Step-By-Step Guide To Obtaining Your Medical Coding Certification Online

In the medical field, there are many off-scene professionals to keep the system functioning smoothly. Medical coders and billers are one of them, which serve as a communication source between the healthcare providers and payers like insurance companies.

To get this job, it is important to have medical coding and billing certification online or offline, which is a many-step process. As medicine is an ever-evolving field, earning your Certification online through digital strategies has become easy. This article will teach you how to get your online medical coding and billing certification.

What is Medical Coding and Billing?

What is Medical Coding and Billing?

Before knowing the steps for getting Certification, it is necessary to know about medical coding and billing, like what someone does in this field.

It is a field in which services, procedures, and diagnoses are translated into universal numeric and alphanumeric codes. These codes are sent to insurers, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders. These codes help them to understand why a patient has visited the hospital and associated factors with him, like injury, diagnosis, surgery, and treatment.

A medical biller is responsible for making an authentic report about a patient’s condition, and the message is sent to the insurance companies. A claim is made to repay the healthcare provider organization for all the services provided to the patient. Certified professional coders (CPC) have to fulfil these duties.

Medical Coding and Billing certification

Medical Coding and Billing certification

Before hiring people for this job, each healthcare organization wants verified candidates who have complete knowledge about the medical terminologies and codes to avoid any hazard in the future; that’s why employers need people with medical coding and billing certification.

You should know the following things to get the medical coding and billing certification online;

  • Medical Terminology: Candidates must have complete knowledge of current medical terminology to describe symptoms, procedures, diagnoses, etc. Candidates should also know anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology.
  • Coding System: CPC must be proficient in current coding systems in the world, like the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS).
  • Insurance and Billing Procedures: You should know all the aspects, like how to claim for expenditures. Candidates must know about insurance plans like Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.

Here are the steps you need to follow to get medical coding and billing certification online:

1. Research and choose an accredited program

The first step while getting your Certification is to choose the right program. Many institutions, like the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), offer online medical coding and billing courses. You need to consider the cost, duration, course content, and support the institution provides during the coursework. Candidates should choose the program with full attention as it is the most crucial step for getting CPC certification.

After choosing one program, it is required to access the eligibility criteria. Some programs require a high school degree or diploma or need candidates to know anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. Always choose that program that perfectly fits you.

2. Enrol in the program

After determining the eligibility criteria and choosing the medical coding and billing program, the next step is getting admission. You have to register yourself by submitting important documents and coursework fees. The whole process can be done online.

3. Engage in coursework

The coursework covers a lot of medical aspects, as you will learn about several medical terminologies, current working coding systems, billing and claiming procedures, health data requirements, and other things. Coursework has a timeline to provide the knowledge to the candidates in sequence.

Evaluation tests will be conducted to assess candidates’ knowledge, and they need to pass each coursework module. In this way, the institute, as well as the candidates themselves, can judge the expertise and skills of candidates. The whole training and tests will be conducted online.

4. Participate in practical training

Many institutes offer internship opportunities and practices because hands-on experience is necessary, along with theoretical knowledge. Candidates will apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios, making them masters of their field. Having practical experience also comes under the requirements of the Certification examination.

It is recommended that candidates should also do a part-time job as assistants of professional medical coders and billers to enhance their skills and expertise during their coursework program.

5. Get ready for the CPC exam

After completing all your coursework modules, shift your attention toward the syllabus and requirements of the medical coding and billing certification exam. You can practice for your exam with many past papers and revision tests available online by the AAPC. It would help if you covered some critical areas to pass the medical coding and billing certification exam.

  • Integumentary Surgical Coding
  • Respiratory Surgical Coding
  • Nervous System Surgical Coding
  • Endocrine System Surgical Coding
  • Digestive System Surgical Coding
  • Urinary System Surgical Coding
  • Musculoskeletal System Surgical Coding
  • Mediastinum & Diaphragm Surgical Coding
  • Male/Female Genital Surgical Coding
  • Hemic & Lymphatic Surgical Coding
  • Maternity & Delivery
  • Eye & Ocular Adnexa Surgical Coding
  • ICD-10-CM
  • HCPCS Level II
  • Radiology
  • Pathology
  • Laboratory
  • Medicine
  • Anesthesia
  • Evaluation and Management
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Coding Guidelines
  • Practice Management

6. Registering for the certification exam online

AAPC is the organization that takes the CPC exam. Candidates must read all the requirements for medical coding and billing certification online. Get registered with AAPC by filling out the form, attaching the required documents of completion of your coursework, providing proof of practical work, and submitting a fee for registration. You will get the date of your exam in your mentioned mail in the application.

7. Sitting in the CPC examination

There will be 100 multiple-choice questions, and four hours will be provided for the CPC exam. This test will be conducted online. CPC is an open book exam, and candidates don’t need to cram codes as approved manuals of CPT, ICD-10-CM, and HCPCS Level II code books will be provided in hard copy to each candidate. Electronic devices such as tablets and mobile phones will not be allowed.

The exam is conducted to judge the candidate’s knowledge, expertise, and skills, and a score will be awarded to each candidate on this basis. Remember that passing marks vary from institution to institution. That’s why you should give your best to score maximum to grab a good position on the merit list.

8. Get your certification online

The result is announced within ten business days, and candidates can check their results online. A hard copy of their result is mailed to their address. Candidates who score passing marks get the CPC certification. But the journey continues; candidates need to maintain their CPC certification by gaining continuous knowledge and experience. They must keep themselves updated with new coding systems during their professional life.

After getting the Certification, candidates can apply as medical coders and billers in any healthcare institution.

Final thought

You must complete all recommended steps to form a career as a medical coder and biller. Choose a suitable program, complete all coursework modules, get experience, register with AAPC, and pass the CPC exam to get the CPC certification. Getting CPC certification is recommended because certified medical coders have more chances of getting a job than non-certified ones.