How Long Does it Take to Get Certified as a Medical Biller?
If you are motivated to improve your medical billing knowledge, learn new skills to maximize medical reimbursement, and advance your career, consider investing several weeks and a few hundred dollars into earning your medical billing certification. Read on to learn how much time it takes to complete your certification and how to prepare for the exam, which typically must be done in two phases.
Phase One: Study and Preparation - A Few Days to Several Weeks
To complete stage one of pursuing medical billing certification, you must complete three tasks. They are:
1. Choose Your Acronym: First, decide on which medical biller certification you want to earn. Then, research how to fulfill the requirements of your chosen credential. Two of the major medical billing certifications are:
- Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) offered through the American Medical Billing Association (AMBA). $325 fee.
- Certified Medical Billing Specialist (CMBS) from the Medical Association of Billers (MAB). $199 fee.
To receive certification through either of these organizations you will need to pass a comprehensive exam. Both exams cover similar subject matter, such as:
- medical terminology
- anatomy and physiology
- medical coding
- Medicare and private insurance claim processing guidelines
- handling denials and appeals
- maintaining regulatory compliance and avoiding accusations of fraud or abuse
2. Uncover Resources: Once you’ve decided on your desired certification, seek out relevant resources to help you prepare for the exam. Some students complete self-study with the help of textbooks, while others enroll in online courses or seek the guidance of classroom-based preparatory classes led by trained instructors.
The average time frame for completing a preparatory course is three to six weeks, though you may find shorter and longer programs. Many online certification courses allow you to study at your own pace, so you determine the amount of time you have available to complete the coursework.
3. Become an Association Member: To take a certification exam, you must become a member of the association that awards it. This requires you apply and pay the membership fee. Keep in mind that most organizations require that you have a high school diploma or the equivalent to take the exam.
Phase Two: Exam Component - One Weekend to Several Weeks
Attaining a medical billing certification demonstrates to employers that you can uphold a high standard of competency and professionalism, ensure proper claims documentation, achieve deserved reimbursement, and avoid penalties. Before reaching this milestone, however, you’ll need to pass a credentialing exam.
If you choose the CMRS exam, you can obtain a study guide on the American Medical Billing Association’s website. Then, you will take the exam online via a secure Learning Management System. You’ll have 45 days to access the system to complete the exam. Once you have completed the exam, your final score is available immediately, and confirmation of certification arrives in three to five business days.
To earn CMBS certification, you must complete one of the following preparation options before the exam: finish a series of six online courses at your own pace, enroll in a condensed ìPower Weekendî course which culminates in taking the certification exam, or test out of taking a preparatory course at a proctor site to become eligible to take the exam. Click here to visit a sample exam page on the AMBA website.
To maintain your medical billing certification, you’ll need to earn a certain number of continuing education credits (CEUs) per year: 15 units for CMRS and 12 for CMBS. You can fulfill these requirements by attending association-approved conferences, taking approved billing courses, or participating in other approved professional development programs.