Pros and Cons of a Credentialing Specialist Career
A credentialing specialist, a type of medical records and health information technician, keeps track of and verifies information for healthcare businesses. You can learn some of the ups and downs of this career by reading below.
|Pros of Becoming a Credentialing Specialist|
|Full-time and part-time work opportunities (15% of medical records and health information technicians were reported to work part-time in 2010)*|
|Public and private employment opportunities with the government or in physician offices*|
|Minimal educational requirements*|
|Good job growth (22% from 2012 to 2022)*|
|Cons of Becoming a Credentialing Specialist|
|Some facilities operate 24/7*|
|Overnight and evening shifts can be assigned*|
|Long hours sitting in front of a computer monitor can lead to various health issues such as eyestrain and back pain*|
|Professional certification is required by some employers*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Essential Career Information
Credentialing specialists have to oversee and participate in their company's development, implementation and adherence to governance bylaws, credentialing procedures, department rules and medical staff policies. They also maintain and collect information for their employer's database of practitioners. The employment settings that might use credentialing specialists include hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, credentialing verification businesses, health plans and group practices.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
The average annual salary for medical records and health information technicians was $38,860 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). This resulted in an average hourly wage of $18.68. The states that averaged the highest pay for this occupation were New Jersey, California, Colorado, Connecticut and Alaska. You could even earn upwards of about $59,000 annually according to the 90th percentile of wage estimates for medical records and health information technicians.
The BLS reported that from 2012 to 2022, medical records and health information technicians are expected to see a 22% growth in employment. When compared to other jobs, this growth is faster than average due to the country's aging population, who will require more health services.
Education and Training
An associate's degree or a post-secondary educational certificate is generally preferred by employers. You'll want to major in an area such as health information technology. Some of the classes you can expect to complete cover topics such as classification and coding systems, healthcare reimbursement methods, medical terminology, health data requirements and healthcare statistics. While you're in high school, courses that can be beneficial to you as you prepare for this career include biology, computer science, health and math.
What Employers Want in Credentialing Specialists
Having an eye for details is a trait many employers are looking for in credentialing specialists. When you're coding and recording information for patients, you need to ensure that everything is accurate to make sure no mistakes occur. You also have to make sure you're following all the proper codes, procedures and regulations in order to protect yourself and your employer.
The following June 2012 job postings demonstrate what real employers were looking for when hiring credentialing specialists:
- In Florida, an opening for a credentialing specialist required you to be able to write basic correspondences and present information to small groups including clients and customers. Requirements included a high school diploma/GED equivalent and six months to one year of healthcare experience preferred. Competencies in Microsoft Office Suite, writing correspondence and customer service skills were also requested.
- A medical consulting business in Ohio was looking for a credentialing specialist that could maintain confidentiality at all times and use physician credentialing programs. Experience in physician licensing, privileging, medical billing and office environment experience were other qualifications preferred.
- A Nevada credentialing business needed a specialist to coordinate multiple reports at the same time. Candidates with a high school diploma, two or more years of experience in medical credentialing and with Microsoft Office Suite proficiency were required.
- In Tennessee, there was a credentialing specialist opening for someone capable of following up on incomplete or missing forms. Candidates were required to have obtained at least an associate's degree, though a bachelor's degree was preferred. Candidates with at least one year of experience in healthcare credentialing and who were NAMSS-certified were preferred.
How to Stand Out
The National Association of Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) offers certification options that can help you stand out as a credentialing specialist (www.namss.org). To be eligible for the Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist designation, you have to have been employed with a medical services profession for the past year. An additional requirement is that you have to have been employed in this field for three of the last five years. You can ignore that latter requirement if you have the Certified Professional Medical Services Management certification. The test that you're required to pass covers the work duties you would be expected to complete as a credentialing specialist. This includes topics like primary source verification, privileging and credentialing.
Other Vocational Choices
If working as a credentialing specialist doesn't sound appealing to you, but you still have an interest in working in the healthcare industry, you could consider becoming a medical transcriptionist. In this role, you listen to the recordings of doctors and transcribe the information accurately into text. This information is then formatted and filed into a written report. The BLS in May 2011 found that medical transcriptionists earned about $34,000 on average in a year. You can expect around a 6% increase in employment for medical transcriptionists.
Medical and Health Services Manager
However, if you're looking for a healthcare career with more responsibility, you could look into becoming a medical and health services manager. In this administrative role, you would help coordinate a medical department or facility for your employer. This includes managing and hiring your employees. In May 2011, the BLS reported that medical and health services managers on average saw a yearly income of about $96,000. The job outlook for this occupation is expected to see a 22% employment growth.