Medical Coding and Billing in Alabama
Even if you have never worked in health care before, you have likely noticed how rapidly this field has grown in Alabama in recent years. As the Affordable Care Act changes care standards and expectations across the country, the amount of Alabama residents with access to insurance has risen dramatically. In order to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of new patients, health care employers throughout the state need professionals in all different specialties with all different levels of education.
Medical coding and billing specialists play a particularly important role in Alabama health care, as this field requires highly specialized knowledge that few health care professionals possess. The ICD 10, which includes billing codes for 68,000 different procedures, can only be truly understood by those who have dedicated their education to medical coding.
Interested in a health care career that focuses on numbers and analysis rather than patient care? Keep reading to learn more about medical coding and billing schools in Alabama.
What to Expect in Alabama Medical Coding and Billing Training
Medical coding and billing is a specific field of study, but it is still quite diverse. Depending on what type of diploma or degree you want to earn, you may spend between one semester and four semesters in school. Four semesters of education may lead to an Associate’s degree, while shorter programs often lead to a diploma or certificate.
Upon completion of a medical coding and billing program, you may be ready to earn several types of certification. AAPC offers certification in both specialties.
As you progress through your medical coding and billing training, you should gain expertise in many areas of health care. Courses that are commonly included in these programs include Medical Terminology, Medical Insurance Billing, Medical Insurance Coding, Electronic Health Records, and Computerized Medical Billing and Coding. Most programs include an internship or externship, allowing you to get practical experience and start building professional connections in the health care community.
Since health care as a field is experiencing shortages in many areas of employment, there are several scholarship programs for those who are working towards health care degrees. You may wish to look into local medical institutions. For example, the East Alabama Medical Center awards scholarships to those earning degrees in critical shortage fields.
Working as a Medical Billing and Coding Professional in Alabama
One of the main benefits of studying medical coding and billing is the fact that job growth in this field is expected to be extremely high. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net predicts a 21% increase in medical billing jobs in Alabama. Currently, the average salary for an Alabama medical billing specialist is $28,800 per year (O*Net, 2015).
Getting certified after you complete your education may significantly increase your employment opportunities. Since this field does not require licensure in the state of Alabama, employers may look for graduates who seek optional certification. During your job search, you may find postings at hospitals, general clinics, specialty clinics, medical insurance companies, and research facilities.
As the field of health care adapts to unprecedented growth in Alabama, the need for health care workers in all specialties may continue to grow. Contact medical coding and billing programs in Alabama to learn what you can do.