As a Virginia medical billing and coding specialists, you can expect to have a lucrative and fulfilling career. There are currently close to 4000 of these experts working statewide, but with the BLS projecting a 21% increase in these positions over the next few years, Virginia residents can expect to see even more jobs. The transition from paper to electronic medical records plays a large role in the need for more billers and coders, as does the rising 12.2% senior population in Virginia.
When it comes to earnings, certified medical billers and coders can expect to average $35,550 per year, but those with dual certification and at least an associate’s degree often make as much as $54,230. Dual certification allows you to work from home doing both professions and gives you the ultimate freedom in scheduling and employers you work for.
Working as a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist in Virginia
There’s often confusion concerning the fact that billing and coding are two separate fields, and that’s probably because they work so closely together and undergo much of the same training processes. However, they are different fields with separate responsibilities.
Coding specialists are typically the first to handle patient charts, and they must take care to confirm any unclear information within them before doing their work. Once all clarifications are made, coders translate the information into a coding system of their employer’s choice. Billing specialists then use this coded information to create accurate bills for patients and to establish insurance claims for responsible carriers. Billers often are further responsible for handling billing disputes and ensuring that their employer gets paid.
Medical Billing and Coding Training in Virginia
One of the most important facets of finding the right medical billing and coding training is to ensure its accreditation status with certifying organizations like the American Academy of Prof. Coders or the American Medical Billing Association. Only accredited schools will get you qualified to take your certification exam upon completion of the program.
Medical Coding: In your coding training curriculum, anticipate learning a good deal of medical terminology, common diagnoses, medical software programs, and the various international coding systems commonly in use today. One of the most popular is the ICD-9, which will update to a newer version in 2014. Many of the most desirable schools will include this coding system in their curriculum to prepare students for the future. Passing the CPC exam is the final step in certification.
Medical Billing: In your medical billing curriculum, prepare to learn common coding systems, medical terminology, patient privacy laws, medical software, and extensive accounting practices. Filing insurance and Medicare claims properly will also be a heavy focus of your coursework to prepare you to pass the CMRS exam for certification.
Is Learning Medical Billing and Coding Online Right for You?
If you are a self-starter and highly motivated, you would probably find yourself highly successful taking online medical billing and coding programs in Virginia. Those who prefer a little bit more guidance but still want the convenience of an online environment often discover that hybrid – or half online/half on-campus – programs are ideal. As long the certification boards accredit your program, your education counts just as equally as traditional education methods. Another benefit you will find is that online and hybrid programs can often be completed faster and cost less money than campus courses. Find an accredited online or hybrid billing and coding program in Virginia below.