How to Become a Medical Biller & Coder

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There is an increasing need for professionals in the medical field. Medical billing and coding are both areas that offer continued growth. There are some overlapping responsibilities within these two jobs, depending on the place of employment. In some positions, such as those at a doctor’s office, the insurance biller will also be the one doing the coding. But in larger facilities, such as hospitals, coders are separate positions and sometimes located in different departments than the medical billers. It will benefit potential employees to understand both disciplines.

Obtain a position in a medical establishment. Without prior medical billing experience, it will be necessary to get a job such as a receptionist with a doctors’ office and ask whether they would be willing to cross train In billing.

Become an insurance biller. This can be accomplished either by on the job training or through a short-term program through a local college or trade school. During this time, become familiar with the AMA Standard or Professional versions of the CPT, also the ICD-9-CM, and the HCPCS books. Some of these reference books will be used depending on the type of insurance billing that is done. No matter which may be used for medical billing, all three will be necessary for furthering a career by becoming a coder.

Take the medical coding certification exam while working as an insurance biller. The "American Academy of Professional Coders" website has a look-up tool to find both local and online methods of preparing for the exam. They also offer an independent study program done at home using three books they provide. The three reference books listed above are approved for use during the test. The test is 5 1/2 hours and consists of 150 questions.

Find a job as a medical coder. After passing the medical coding exam update resume by listing the "American Academy of Professional Coders" credentials. Look for a position either within the current place of employment or with an organization where coders are separate positions such as a hospital.


Be prepared to learn a lot of detailed medical information such as classes in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology for medical coding.


About the Author

Tammy Forner is a freelance writer who has a proven record of producing a wide variety of material for large and small companies both online and off. Since 2008, Forner has managed three blogs, written for eHow and Associated Content, and copywritten material for clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in family life education from Spring Arbor University.