Home / Career Guides / How to Become a Billing Specialist

How to Become a Billing Specialist

If you have accounting experience and excellent organizational skills, you might consider a career opportunity as a billing specialist. In the role of a billing specialist, you are responsible for issuing invoices to clients, managing medical billing for patients, and keeping track of payment schedules. To excel in this position, you should have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and experience working with various billing processes and systems.

A billing specialist typically works for an insurance or medical office where they handle all aspects of billing, invoicing, and payment processing. Billing specialists also help clients resolve billing issues and apply for healthcare credit programs. If you have experience working in these fields, you have a higher chance at succeeding.

Sample job description

[Your company name] is in the market for a skilled billing specialist that loves what they do. Our office is a fast-paced environment and requires a certain level of precision to ensure the highest level of accuracy possible. Our billing specialist will be required to work closely with our customers to assist them with all of their billing needs. An ideal candidate will have accounting experience, medical and insurance billing experience, medical coding experience, and two years of previous work as a billing specialist. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, apply today.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Entering bills into the computer in a timely manner
  • Working with insurance in regards to customer billing
  • Organize payment arrangements for self-pay customers
  • Resolve client billing issues
  • Assist patients with health care credit applications
  • Submit reimbursement requests to insurance companies
  • Handle patient records properly
  • Updating patient information when needed
  • Generating invoices and processing payments

Education and experience

  • High school diploma 
  • Associate degree in accounting, healthcare administration, or health information management 
  • Applicable technical certificates a plus

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong written and verbal communication
  • Excellent active listening skills
  • Above average customer service skills
  • Good problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • In-depth knowledge of industry practices
  • Superb math, bookkeeping, and accounting skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to remain discreet and keep patient information confidential
  • Effective computer skills
  • Comprehension of industry-specific policies

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, accounting, or a similar field preferred
  • Minimum of 5 years in a billing department role
  • Comprehension of accounting software like Quickbooks
  • Possess excellent attention to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal skills

Typical work environment

The typical work environment for a billing specialist is usually a medical or insurance office setting. Both of which are usually fast-paced environments but require the utmost attention to detail. Billing specialists spend a lot of time seated behind a desk using office equipment such as computers, printers, fax machines, and office telephones.

Typical hours

Typical billing specialist hours are the usual 9 AM to 5 PM office hours, Monday through Friday. Occasionally, they may have to work weekends or holidays depending on their company policies, but this is fairly uncommon.

Available certifications

Billing specialists have a wide variety of relevant certifications to choose from:

  • Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS). The CBCS is offered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). This certification requires one of two options. The first is a high school diploma or equivalent plus completion of a medical billing and code training or education program within the previous five years. The second is a high school diploma or equivalent plus one year of supervised work in the medical billing and coding field within the last three years. Continuing education is required every 10 years and a recertification fee is required every two years.
  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA). Offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the CCA is for entry-level coders. This certification requires a high school diploma, a minimum of six months of professional coding experience, and completion of an AHIMA-approved coding program, completion of a coding training program covering anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, basic ICD diagnostic/procedural and basic Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding. Candidates have two hours to complete the comprehensive exam. Every two years, candidates must complete 20 hours of CEUs and pay a recertification fee.
  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS). The CCS is also offered by the AHIMA and requires a degree from a medical coding training program. Candidates need one of the following criteria: at least two years of medical coding experience, an existing medical coding certification, plus one year of coding experience. Candidates must pass an oral or written exam, along with taking 20 CEUs and paying a recertification fee every two years.
  • Certified Coding Specialist – Physician-based (CCS-P). The CCS-P requires one of the following: a diploma or degree from a medical coding training program plus a year of coding experience, at least two years of medical coding experience, hold a CCA credential plus a year of coding experience, an existing medical coding certification plus one year of coding experience, or hold a CCS, RHIT, or RHIA credential. Candidates have a total of four hours to pass the written or oral exam. This certification requires 20 hours of CEUs and a recertification fee every two years.

Career path

Aspiring billing specialists can start their career path by gaining experience as a medical records specialist and go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in health information management to set them apart. Candidates could then gain experience in a supervisory role like a medical records coordinator, billing supervisor, or coding supervisor.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 29-2098

2020 Employment335,000
Projected Employment in 2030363,600
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift28,600 increase

The number of billing specialists is expected to increase by 9% by the year 2030. While it is not an astronomical increase in jobs, that percentage is still a comfortable increase for those interested in the medical billing field. There will always be a need for medical billing. Marketability should be a huge priority for billing specialists. The best way to accomplish this is to earn certifications.