Insurance billing specialists often need a certificate or an associate's degree in order to begin their careers. Professional certification, achieved through education and passing an exam, may make them more attractive to employers.
Insurance billing specialists, also referred to as health information technicians, are trained in the preparation, processing and filing of health insurance claims. These billing specialists may be required to hold at least associate's degrees as well as professional certification.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate's degree|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||15% (all medical records and health information technicians)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$37,110 (all medical records and health information technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Insurance Billing Specialists
Aspiring insurance billing specialists often hold associate's degrees in applicable majors, such as health information technology. This degree program includes courses in medical terminology, health-information management, medical coding and health-information law. Students may also be required to complete internships or practicums, in which they gain supervised experience in medical office settings.
Some community colleges and vocational schools also offer associate's degrees and certificates geared toward insurance billing specialists. These programs train students to prepare and process claims both on paper and electronically. They may also include introductory courses in anatomy, diagnostics and procedures.
In addition to holding associate's degrees, aspiring insurance billing specialists may be required to obtain professional certification. In fact, most employers favor those who have the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. The RHIT credential is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (www.ahima.org). To be eligible, applicants must be graduates of associate's degree programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. They must then pass an exam that tests their understanding in areas such as healthcare information standards, classification systems and legal issues.
Since their main duties include recovering medical records and transferring medical information to physicians and other professionals, insurance billing specialists must have strong clerical skills. They conduct much of their work on computers, so technological aptitude is also important. Specialists also need to be well organized and efficient while executing their tasks, and must have a strong eye for detail to ensure the accuracy and thoroughness of medical records.
With experience and higher education, such as a bachelor's or master's degree, insurance billing specialists may advance to upper-level positions in health information technology. They might, for example, become health information managers. Insurance billing specialists pursuing advancement in the field might also benefit from earning specialty certification.
Jobs for medical records and health information technicians are expected to increase 15% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The bureau also reported in May 2015 that these workers' median salary was $37,110
A certificate or an associate's degree is usually needed to get as job as an insurance billing specialist. Those who hold associate's degrees are eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Technician certification exam and earning a higher degree or specialty certification might aid in career advancement, as well. Jobs for medical records and health information technicians, like insurance billing specialists, are expected to continue rapid growth through 2024.