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Medical Support Careers/Medical Coding and Billing

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Question
Hi Joy, I am interested in learning Medical Coding and Billing. Are there any age limitations on this type of work and are males actively engaged in it? I would like to know if there are home study classes being offered and where? Also, it would be ideal for me to do work at home in this field. What are the possibilities that this could happen? And finally, about how long does a course in MC&B take? Thank you for your kind reply.

Answer
Hi Marc

You have some great questions.  Let me start by saying that medical coding and billing is an exciting and rewarding career.  There are no age or gender limitations.  I currently work with a group of people ranging in age from their early twenties to late sixties, both male and female.  Be careful about the home study classes, not all health care facilities will accept all online or home study programs.  You need a certification from a reputable, national organization such as AAPC, AHIMA, etc.  Also, if you have no experience in medical coding and billing you may need to take a course at a community college which offers anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, etc.  Depending on what school you choose and how much education you currently have that could crossover into billing and coding, it could take from 3 to 9 months to complete a full course if you go full time.

Working in medical coding and billing offers a wide range of opportunities to work from home specifically hospital coding.  In a hospital, medical coding and billing are separate jobs in which coders generally make more money and have more opportunities to work from home.  In a physicians office, medical coding and billing are usually one person's job and the opportunities to work from home are limited. The only difficulty in breaking into medical billing and coding is that most jobs require some experience which you can't get if no one will give you a chance.  My suggestion is that while you go to school, try to get an entry level job in a hospital or physician practice.  Most managers prefer to hire within even if you don't have the experience you are looking for so when a position comes open you can apply for it.  

Medical coding is in such high demand right now, you can't go wrong getting a CPC or CCS certification. Good luck!

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Joy B. Hicks, MBA, CPM

Expertise

I can answer any question related to administrative medical support careers such as billing, coding, reception, etc. to help you get the job you want, questions about job descriptions, and how to retain medical support staff for managers.

Experience

I have been in the medical office field since 2001 working in a number of administrative support and supervisory roles and also write medical office content for about.com.

Publications
medicaloffice.about.com
askamedicalbiller.com
allthingsmedicaloffice.blogspot.com

Education/Credentials
Certified Practice Manager
AAS Business Administration
BA Health Care Administration
MBA w/ healthcare specialization

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