How to get free medical billing and coding training on-the-job. Advice from Elizabeth Roberts, writer and medical billing professional on the MB-Guide.org team.
I didn't start out as a medical billing specialist. When I was first hired in a small pediatrics practice, my main responsibilities were answering the phone, making appointments, and filing charts.
But slowly, through hard work and diligence, my responsibilities grew. Eventually I was helping the medical billing specialist follow up on insurance claims and sending simple appeals.
After a couple of years, as the practice grew, I was promoted to insurance clerk (ie. medical billing clerk). I was responsible for coding all claims as well as completing insurance appeals.
Now, after eight years, I manage the entire billing office in a pediatrics practice. I code all claims, send and follow up on appeals, enter payments, and manage all accounts receivable.
This is a huge responsibility. Not only are all claims riding on my shoulders, but if I don't do my job correctly, nobody in the office gets paid!
Needless to say, I have been in my specialty a long time. I do my job well, and am constantly learning new things about billing and coding.
But I've never received any professional medical billing and coding training. All my education has been on-the-job - free medical billing training!
Besides not being a certified coder, however, I don't feel that I'm at a disadvantage. My experience in the field has taught me what to look for, how to code, and the general ins and outs of the medical billing industry.
If you're looking for medical billing and coding jobs but don't yet have your certification or haven't completed your medical billing degree, don't worry.
There are many job opportunities for you, although you'll have to start at the lowest point and work your way up the ladder.
Many jobs in the medical field are flexible, so you can also continue getting your education as you get on-the-job medical billing and coding training.
The first step in getting free medical billing training on-the-job is choosing your field. Do you want to work...
Your decision depends on your personal preference.
While you're looking for jobs, or in the interview process, make sure you ask about opportunities for advancement and on-the-job training. Don't get a job at an office that outsources their billing, for example.
During your interview (and once you're hired), express your interest in medical coding and billing. Tell your employers that you would like to see if you can help in these areas.
Once your employer sees that you're a diligent worker who has attention to detail and a good work ethic, they'll be more than happy to refer your help to the billing department.
Often insurance companies or the state insurance association will hold seminars on medical billing and coding guidelines, or updates on their company practices. These are indispensable learning tools.
Even though I've been on-the-job for over eight years, I always learn something new. These medical billing seminars are almost always free, and last from a few hours to a couple of days. Because they're considered job training, employers won't deduct your pay or time off.
If you're trying to get into the medical billing field, going to these seminars is a great way to learn about the industry.
But the most important thing about medical billing and coding training on-the-job is to keep your eyes and ears open.
Because much of what I do is on a case-by-case basis, there is no one set of rules to follow in every situation. Keeping my eyes open to new situations, and examining what was going on around me, helped me advance to where I am today.
Once your employer has decided that you're ready to begin medical billing and coding training, he or she will assign one of the senior billers or coders to train you.
I have done this myself - it's a long and detailed process. Because what you're learning is the real thing, when you make a mistake it affects your office's bottom line and makes more work for everybody.
Your trainer will usually check your work to make sure everything is done correctly, until you can show that you can do the job.
Once you show that you can perform the job well and in a timely manner, what you've learned in your field becomes another one of your daily responsibilities.
Your help will relieve some of the stress of the senior biller, and show your employer that you are worth further training.
One of the perks of this process is that as your employer sees your potential, they'll often offer you a raise as your responsibilities grow.
If you decide that you want to move up the ladder further and taking on more billing or coding duties, continue to learn new things and attend billing and coding seminars.
After you've been in the industry for a few years you'll have valuable experience. Just this small amount of experience will help you demand a higher salary, and give you more job opportunities.
On-the-job medical billing and coding training is a great way to get paid while you become qualified for the work you want to do. When you think about it, this is better than free medical billing training!
Often, after you've been promoted into a billing or coding position, your employer will be more than happy to help you pay for your coding certification.
This will help you become a better coder or biller, as well as allowing you move flexibility in your future career decisions.
Now that I've been a medical billing specialist for over eight years, I think I'm ready to get my certification. I know all about the way the medical industry works, and I want that certification to prove it.
On-the-job medical billing and coding training helped me advance in an industry that I never knew existed, and I am happy for the opportunities it has provided me.
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