualified for the job, thus increasing your odds of being hired. There are many medical billing and medical coding certifications available, and since the two positions are so close (and often handled by the same person), coder certifications are a useful option for medical billers.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers several designations, including Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), which is the designation most employers prefer. To be eligible for this designation, medical coders must have graduated from a program approved by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Also available from AHIMA are the designations of Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA), Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) for medical coders who meet the criteria. More information on certification can be found on our Medical Billing and Coding Certification page.