A career as a medical biller or medical coder awaits those in search of a rewarding career that includes job security and competitive pay. The pathway to becoming a medical biller and coder is one that does not involve extensive years of training. New medical billers and coders can be on their way to earning a respectable full-time salary in less than a year.
Medical Billing and Coding General Career Overview
Health care providers have a unique way of detailing the services that they provide for patients. There are codes used to represent a wide array of diagnoses. This system is called medical coding. The coding is used in the medical billing process, but is a separate discipline altogether. The coding is a form of translation used to describe medical services and products. On any given workday, medical coding professionals translate medical procedures into codes. Being able to translate and understand all of those specifics is what makes the job of a medical coder truly unique.
The medical billing part of this process refers to actually sending a medical bill, whether that be to insurance companies or another recipient. Medical billing in Alabama ensures that health care providers are financially compensated for the services they provide. Medical billers also coordinate insurance reimbursements to health care providers. Updating medical histories and maintaining patient billing are also part of the daily work assignments.
To ensure all of these tasks are performed efficiently, medical biller and coding professionals in Alabama both need to have a strong knowledge base of medical terminology. Medical coders possess a sound command of the medical coding system. A close attention to detail is required in both disciplines, along with good communication skills and an understanding of health information technology.
Medical billing and coding in Alabama is used in hospitals, medical facilities, family practices, clinics and other types of health care facilities. Alabama medical billing and coding professionals can find work in a variety of different settings.
Job Prospects and Potential Pay in Alabama
The average salary of a medical billers and coders in Alabama is $33,180 annually. Each job specification falls under the distinction of health information technician. Those annual salaries can exceed the statewide average, based on experience and location of employment. The demand has been growing for both medical billers and coders in Alabama as the number of professionals in this field continues to expand. There is expected to be close to a 5% increase in medical billing and coding jobs each year in Alabama over the next decade.
Top Alabama cities for medical billing and coding careers: Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Mobile, Colombus, Montgomery, Anniston-Oxford, Florence-Muscle Shoals, Decatur, Auburn-Opelika, Dothan, and Gadsen.
Medical Billing and Coding Certification Requirements in Alabama
There are lots of options for Alabama residents seeking out a certification in medical billing and coding. Even though medical billing is different from medical coding, they are both frequently taught in the same educational programs. There are certification programs offered by technical institutes, vocational schools and even some colleges within the state of Alabama. These certification programs typically take 6-12 months to complete. Upon completion of these programs, a certification is awarded, signifying that the individual has been properly trained in the disciplines of medical billing and coding. Post-secondary certification programs should also be accredited, otherwise the merit of the certification may have little impact on job prospects.
There is also the option of earning an Associate’s Degree, which takes two years of full-time status to complete. This degree is generally referred to an Associate’s of Science with a specialization in Medical Administrative Billing and Coding. While neither an Associate’s Degree nor a Certification is necessary to gain employment, either one of these accreditations enhance the possibility of obtaining medical billing and coding jobs in Alabama.
Earning a certification shows prospective employers that the individual has been properly trained in the areas of medical terminology, diagnosis coding, anatomy and physiology, procedural coding and other relevant subjects. The billing and coding process is covered comprehensively in accredited programs.
Medical billers and coders can also seek out a national certification by taking one of the exams offered by the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association). Without completing any kind of training program, applicants must have a minimum of six months experience in medical billing or coding to be approved to take the AHIMA exam. Coding exams will certify individuals as a CPC (Certified Professional Coder) while medical billers can choose from a variety of certifications, one of which is a (RHIT) Registered Health Information Technician. The AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) is another national organization that offers certifications for medical billers and medical coders.
Medical Billing and Coding Education Requirements in Alabama
It is recommended that medical billing and coding students hold a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Since there is a good deal of number crunching and spreadsheet work, basic math skills and Microsoft Excel knowledge are helpful throughout the education process.
Some programs available in Alabama:
The University of South Alabama
555 University Boulevard North, AHE 232Mobile,
Mobile, Alabama 36688
Ph: (251) 460-7200
Fax: (251) 460-7709
Jefferson State Community College
George Wallace Building
2601 Carson Road
Birmingham, Alabama 35215-3098
Ph: (205) 856-7710
Alabama License Requirements
There is no license needed to serve as a medical biller or coder in the state of Alabama. A certification or Associate’s Degree is recommended, although the state issues no formal certification or license to work as a medical billing or medical coding professional. Unlike other medical professionals, this type of work does not ask candidates to go through an application and renewal process.
How to Become a Medical Biller and Coder Resources
Here is a listing of some of the current job openings for medical billers in Alabama.
There is a wealth of Alabama companies looking for new medical coders and those job listings can be seen on LinkedIn.
This organization not only offers certifications, but its website provides an abundance of resources for medical billers and coders.
One of the most recognized organizations among medical billers and coders, this site provides a wealth of useful information.