Many people look to jobs in the medical industry when they want to find work. With an aging population, it’s one of those areas that has good promise of growth. Medical billing and coding is one of the popular choices when you look at this type of work but don’t necessarily want to deal directly with patients all day.
The challenge to becoming a medical biller or coder is to get good training so that you can find a job. There’s no point in training that doesn’t really prepare you to work, after all. How do you choose classes that will train you well for this kind of work?
Types of Classes to Consider
You have a few types of classes you can consider for your training. The usual routine is to check out local vocational schools or community colleges to see what kind of programs they offer for medical billing. It’s not a bad way to go for many people, as having to physically be in class is a sort of motivation.
However, it does have its disadvantages. You have to find a program that works with your schedule, whatever that may be. This is not always easy, as not every job has a regular schedule or can guarantee your hours won’t change while you train to do something else. You have to get to your classes on time, and if you have kids, you have to have someone available to watch them. Attending classes in person doesn’t fit into every lifestyle.
Online classes are often much more flexible. Most are self paced, which means that you can attend classes when you have the time, and progress as fast as you choose. You don’t have to wait for slower classmates to catch up or feel as though you’ve learned all the material before the semester is over. On the flip side, you can take extra time when you’re struggling with a concept, and be more certain that you’re ready for tests when you take them.
The disadvantage is that this takes much more self motivation, which not everyone has. If you need that extra push of having to go to school physically, online learning may not be for you.
What Makes a Good Online Medical Billing and Coding Class?
A good class will of course prepare you to work in medical billing and coding. They won’t certify you, although you may receive a certificate of completion. The two are entirely different, although the school may leave you prepared to take the certification test for medical billing through AAPC or AHIMA. There is no requirement to become certified, but it may be an advantage in your job search.
A course should give you the practical knowledge you need, such as medical terminology, healthcare structure, medical record types, codes and so forth. Some of these things change regularly, and you need the course to be up to date.
You also want the course to give you realistic practice. Studying from a book is great, but you don’t really know it until you do it. A good class will give you practice on real patient records so that you can learn to apply what you’ve learned.
A good course doesn’t have to take too many months, although it shouldn’t promise you that you’ll be done too quickly either. The school should be able to tell you how long it takes the average student to complete the course, as well as how long they’ll allow you to work on it, in case you can’t complete it more quickly.
A good class will also prepare you to become certified, even though it isn’t required for work. Certification may be requested by some employers, and may be an advantage in negotiating your salary.
Be very careful in choosing your courses. Not every school will train you well enough for this career. Look carefully at what’s offered to make sure you have the best chance of working in medical billing and coding.
Get free information from Career Step about how to train for a career as a medical coder or biller.