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Top 10 Patient Financial Counselor Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most highly-regarded patient financial counselor certifications available.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for patient financial counselors in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that the individual has met a certain level of expertise and professionalism. Certified patient financial counselors have demonstrated their knowledge of the field, as well as their ability to effectively handle complex patient financial situations. Certification also shows potential employers that the counselor is dedicated to staying up-to-date on industry standards, best practices, and compliance laws. Having certifications can help a patient financial counselor stand out from other candidates and make them more desirable when seeking employment in this field.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the top certifications for Patient Financial Counselors and explain how they can benefit a patient financial counselor's career.

What are Patient Financial Counselor Certifications?

Patient financial counselor certification is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have specialized knowledge and skills related to helping patients understand and manage their healthcare finances. Certified patient financial counselors can assist patients in understanding their health insurance coverage, medical bills and other related costs, as well as provide guidance on how to navigate payment options such as payment plans or applying for assistance programs. This type of certification also provides assurance to customers that the person providing them with financial advice is qualified to do so.

Certified patient financial counselors can help patients better understand their healthcare costs, which can result in improved outcomes and experiences. Having an expert on hand who is knowledgeable about the various payment options available can allow patients to make informed decisions about their care, reducing the risk of costly mistakes due to a lack of understanding. Additionally, certified patient financial counselors are often able to negotiate lower payments or eliminate late fees for those who may be struggling financially. Ultimately, having a certified patient financial counselor on staff can help reduce the stress associated with managing healthcare finances and improve overall satisfaction with the healthcare experience.

Pro Tip: Obtaining patient financial counselor certification can be a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the field. It can also help open doors to new job opportunities and help you stand out from other applicants. Make sure to research the requirements of the specific certifications you are interested in so that you can prepare adequately for the exams.

Related: What does a Patient Financial Counselor do?

Top 10 Patient Financial Counselor Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Patient Financial Counselors today.

1. Certified Patient Financial Counselor (CPFC)

Certified Patient Financial Counselor (CPFC) is a professional certification program that prepares individuals to provide financial counseling services to patients in healthcare settings. The CPFC program is designed to help healthcare providers better manage patient financial responsibilities and improve the overall patient experience.

The CPFC program is offered by the National Association of Healthcare Financial Administrators (NAHFA) and takes approximately 12 weeks to complete. The program consists of six modules, which cover topics such as financial counseling techniques, medical billing and coding, reimbursement models, collection strategies, and more.

In order to become a Certified Patient Financial Counselor, an individual must pass an exam administered by NAHFA. To be eligible for the exam, applicants must have at least two years of experience in healthcare finance or a related field.

The cost of the CPFC program varies depending on the provider but typically ranges from $500-$1,000 USD.

2. Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP)

The Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in healthcare financial management. The CHFP is offered by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

The CHFP program consists of two parts: an online course and a comprehensive exam. The online course covers topics such as healthcare finance, reimbursement, managed care, and risk management. It takes approximately six months to complete the online course and prepare for the exam.

To become certified, applicants must pass the comprehensive exam with a score of at least 70%. The exam is administered twice a year in June and December. It consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics from the online course.

The cost of the CHFP program is $1,395 for HFMA members and $1,595 for non-members. This fee includes access to the online course materials and one attempt at the comprehensive exam. Additional attempts at the exam are available for an additional fee.

3. Certified Revenue Cycle Representative (CRCR)

Certified Revenue Cycle Representative (CRCR) is a certification program for healthcare professionals who work in the revenue cycle management field. The program is designed to equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure accurate and efficient billing practices, maximize reimbursement, and reduce denials.

The program consists of two components: an online course and an exam. The online course covers topics such as coding, billing, documentation requirements, patient insurance verification, and more. It typically takes about 8-10 hours to complete the course.

To get the CRCR certification, applicants must pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher. The exam can be taken either online or at a testing center. The cost of the exam is $250 USD and it must be renewed every two years in order to maintain certification status.

4. Certified Medical Billing and Coding Specialist (CMBCS)

A Certified Medical Billing and Coding Specialist (CMBCS) is a professional who specializes in the coding, processing, and collection of medical bills. They are responsible for ensuring that all medical claims are coded accurately and submitted to insurance companies in a timely manner. CMBCSs also provide support to physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers by helping them understand their billing processes and regulations.

It typically takes about one year of study to become certified as a CMBCS. The first step is to complete an accredited program in medical billing and coding from an institution such as a college or university. After completing the program, students must pass an examination administered by either the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Upon successful completion of the exam, students will receive their certification.

The cost of becoming certified as a CMBCS varies depending on the type of program chosen and any additional fees associated with taking the certification exam. Generally speaking, most programs range from $2,000-$5,000 while taking the certification exam can range from $200-$400 depending on which organization you choose to take it through.

Overall, becoming certified as a CMBCS is an excellent way to advance your career in medical billing and coding. It demonstrates your knowledge and expertise in this field and allows you to work with more confidence knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to ensure accuracy when it comes to handling medical claims.

5. Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

Certified Professional Coder (CPC) is a professional certification program from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). The program is designed to certify individuals in medical coding and billing for physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers.

It takes approximately six months to one year to study for and pass the CPC exam. To get the certification, you must first become a member of the AAPC. You will then need to complete an accredited training program or have at least two years of experience in medical coding. After that, you can register for the CPC exam.

The cost of becoming a Certified Professional Coder varies depending on which route you take, but it typically ranges from $500-$1,000. This includes the cost of membership, training materials, and the exam fee.

6. Certified Medical Office Manager (CMOM)

Certified Medical Office Manager (CMOM) is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in the management of medical offices. The program is administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

The CMOM certification requires applicants to complete a comprehensive exam that covers topics such as patient scheduling, coding, billing, and other administrative tasks. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within three hours. Applicants must also have at least two years of experience working in a medical office environment.

To obtain the CMOM certification, applicants must register for the exam through NHA and pay an application fee. The fee for the exam is $250 and includes access to study materials and practice tests. Once registered, applicants can take the exam at any approved testing center.

Once applicants pass the exam, they will receive their CMOM certification from NHA. This certification is valid for five years before it needs to be renewed. To renew their certification, applicants must retake the exam or complete continuing education credits every five years.

7. American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) Certification

American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) Certification is a certification program designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of healthcare administrative management professionals. It is designed to enhance the professional development of healthcare administrative managers and provide employers with assurance that their staff is knowledgeable in the areas of healthcare administration, finance, operations, and technology.

The AAHAM certification process consists of two parts: an online exam and a practical application. The online exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as healthcare regulations, reimbursement systems, financial management, operations management, and information technology. The practical application involves submitting a portfolio demonstrating your knowledge and experience in the field.

It typically takes approximately 6 months to complete the certification process from start to finish. To get started, you must first submit an application which includes a fee for processing. Once accepted into the program, you will be given access to study materials and can begin taking the online exam at any time. Once you have passed the exam you will need to submit your portfolio for review by AAHAM’s board of directors before being granted certification status.

The cost for AAHAM Certification varies depending on whether or not you are an AAHAM member. For members it costs $250 for processing plus $150 per exam taken; non-members pay $400 for processing plus $200 per exam taken.

8. National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) Certification

The National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM) is a professional organization that provides certification and training to healthcare access professionals. NAHAM certification is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated a high level of knowledge, skill, and experience in the field of healthcare access management.

NAHAM certification requires candidates to pass an exam that covers topics such as patient registration, customer service, medical records management, insurance verification, patient scheduling and financial counseling. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within four hours. In order to qualify for the exam, applicants must have at least two years of experience in the healthcare access field or completion of an approved course in healthcare access management.

In order to obtain NAHAM certification, applicants must first register with NAHAM and pay the applicable fees. The cost for the exam is $350 for members and $450 for non-members. Once registered, applicants will receive study materials and instructions on how to prepare for the exam. After passing the exam, applicants will receive their official NAHAM certification which is valid for three years from the date it was issued.

Overall, obtaining NAHAM certification can take several months depending on when you register and how quickly you are able to complete your studies and pass the exam. However, having this credential can provide many benefits such as increased job opportunities and higher salaries in the healthcare access field.

9. National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) Certification

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) Certification is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the field of insurance and financial services. It is designed to demonstrate an individual’s commitment to excellence, knowledge, and ethical standards.

To obtain the NAIFA certification, applicants must complete a two-part process which includes passing both a written exam and an ethics exam. The written exam covers topics such as insurance principles, regulations, products, and sales practices. The ethics exam tests an individual’s understanding of the NAIFA Code of Ethics and their ability to apply it in practice.

The entire certification process typically takes between three to six months to complete depending on an individual’s study habits and availability. To get started, applicants must first submit an application along with the required fees which range from $150-$200 depending on whether you are a member or non-member of NAIFA. Once approved for testing, applicants will receive instructions on how to register for their exams with Prometric Testing Centers located throughout the United States.

Once both exams have been passed successfully, applicants will receive their official NAIFA Certification credentials which will be valid for five years before needing to be renewed. In order to maintain certification status, individuals must also adhere to continuing education requirements set by NAIFA as well as abide by its code of ethics throughout their career.

10. American Institute of Professional Coders (AIPC) Certification

The American Institute of Professional Coders (AIPC) is a professional organization that provides certification for medical coding professionals. The AIPC Certification is a voluntary credentialing program that verifies an individual's knowledge and experience in medical coding. It is designed to demonstrate the competence of coders and their ability to accurately interpret and apply codes used in medical billing and reimbursement.

To become certified, applicants must pass the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Exam administered by the AIPC. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, ICD-10-CM/PCS coding, HCPCS Level II coding, CPT coding, Medicare regulations, and other related areas.

It typically takes about 6 weeks to prepare for the CPC Exam. Applicants should plan to spend at least 40 hours studying before taking the exam. There are several study materials available online or through the AIPC website to help prepare for the exam.

The cost of taking the CPC Exam varies depending on whether you choose to take it online or in person at an approved testing center. The online version costs $399 while the in-person version costs $499. Once you have passed the exam, you will receive your official AIPC Certification which is valid for two years from date of issue.

Do You Really Need a Patient Financial Counselor Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including the type of job you are seeking and your educational background.

If you are applying for a job as a patient financial counselor, then having a certificate in this field may be beneficial. This certificate can demonstrate that you have knowledge of the various regulations and laws related to patient financial counseling, as well as the ability to effectively communicate with patients and their families about their financial situation. It can also provide employers with a sense of your commitment to the profession and demonstrate that you have taken the time to invest in yourself and your career.

On the other hand, if you already have experience working in healthcare or finance, or if you have an advanced degree in this area, then having a certificate may not be necessary. In some cases, employers may even prefer candidates who don't have one because they believe that someone with more experience will be better suited for the position.

Ultimately, it is important to assess your own qualifications and experience before deciding whether or not obtaining a patient financial counselor certificate is right for you. If it seems like it would be beneficial for your career goals and help you stand out from other applicants, then go for it!

Related: Patient Financial Counselor Resume Examples

FAQs About Patient Financial Counselor Certifications

Q1: What is a Patient Financial Counselor certification?

A1: A Patient Financial Counselor certification is an accreditation awarded to individuals who have undergone specialized training in patient financial counseling. It is designed to equip healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality financial counseling services to patients.

Q2: What are the requirements for obtaining a Patient Financial Counselor certification?

A2: To obtain a Patient Financial Counselor certification, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements. Generally, these include completing an approved course of study, passing an exam, and having at least two years of relevant work experience.

Q3: How long does it take to complete a Patient Financial Counselor certification?

A3: The length of time required to complete a Patient Financial Counselor certification varies depending on the program chosen. However, most programs can be completed within one year or less.

Q4: What are the benefits of obtaining a Patient Financial Counselor certification?

A4: Obtaining a Patient Financial Counselor certification can help healthcare professionals gain credibility and demonstrate their expertise in patient financial counseling. Additionally, it can open up new career opportunities and help them command higher salaries in the field.

Q5: Is there an annual fee associated with maintaining my Patient Financial Counselor certification?

A5: Most organizations that offer certifications require an annual fee for recertification. This fee helps cover the costs associated with maintaining your credentials and ensuring that you continue to meet all applicable standards for patient financial counseling.