How to Get Started in a Medical Billing Career

By Beth Williams

  • Overview

    Medical billing can be a financially rewarding career, especially if you have the right education and a drive to succeed. Many medical billing specialists also opt to learn medical coding, making them a viable commodity in the workforce. Still, even if you want to focus solely on medical billing, you will find that there are countless career opportunities available.
    • Step 1

      Decide what you want. Will you specialize solely in medical billing or do you want to expand your opportunities by becoming a medical billing and coding specialist?
    • Step 2

      Get the training you need by enrolling in a medical billing program, which generally takes no more than a year, or an Associate or Bachelor's degree program. If you want to work in management upon graduating, you will need a four-year degree, typically in health information management.

    • Step 3

      Complete an internship. An internship will provide you with numerous benefits, including allowing you to gain valuable field experience and to make industry contacts, especially if you do your job well.
    • Step 4

      Get certified by a recognized industry association, such as the American Medical Billing Association or the American Academy of Professional Coders, if you are also going to become a medical coder. While certification generally isn't required to secure employment, opting to get certified illustrates your knowledge of the field and shows your commitment to your career.
    • Step 5

      Find a job by looking in your local newspapers, by using online job boards, by visiting the Career Center at the American Billing Association's website or by taking advantage of career placement services as offered by the Medical Association of Billers. You can also contact healthcare facilities directly to determine if they are in need of a medical billing specialist.
    • Step 6

      Start your own business, if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, once you have gained some real world experience and have built a network of contacts.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Tip: Before enrolling in a medical billing program, make sure that you research the program, talk with the program director and ask to speak with former and current students. This process will allow you to determine whether a particular program is right for your individual needs.
    • Tip: Medical billing specialists work in a variety of settings, including in doctor's offices, hospitals, pharmacies and laboratories. Some medical billing specialists telecommute while others opt to start their own businesses.
    • Tip: Make sure that you participate in an internship. It is common for interns, who impress their employers, to be offered a job at the end of the internship.

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