Economists and healthcare professionals know what many others don’t. That is, jobs in the medical field are projected to increase by more than 15 percent over the next decade. If you are looking for a rewarding and lucrative career, working in a physician’s office, hospital or medical center may be right for you. In this article, we name 10 top accredited online medical billing and coding schools.
Of course, you probably don’t have the time or interest to attend medical school and become a doctor. Fortunately, the medical sector has many interesting jobs that don’t require extensive schooling. One of these is the position of medical billing and coding specialist. If you want to compete for the position, though, you do need some education and training.
You likely know there are dozens of medical billing and coding schools online. Not all programs, however, are a good investment in your future. In fact, some that haven’t received accreditation may issue you a diploma that isn’t worth much.
To be certain you graduate with a valuable degree, you must only enroll in an accredited online medical billing and coding school. We know you are busy, so we have done the research for you.
What Is Medical Billing and Coding?
Modern medicine is complicated. When patients receive care, doctors and insurance companies use a system of codes to describe the diagnosis and treatment. Medical billing and coding specialists read patient charts and assign specific codes. They may also speak with doctors, nurses, hospital administrators and others to know which codes they should assign. These codes are essential for properly processing insurance claims.
How Does Someone Pursue a Medical Billing and Coding Career?
To compete for medical billing and coding jobs, individuals often choose to pursue a two-year degree in medical billing and coding. Because students are busier than ever, they often elect to take classes through an online school. Not all online schools are created equally, though. Diligent students know they must find a program that has received accreditation from a reputable association.
All of the programs on our list of the top 10 accredited online medical billing and coding schools offer associate degree programs. While there is some durational differences between each program, most take approximately two years to complete. After completing an associate program, you may want to consider pursuing certification from a medical billing and coding professional organization. While this certification is separate from associate studies, having an independent certification probably boosts your odds of landing the medical billing and coding job you want.
The Top Accredited Online Medical Billing and Coding Schools
Picking an online medical billing and coding school is a personal decision. You must consider your career goals, budget, family obligations, work responsibilities and other important factors. In developing our list of the best accredited online medical billing and coding schools, we didn’t only look at marketing materials for each program. Instead, we considered the opinions of faculty, students and former students. The result is an honest list you can trust.
In compiling our survey, we paid special attention to each school’s tuition. While we list estimates to help you get a general idea of how much the programs cost, we don’t want you to rely on our figures. As you likely know, tuition and fees change all the time. For an updated estimate on tuition, contact admission officials at each school you are considering attending.
The following are the top accredited online medical billing and coding schools in our opinion.
1. Ultimate Medical Academy | $430 per Credit Hour
Headquartered in Clearwater, Florida, the Ultimate Medical Academy is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Heath Education Schools. Experienced faculty teach comprehensive lessons entirely through online platforms. Expect to learn about diagnostic methods, billing software, medical terminology and other topics. To graduate with an associate degree, you must complete 63 course hours. Normally, the program lasts 70 weeks.
2. Keiser University | $9,112 per Semester
Ft. Lauderdale-based Keiser University offers an associate degree in medical administrative billing and coding. Students who participate in the two-year program take a combination of medical, billing and administrative courses. Teachers require students to participate in online lectures and complete relevant projects. Keiser University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. You must successfully complete 60 credit hours to graduate.
3. Renton Technical College | $136 per Credit Hour
One of the most affordable accredited online medical billing and coding schools is Renton Technical College. The school, headquartered in Renton, Washington, offers an eight-quarter associate degree in medical coding. While the Renton Technical College program gives you extensive information about physiology and anatomy, it shines with its electronic offerings. If you enroll in this school, plan to master a variety of software applications. Renton Technical College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. You must complete 110 credit hours to receive your degree.
4. Community Care College | $27,701 per Program
If you don’t mind a longer program, Community Care College offers an 84-week associate degree in occupational science in medical billing and coding. During the course of the program, you learn everything you need to know about medical billing and coding around the world. In fact, faculty frequently refer to World Trade Organization codes when delivering instruction. Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Community Care College is accredited by the Accrediting Counsel for Independent Colleges and Schools.
5. Northwest Technical College | $199 per Credit Hour
Northwest Technical College receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The school, with a main campus in Bemidji, Minnesota, awards associate degrees in medical billing and coding to students who successfully complete a two-year, 60-credit-hour curriculum. Courses are entirely online, but students usually participate in an approved internship prior to graduation.
6. Central Texas College | $225 per Credit Hour
Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Central Texas College has an online medical billing and coding program. Located in Killeen, Texas, Central Texas College issues degrees to students who complete a combination of medical billing and coding classes with general education requirements. The program generally takes two years to complete.
7. Northland Community and Technical College | $199 per Credit Hour
With its campus in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, Northland Community and Technical College offers a two-year medical billing and coding program. To graduate with an associate degree, students must master a variety of medical billing and coding concepts. They must also complete some general education courses. Classes are entirely online. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Northland Community and Technical College.
8. Southeast Technical Institute | $285 per Credit Hour
Located in Sioux Fall, South Dakota, Southeast Technical Institute awards an associate degree in professional and facility medical coding to students who complete 67 credit hours. If you choose this program, you should know that it isn’t entirely online. Instead, you must attend seven on-campus courses in addition to completing an online curriculum. The Higher Learning Commission is the agency responsible for accrediting Southeast Technical Institute.
9. Central Maine Community College | $92 per Credit Hour
The most budget-friendly online program on our list is Central Maine Community College. The school, headquartered in Auburn, Maine, offers associate degrees in medical coding and electronic health records. Students earn degrees after successfully completing 105 credit hours. For most students, that requires taking classes over a two-year period. Accreditation for Central Maine Community College comes from the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
10. Davenport University | $472 per Credit Hour
Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Davenport University awards associate degrees in health and information systems to candidates who complete a five-semester program. As part of the required 63 credit hours, students learn general, software, billing and coding skills through online lectures and assignments. For some reason, in-state online students pay less than their out-of-state counterparts. If you live outside Michigan, expect to pay $472 per credit hour. Wolverine State residents must pay $707 per credit hour. Davenport University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Why Should You Consider Enrolling in an Online Medical Billing and Coding School?
No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job. Whether you are looking for your first professional position or want a change of careers, becoming a medical billing and coding specialist may be the perfect solution.
As mentioned, the healthcare field is forecasted to grow considerably over the next few years. As healthcare professionals seek to serve a growing number of patients, they need competent medical billing and coding professionals to ensure proper billing and payment. As such, specialists often command a lucrative salary. While a variety of factors affect earnings potential, choosing a career in a growing field is usually an effective strategy for securing financial freedom.
If you want to become a medical billing and coding professional, you don’t have to take classes in a brick-and-mortar institution. While we think the Ultimate Medical Academy offers the most complete online medical billing and coding program, you probably can’t go wrong with any of the schools on our list.