As the population of America increases, there are more and more people to become sick or injured. Many of these people end up receiving treatment from a hospital or a physician. In order for these events to be properly recorded, billed, insured and paid out through an insurance company, a medical biller and coder is required. This is why the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job growth for medical billers and coders may increase by 27,800 new jobs by 2026 -- a 13-percent increase in employment.

Medical billing and coding jobs fall under the umbrella of health information technicians, who perform a wide range of key functions in health care settings. Their primary duty, though, is using classification software to assign clinical codes for physician and health care services so that providers are reimbursed from insurance providers.

While getting started in the field of medical billing and coding doesn't necessarily require students to earn a degree, many employers prefer candidates who have completed coursework in the field. OnlineColleges is here to help you find a school or program that's right for you and your career goals.

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Best Online Colleges for Medical Billing & Coding

Deciding where to go to school can be tough. There are many options, and it's hard to figure out which ones may be good for you and why. To help students make this important decision, we've used data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to create a ranking of the best online colleges for medical billing and coding. You can learn more about the methodology used to create this ranking of accredited schools.

1

Jackson College

Tuition & Fees
$8,742
Distance Education Participation
31%
Number of Programs Offered
21
School Type
4-year

Jackson College's flagship campus, founded in 1928, is located about six miles south of downtown Jackson. This public college has additional locations throughout central Michigan, as well as its online portal for distance learners.

This school hosts an online certificate program in medical insurance coding and billing that requires 38 total credits to complete. Students must complete a minimum of 15 credits online or on-campus at Jackson College and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 to satisfy program requirements. Core coursework includes study in principles of medical billing and coding, advanced coding and billing practices, and medical law and ethics.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

2111 Emmons Rd.
Jackson, Mich. 49201
2

Great Falls College Montana State University

Tuition & Fees
$3,386
Distance Education Participation
60%
Number of Programs Offered
6
School Type
2-year

Great Falls College is known for giving back to its community, with events such as the "No Smile Left Behind Community Dental Day" and the "GFC MSU Night Out for Science." Medical billing students can continue to help their communities after graduation by taking GFC's online health information coding specialist certificate program. The 47-credit program can be completed in three semesters of fulltime study, although students who need to complete certain prerequisites in math or English may have longer completion times. Part of the program is dedicated to helping students prepare to sit for the National Certified Coding Associate exam administered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • American Health Information Management Association

Location:

2100 16th
Ave. S., Great Falls, Mont. 59405
3

Northwest Technical College

Tuition & Fees
$5,488
Distance Education Participation
73%
Number of Programs Offered
43
School Type
2-year

Northwest Technical College has several opportunities for distance learners and students in northern Minnesota to earn certificate, diploma and associate degrees, including an A.A.S. in medical coding. NTC's fully online 60-credit medical coding program is designed to cover various nationally recognized coding systems, as well as instruction in anatomy, pharmacology, healthcare systems and physiology. Students who transfer into NTC from another Minnesota institution have their transfer credits automatically evaluated, while students transferring from other locations can have their prior credits evaluated by a program administrator.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

905 Grant Ave. SE.
Bemidji, Minn. 56601
4

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Tuition & Fees
$6,657
Distance Education Participation
60%
Number of Programs Offered
47
School Type
4-year

The University of Alaska has seven campus locations and six community learning centers across the state, giving Alaskan students many locations to learn from. The Fairbanks campus serves an even broader student population with its eCampus, which offers multiple occupational endorsement programs in medical billing and medical coding. These 12-credit programs cover the basics of the field through courses on medical terminology, computer business applications, inpatient/ outpatient reimbursement coding, and billing standards.

Alternately, UAF also offers a 30-credit certificate program in health care reimbursement. This program focuses on helping students to prepare for medical billing exams, such as the American Academy of Professional Coders exam or the American Health Information Management Association coding exam.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Location:

505 S. Chandalar Dr.
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775
5

Eastern Gateway Community College

Tuition & Fees
$4,240
Distance Education Participation
98%
Number of Programs Offered
30
School Type
2-year

Online students at Eastern Gateway Community College have the option of pursuing a 39-credit hour medical coding specialist certificate program, or a 31-credit hour medical scribe certificate program. Both programs are available 100 percent online.

The medical coding specialist program includes instruction on clinical classification systems, as well as computers and statistics for health information management. The curriculum is structured to assist students with the certification exams for becoming a Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and/or a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS). Meanwhile, the medical scribe program delves deep into medical classification systems, terminology, health records and legal/ ethical concepts in healthcare. It focuses on the standards of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

4000 Sunset Blvd.
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
6

Central Georgia Technical College

Tuition & Fees
$2,778
Distance Education Participation
49%
Number of Programs Offered
50
School Type
2-year

Central Georgia Technical College is a two-year commuter college serving a diverse 11-county region of central Georgia. This member of the Technical College System of Georgia offers undergraduate certificate programs for medical billing clerks and for medical language specialists. The clerk program runs for 25 weeks, while the language specialist program runs for 36 weeks. Although classes are delivered asynchronously through Blackboard Learn, most classes have regular due dates for assignments, and some may require proctored exams.

If you need help during your medical billing program at CGTC, don't feel ashamed. The college's CARE Center exists to support online learners, offering academic advising, tutoring, technical help and career resources to CGTC students who need it.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

80 Cohen Walker Dr.
Warner Robins, Ga. 31088
7

Spoon River College

Tuition & Fees
$10,290
Distance Education Participation
56%
Number of Programs Offered
N/A
School Type
2-year

The open-admissions Spoon River College is part of the Illinois Community College System, and it offers several online options for certificates in the field of medical coding and billing.

Online Spoon River students can earn entry-level medical billing and coding certificates through 12-month programs offered in partnership with ed2go. Alternately, they may choose to complete the longer CCA certified medical administrative assistant program, which is specifically designed for students who have little to no experience within the healthcare industry. This program focuses heavily on information that is relevant to various national certification exams for medical billing and coding, including the CCA, the CMAA and the CBCS.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

23235 County Hwy. 22
Canton, Ill. 61520
8

West Georgia Technical College

Tuition & Fees
$2,838
Distance Education Participation
40%
Number of Programs Offered
29
School Type
2-year

West Georgia Technical College offers a 100-percent online technical certificate program in medical coding that requires 24 credits to complete. In addition to the fundamentals of medical billing and coding, coursework focuses on medical terminology, the human body, fundamentals of English, and document production.

WGTC supports distance learners via its online help center, as well as through student success services such as free tutoring in math, writing and computer use. Students can participate in tutoring for other subjects at no additional cost through Upswing, an online tutoring portal.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

1 College Circle
1302 Orchard Hill Rd., LaGrange, Ga. 30240
9

Kaplan University-Lincoln Campus

Tuition & Fees
$14,343
Distance Education Participation
88%
Number of Programs Offered
89
School Type
4-year

*NOTE: Kaplan University has merged with Purdue University Global since this list was made. Please contact Purdue Global University to learn whether the merged school can still fulfill your needs.

Founded in 1884 as the Lincoln School of Commerce, Kaplan University offers an online certificate program in medical billing and coding that requires 44 credits to complete. Students also must complete a 40-hour practicum experience at an approved facility. After completing this capstone course, the program's students may take the Billing and Coding Specialist Certification from the American Medical Certification Association, and they may also be able to sit for other key coding and billing certifications.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission

Location:

1821 K St.
Lincoln, Neb. 68508
10

Valley College-Beckley

Tuition & Fees
N/A
Distance Education Participation
0%
Number of Programs Offered
3
School Type
Less than 2-year

Valley College has campus locations at Beckley, Martinsburg and Princeton, but it educates students far beyond those locations through its Valley Online campus. The college's online diploma program in medical front office, billing and coding was designed with adult learners in mind, and it is meant to be completed in nine months of fulltime study.

This private, for-profit college hosts guided orientations to help new learners transition to a digital learning environment. It also offers a wide array of online student support services, such as tutoring, success coaching, a help desk, and job placement assistance for graduates.

Accreditation:

  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Location:

120 New River Town Center Ste. C
Beckley, W.V. 25801

Degree Overview: Medical Billing and Coding

When pursuing a certificate or degree program in medical billing and coding, students often want to know what they're getting into. What might the courses be like? What can they learn? What kind of skills should they focus on? This section takes a look at what students can expect, both from the courses offered and from the skills they might develop during their time in school.

Online Medical Billing & Coding Courses

Medical billing and coding programs can last about a year -- usually as a certificate program -- or they can last for two years, culminating in an associate degree. Either way, the coursework that pertains to medical billing and coding is much the same, with an emphasis on learning medical terminology and medical codes, how to use medical billing software, and the legal and ethical considerations involved with medical billing and coding. Many programs are available entirely online.

Here are some examples of courses students might find in their medical billing programs:

Career-Related Skills to Develop

Many individuals who choose to go into medical billing and coding already have certain skills that can make them well-suited for careers in the field. However, the coursework students encounter during their certificate, diploma or degree programs can hone those skills quite a bit. Here are some of the skills that can be relevant to a career in medical billing and coding:

Medical Billing and Coding Career Outlook

Medical billing and coding students can look forward to a wide variety of jobs that put their newfound education to good use. Each of these careers requires a strong element of medical billing and coding knowledge, and some call for related skills, such as attention to detail and organizational skills. Here are some of the opportunities that may be available for medical billing and coding graduates.

Health Information Technician
Average Salary
$44,010
Projected Job Openings
16,800
Projected Job Growth
10.7
Entry-level Education
Postsecondary nondegree award

Also known as medical records specialists, these professionals manage data related to medical records, checking for accuracy, completeness, accessibility and security. They must be familiar with the various components of a complete medical record, including billing codes and practices, insurance reimbursement issues, tracking patient outcomes and more. Duties may vary depending upon the employer, the size of the organization, and the type of software being used for medical records. Health information technicians can also choose to specialize, for example as a medical coder (also known as a coding specialist) or a cancer registrar.

Most health information technicians need a postsecondary certificate or an associate degree, depending upon the employer's preference. Many employers prefer to hire those who hold certification.

Medical Coder
Average Salary
$44,010
Projected Job Openings
16,800
Projected Job Growth
10.7
Entry-level Education
Postsecondary nondegree award

An accurate medical record and prompt insurance billing are key qualities of effective patient care. Those things are the responsibility of the medical coder, aka the coding specialist. They review patient information, check that preexisting conditions are coded properly in the system, assign appropriate procedure and diagnosis codes for insurance purposes, and sometimes work as the liaison between billing offices and health care providers.

The work requires intense attention to detail and a high level of accuracy. Most employers prefer to hire those who have taken courses in medical coding and billing, including those who have earned at least a certificate or associate degree. Certification can often be earned after a medical coder has earned a certain amount of work experience in addition to higher education.

Medical Secretary
Average Salary
$37,090
Projected Job Openings
82,400
Projected Job Growth
16
Entry-level Education
High school diploma or equivalent

Medical secretaries handle many responsibilities, including taking dictation for physicians, processing insurance payments, arranging care for patients, and recording simple medical histories. They must be well-versed in medical terminology, understand billing codes and medical records, and know the basics of laboratory procedures. A medical secretary also handles typical secretarial duties, such as taking calls, filing paperwork, preparing invoices, scheduling appointments, maintaining databases and the like.

Though a high school diploma may be enough to find work in this field, medical secretaries must often spend many weeks learning about medical technologies and terminologies. Employers often look favorably upon candidates who have taken courses in related areas, such as billing and coding, or those who have earned an associate or bachelor's degree.

Medical Transcriptionist
Average Salary
$36,350
Projected Job Openings
7,700
Projected Job Growth
-3.5
Entry-level Education
Postsecondary nondegree award

Also known as health care documentation specialists, medical transcriptionists use a variety of speech recognition programs to convert voice recordings into written reports. They must be well-versed in medical terminology and abbreviations commonly used by physicians and other health care workers; this allows them to create accurate medical history reports, as well as edit those that might not have been written properly the first time.

Medical transcriptionists might work in hospitals, clinics, private offices or third-party transcription services. Alternately, they may be self-employed. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a medical transcription program; these programs typically take one year to complete, though two-year associate degree programs are also available.

 
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