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How Fast Can I Become a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist?

The beauty of working in medical billing and coding is that you have the flexibility to work in a doctor’s office, telecommute from home for one office, or establish your own work at home business with several clients. What you choose to do with your specialized training is up to you, but first you have to get that training. So how long does it take to become a medical billing and coding specialist?

Medical Billing and Coding

The first thing to understand about medical billing and coding is that, while similar, they are not the same thing. Some people choose to focus on the billing aspect, and some focus solely on the coding side of things. Most people, however, decide that working in both fields offers the greatest opportunity for career advancement.

Since medical billing and coding are separate entities, it may not take you quite as long as you’d expect to become a specialist. Many people who wish to pursue training for both will complete the training for one before starting on the other. This gives them the ability to begin working in the chosen specialty and gain experience in that field while continuing their education to include the other.

Becoming a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

Typical medical billing and coding training courses take an average of 9 months to 1 year to complete for both, and less if you choose to train in one area alone. This type of training usually offers a certificate program only, not a degree or diploma. The highest earning medical billing and coding specialists tend to hold an associate’s degree, which can take about 2 years to complete.

If you are interested in getting started in the field as soon as possible, a certification training course may be the best stepping stone toward your career. After all, you can always go back and enroll in a full degree program to get the credibility you desire while working with your limited training in the meantime. If that is your goal, be sure that the course you take during your certification training will transfer for credit toward your degree. Otherwise, you may find yourself required to repeat material that you have already completed and mastered.

This approach to becoming a medical billing and coding specialist is the fastest way to begin working in the career. If you would rather dedicate yourself completely to your education, however, you can expect to enter the workforce of medical billing and coding specialists with a full degree in about 2 years with little other continuing education required. Of course, you will need to keep current with any changes that occur in the healthcare system that would affect how you do your job, but otherwise you can sit back and enjoy a rewarding career with a rewarding salary to go with it. Add that to the flexibility to determine when, where, how often, and for whom you work, and it’s easy to see why so many people sign up for medical billing and coding training every year.

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