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The Best Online Medical
Billing & Coding Schools

Browse the best online medical billing and coding schools, learn program and course details, and see how you can move from interested student to well-paid professional.
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MEET THE EXPERT

Pat-Byrnes
Pat Brynes

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Pat Byrnes began her career as a nurse in the hospital and medical practice sector before going on to create her own company based on the principle of incorporating the clinical knowledge she possessed with the business acumen she achieved in her work experience. Over the years, Pat has expanded her company to fill the need for competent, skilled, proficient, and capable medical billers, consultants, accountants, and credentialing specialists. With degrees in business management and nursing, she holds an active nursing license as well as her certified medical biller and coder credential.

Many online medical billing and coding schools offer programs with flexibility in mind. Some or all of their courses are available through distance learning, and their curriculum has the education and training you need to get hired after graduation. But which schools have the best combinations of quality, affordability, and student preparation? Which have career placement opportunities and accreditation that employers take seriously? To answer these questions, EduMed.org has launched its new Best in 2020 rankings. Using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and from hundreds of schools across the country, we’ve research, analyzed, and ranked the programs that stand above the rest. See which online medical billing and coding schools landed on top in 2020.

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About the ranking

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Methodology for EduMed’s 2020 Rankings

To be considered for this ranking, each school must have the following:

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program(s) offered at least partially online.

School Metrics Explained

EduMed.org data scientists analyzed government higher education data and created a proprietary algorithm to rank each U.S. postsecondary institution and its online programs using 5 primary factors:

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Online Program Availability: Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to Department of Education.
  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid: Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Most recent data pull: February 2020

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Cowley County Community CollegeArkansas City, KS Public $ 2

Cowley County Community College’s (CCCC) offers two Medical Coding programs to launch a career in processing patient information for billing, insurance, and statistical purposes. Students can choose between enrolling in the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree pathway or the Vocational Certificate B pathway. The AAS program requires roughly double the number of credit hours as the Vocational Certificate B program; it includes 27 credit hours of general education classes. However, both programs have the same substantive coursework, which includes classes such as pharmacology, healthcare coding practicum, and introduction to health information. Regardless of the path taken, students will be fully prepared to sit for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), Certified Coding Associate (CCA), and Certified Professional Coder (CPC) professional credentials.

Program Overview:

AAC in Medical Billing and Coding

  • Credits: 65
  • Length: Approximately two years
  • Cost: $300/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)

Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding

  • Credits: 35
  • Length: Approximately one year
  • Cost: $300/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
66%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
2 Hutchinson Community CollegeHutchinson, KS Public $ 1

Through its Health Information Management Program, Hutchinson Community College (HCC) offers a certificate program for those interested in a career in medical billing and coding. Completion of this program will require roughly 17 classes and 45 credits. Students will learn basic information concerning the allied health industry, as well as gain more specific knowledge in topics such as ICD-10 coding, health record applications, and medical terminology. After finishing the program requirements, graduates will be eligible to take the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) national exam and become a Certified Coding Associate. Because much of this certificate program’s coursework overlaps with HCC’s Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Management Program, some choose to take additional classes and graduate with an associate degree to go along with their Healthcare Coding Specialty Certificate.

Program Overview:

Certificate in Healthcare Coding Specialist

  • Credits: 45
  • Length: Approximately two years
  • Cost: $145/credit
  • Mode: Fully and partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school) and CAHIIM (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
3 Northcentral Technical CollegeWausau, WI Public $ 3

At Northcentral Technical College (NTC), students can begin their career with the Medical Coding Specialist Technical Diploma program, which will teach them how to collect patient information, manage reimbursement systems through the use of special codes, and process health data in an efficient, economical, and ethical manner. Types of classes include medical terminology, general anatomy and physiology, and digital literacy for healthcare. Completion of NTC’s curriculum will make students eligible to obtain a variety of certifications by passing either the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Academy of Professional Coders (APPL) national certification exams.

Program Overview:

Medical Coding Specialist Technical Diploma

  • Credits: 28-29
  • Length: Three terms
  • Cost: $6,240
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
11%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
4 Collin County Community College DistrictMcKinney, TX Public $ 1

Collin College is home to a number of allied health care programs of study, including its medical billing and coding certificate program. The types of classes students can expect include medical terminology, health information systems and advanced medical coding. This curriculum was specifically created to meet the recommendations of AHIMA, or the American Health Information Management Association. The coursework is ideal for allowing students to begin working in the medical and coding field as soon as possible, with 27 credits focused exclusively on core knowledge. For those interested in advancing their education, many of the classes necessary to obtain the medical billing and coding certificate are also required for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Management.

Program Overview:

Medical Coding Specialist Technical Diploma

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Two semesters
  • Cost: $54/credit (in-county); $100/credit (in-state); $167/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
5 San Juan CollegeFarmington, NM Public $ 1

Students who graduate from San Juan College’s Medical Coder/Biller program will possess the necessary knowledge to become a Certified Coding Associate (CCA). That’s because the curriculum is specifically designed to prepare students to sit for the American Health Information management Associate (AHIMA) national certification exam. The coursework consists of foundational courses, such as medical terminology and the human body: structures and functions. Once these prerequisites are out of the way, students get to move onto more pertinent classes, like coding classification systems, introduction to health information technology, and a coding seminar. All classes must be completed online over the course of four semesters, including one summer semester.

Program Overview:

Medical Coding/Biller Certificate

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $49/credit (resident) $155/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
36%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
6 Central Texas CollegeKilleen, TX Public $ 2

Central Texas College offers those interested in a career in medical billing and coding two study options. First is the Certificate of Completion track which consists of four or five classes each semester and courses in subjects such as human disease/pathophysiology, medical insurance, and intermediate medical coding. Second is the Associate of Applied Science track. It requires the same core requirements as the Certification of Completion track, but with addition of general education courses, like composition, fine arts, and social science. Regardless of academic pathway, students will be able to take online classes on a self-paced schedule, with classes beginning every month and lasting between five and 16 weeks.

Program Overview:

Medical Billing and Coding Associate of Applied Science

  • Credits: 60
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $90/credit (in-district); $113 (in-state); $235/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)

Medical Billing and Coding Certificate of Completion

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: Three semesters
  • Cost: $90/credit (in-district); $113 (in-state); $235/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
16%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
7 Barton County Community CollegeGreat Bend, KS Public $ 1

Barton Community College offers its Medical Coding Certificate Program for anyone interested in working on the front lines of patient data processing and management. The curriculum will prepare students to become experts in ICD-9, CPT, and HCPCS coding systems. After graduation, students will be eligible to earn either their CCA (Certified Coding Associate offered by AHIMA, American Health Information Management Association) or CPC (Certified Professional Coder offered by the AAPC, American Academy of Professional Coders) certifications. These certifications will help graduates find employment in a variety of allied health care settings, including hospitals, behavioral health facilities, clinics, and doctor’s offices.

Program Overview:

Medical Coding Certificate

  • Credits: 44
  • Length: Three semesters
  • Cost: $150/credit
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
8 Shoreline Community CollegeShoreline, WA Public $ 1

Shoreline Community College’s fully online Medical Coding Reimbursement Specialist Certificate program will train students for a career working at insurance companies and medical facilities, where they will process, interpret, and handle patient records and information. Students will spend much of their time learning billing, procedural, and diagnostic codes and how they work. Class topics include outpatient coding, basic ICD-10 coding, pharmacology, and introduction to reimbursement and coding. The online format is based on a quarter term system and is self-paced. For maximum flexibility, students can begin their medical coding program in the fall, winter, spring, or summer terms. There is also access to online tutoring services if needed.

Program Overview:

Medical Coding and Reimbursement Specialist Certificate of Proficiency

  • Credits: 60 (quarter credits)
  • Length: Less than two years
  • Cost: $152/credit (resident); $167/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Fully online
  • Accreditation: NWCCU (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
26%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
9 Highland Community CollegeHighland, KS Public $ 1

Highland Community College (HCC) offers the option to earn an associate degree while also preparing for a career in medical billing and coding. Through the Associate of Applied Science – Medical Coding degree program, students can enroll full-time and complete their education in two years. Upon graduation, students will be eligible and fully prepared to become a Certified Coding Associate (CCA) or Certified Coding Specialist (CCS). Either of these designations will be obtained by taking the national exam offered by AHIMA, or American Health Information Management Association. Most of the coursework can be completed online, although there is a practicum that requires students to gain hands-on experience at an approved medical facility.

Program Overview:

Associate in Applied Science – Medical Coding

  • Credits: 65
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $141/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
10 Columbus State Community CollegeColumbus, OH Public $ 1

At Columbus State Community College (CSCC), individuals looking for an allied health care profession they can enter into relatively quickly should consider CSCC’s Medical Coding Certificate program. Students will begin their coursework during the summer semester and take classes such as pharmacology, CPT-4 coding, human anatomy, intermediate coding, and clinical documentation and disease. The curriculum will include practical field experience to help students transition from classroom knowledge to real world practice. CSCC delivers the online coursework to students through the Blackboard online learning portal. Students will also learn professional responsibility ethics in line with those recommended by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Program Overview:

Medical Coding Certificate

  • Credits: 22
  • Length: One year
  • Cost: $158/credit (in-state); $323/credit (out-of-state)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
27%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
11 Alexandria Technical & Community CollegeAlexandria, MN Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
31%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
12 Everett Community CollegeEverett, WA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
17%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
13 Sinclair Community CollegeDayton, OH Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
40%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
14 West Georgia Technical CollegeWaco, GA Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
15 Minnesota State Community and Technical CollegeFergus Falls, MN Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
5%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
16 Great Falls College Montana State UniversityGreat Falls, MT Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
14%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
17 North Dakota State College of ScienceWahpeton, ND Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
23%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
18 Indian Hills Community CollegeOttumwa, IA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
33%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
19 Central Maine Community CollegeAuburn, ME Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
30%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
20 Moraine Park Technical CollegeFond du Lac, WI Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
12%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
21 Southwest Mississippi Community CollegeSummit, MS Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
49%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
22 Georgia Piedmont Technical CollegeClarkston, GA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
23 Lamar Institute of TechnologyBeaumont, TX Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
11%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
24 Louisiana State University-EuniceEunice, LA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
25%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
25 Omaha School of Massage and Healthcare of Herzing UniversityOmaha, NE Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
46%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
26 Minnesota State College SoutheastWinona, MN Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
27 North Georgia Technical CollegeClarkesville, GA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
28 Minnesota West Community and Technical CollegeGranite Falls, MN Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
29 Carrington CollegeSacramento, CA Private, For-Profit N/A 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
43%
AccreditationWestern Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
30 Marion Technical CollegeMarion, OH Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
29%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
31 Ogeechee Technical CollegeStatesboro, GA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
32 NHTI-Concord’s Community CollegeConcord, NH Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
1%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
33 Oconee Fall Line Technical CollegeSandersville, GA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
34 Ridgewater CollegeWillmar, MN Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
35 Passaic County Community CollegePaterson, NJ Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
6%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
36 Gogebic Community CollegeIronwood, MI Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
26%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
37 Laramie County Community CollegeCheyenne, WY Public $ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
45%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
38 West Virginia Junior College-MorgantownMorgantown, WV Private, For-Profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
31%
AccreditationAccrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
39 Ultimate Medical Academy-TampaTampa, FL Private, Not-for-Profit N/A 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
16%
AccreditationAccrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
40 Community Care CollegeTulsa, OK Private, Not-for-Profit N/A 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationAccrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
41 Colby Community CollegeColby, KS Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
61%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
42 Institute of Medical CareersPittsburgh, PA Private, For-Profit N/A 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationAccrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools
43 Rochester Community and Technical CollegeRochester, MN Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
5%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
44 Dakota College at BottineauBottineau, ND Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
42%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
45 Northland Community and Technical CollegeThief River Falls, MN Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
46 Ross College-SylvaniaSylvania, OH Private, For-Profit N/A 2 Academic
Counseling
No
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
28%
AccreditationAccrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

Profiling an Online Medical Billing & Coding School

School profiles can be a valuable tool to help you narrow down the long list of programs that might fit your needs. We’ve decided to spotlight a single program and dig into how it works, how much it costs, and what you can expect if you apply and enroll. Get the inside scoop on this online medical billing and coding school online.

Southeast Technical Institute

Southeast_Technical_Institute-logo

Those who want to explore the possibilities of an associate degree can opt for the Medical Coding: Professional and Facility Applied Associate Degree. In this hybrid program, students take most courses online but are required to visit the campus once per week. The Bring-Your-Own-Laptop curriculum prepares students to review medical documentation, apply coding guidelines, assign proper codes based on different coding systems and understand reimbursement and reporting, among other duties.

Students will complete a total of 67 credits for graduation, which include general education courses. Those courses lay a strong educational foundation that allows you to move into a bachelor’s degree program at some point, if that’s what you choose to do to further your career. Sample courses found within the major include:

  • Introduction to Health Information Systems
  • Basic ICD Coding
  • Basic CPT Coding
  • Medical Terminology
  • CPC Review
  • Compliance/Regulations
  • Professional Ethics in Healthcare
  • Virtual Practicum

Students can expect to pay tuition, fees, and the cost of books and supplies; during the most recent school year, this came to a total of $18,517. Students can apply for financial aid to cover some of the cost; they can also opt to go with a diploma or certificate program, which can save time and money, but doesn’t provide the educational stepping-stone they would receive through the associate program.

Upon completion, students are prepared to sit for the following exams:

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
  • Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)

Those seeking the CCS should keep in mind that two years of work experience is recommended, in addition to completing a higher education program, in order to sit for the exam.

Q&A with Laurus College

As you research online medical billing and coding programs, it can be incredibly helpful (and important) to hear directly from the schools who have them. After all, who better to explain the ins and outs of their programs than the schools themselves? We reached out to Laurus College to see what makes its medical billing and coding program stand out from the rest.

University name location School type online programs Get more info Program Description
Laurus College location: San Luis Obispo, CA School type: Private-for-Profit online programs: 1 Get more info
Laurus College Logo

Q&A with Dr. Wayne Neale, President & CEO

Medical Billing and Coding Occupational Associate Degree

Can you describe how online learning works at your college?

Laurus College offers a fully integrated virtual learning environment for both distance education and hybrid students, giving students the opportunity for live, real-time interaction, as well as the ability to review archived sessions. Whether a student chooses to attend their class from a campus or via distance education, all students receive the same live instruction and interactive learning experience. The class lecture delivery uses synchronous instruction, allowing the teacher to see and interact in real-time with students across all four campuses and online at the same time via computer webcams. Students are able to not only see and communicate with their instructors, but can also see and interact with each other.

What makes your online medical billing and coding program stand out from other programs?

Our hybrid learning model gives you greater freedom and flexibility to learn on your own schedule. Students develop the ability to process health insurance claims by learning the many aspects of medical insurance, including plan options, carrier requirements, various regulations, extraction of relevant information from source documents, accurate claim form completion, and diagnosis and procedure coding. Laurus College curricula are kept current with industry trends and health insurance regulations. The Laurus College Advantage includes:
  • Practical, career-focused training that prepares you for an in-demand career.
  • Supportive learning environment where instructors care about your success.
  • Flexible scheduling options that include both day and evening classes.
  • Laptop included – Students attending classes in an occupational associate or bachelor’s degree program are given the opportunity to receive a laptop computer loaded with all of the software needed to complete their program.
  • Job search assistance through our Career Services Department, including resume & portfolio creation, interview preparation, and live workshops.

How does your online program prepare students for successful careers in the field?

Students prepare for today’s medical environment by advancing in the areas of ICD, CPT, medical terminology and understanding of insurance forms and claims. They will also have knowledge of how a medical office runs, including HIPPA guidelines, scheduling, billing cycles, and insurance payments (EOB/RA). We strive to make our classroom a fun and stress-free environment. All of the instructors in the department have years of experience and are happy to share this knowledge with the students.

What support services do you offer students enrolled in your online medical billing and coding program?

Laurus College offers an array of student services all available to the student as part of their tuition. The student services include:
  • Job Placement Assistance
  • Library and Learning Resources
  • Academic Counseling and Tutorial Services.
  • Student Study Groups
  • Textbook(s) for each course
  • Tutoring help through Peer Mentors
  • Success Ambassadors will help on-campus students with non-academic tasks

Any other information you’d like prospective students to know about your program?

Laurus College provides a quality education and quality experience for people who wish to attain their bachelor’s and occupational associate degrees. Our commitment to student success goes above and beyond the typical e-learning experience by using our unique “Laurus Learning” program model. Our program has been refined to accommodate a vast array of learning styles and techniques that will be right for you. At Laurus College, you can complete your degree online through a virtual classroom, or are welcome to attend your classes at any of our campus locations.

Why Take Medical Billing & Coding Classes Online?

Many people have plenty of obligations, such as a full-time job, a family or community responsibilities that make it tough to take time off to sit in a classroom for several hours each day. Online learning is great for those who need more flexibility while working toward their certificate, diploma, or degree.

Medical billing and coding programs lend themselves well to the online learning world, as most of the courses can be completed entirely through the internet, with no need to set foot in a classroom. Let’s break down the pros:

Convenience

Online learning is inherently flexible in that students can fit in their classwork between their day-to-day obligations. Medical billing and coding programs are especially flexible because they do not require a hands-on component. Since there is little to no patient contact in the course of the medical billing or coding job, students are not subject to the same requirements that some allied health professionals must meet (such as medical assistants and home health aides). This means students can complete their online coursework and be ready to move right into the workforce.

Cost

Since online programs don’t require the overhead of a classroom, they are naturally more affordable. In the case of medical billing and coding programs, the short length is also a factor in affordability – the less time a person spends in a program, the less they will pay to complete it. Affordability does vary depending upon the program itself, as well as the credential earned at the end of it – for instance, a one-year program resulting in a certificate will be much more affordable than a two-year program resulting in an associate degree – but in general, the medical billing and coding programs tend to be some of the more affordable short-term educational opportunities.

Time to graduation

Online students have the advantage of choosing accelerated programs to make the process of getting a credential even faster. For instance, medical billing and coding students might opt for an accelerated program that delivers information over a nine-month period rather than one year. That three months of time saved can allow students a bit of free time to study for the certification exam (if they choose to take it), or simply allows them to get into the workforce and earn a paycheck sooner. Though all online programs require discipline to stay focused and on top of the class schedule, accelerated programs require even more dedication, but can be well worth the money and time saved.

Types of Online Medical Billing & Coding Programs

Aspiring students have several options for their educational pursuit – you can move into a billing and coding position with a certificate, diploma or associate degree. But what are the differences? Is there something that makes one path better than the other? To put it simply, the path you choose depends upon where you want your career path to lead. Here’s what you need to know about each option:

Certificate

By definition, a certificate refers to an academic course of study in a specific subject – so it’s targeted, teaching you only what you need to know for medical billing and coding. And though many post-secondary institutions might use “certificate” or “diploma” interchangeably, in most cases the certificate will turn out to be the shorter of the two, lasting just a few months. The good news is that it gets you into the workforce faster; the bad news is that it may not lead to college credit, which can be disappointing if you choose to further your career later.

Bottom line: Certificate programs are best for individuals looking to start working as a medical biller and coder as fast as possible.

Diploma

Associate degree

Medical Billing vs. Medical Coding: What’s the Difference?

Some programs go by the name of “medical billing” while others all themselves “medical coding.” There might be other names, such as “medical coding and insurance billing.” What’s the difference between billing and coding? Let’s take a look:

Medical billing: According to the AAPC, medical billing is “the process of submitting and following up on claims with insurance companies in order to receive payment for services rendered by a healthcare provider.” When a patient receives any sort of service, there is a code attached to that service – the code is then submitted as a claim to the insurance company, who is supposed to pay the claim within a certain period of time. The medical biller helps ensure that this happens, and that as a result, the revenue stream of the facility, office or the like continues to move smoothly. Medical billers stay right on top of the claims, communicate with insurance companies (and sometimes with patients as well), and make changes, update claims, or do whatever else must be done to get the necessary approvals that result in payment.

Medical coding: The AAPC defines medical coding as “the transformation of healthcare diagnosis, procedures, medical services, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes.” The information necessary to create the codes comes from patient records. Medical coders review the patient records for every diagnosis, procedures performed, medical services rendered and the equipment used, among other points, then translates each into a particular code. The codes vary depending upon the classification system used. Those codes are then used by the medical biller to create claims that go to insurance companies.

It’s important to note that medical billers and medical coders serve two distinct functions, but sometimes one person can do both. This is especially true in smaller medical practices, where the patient roster is smaller, the procedures performed are more limited and the billing or coding work is done right there in the office, rather than sent out to a third party.

What You’ll Learn: Medical Billing and Coding Online Courses

Medical billing and coding both require a very specific set of skills and knowledge; it’s something that must be taught through in-depth courses. Though these courses might go by different names, they all focus on the same important aspects of medical billing and coding. Here are some of the courses you can expect to encounter, as well as what skills and knowledge you will have when you complete them.

Medical Insurance 101: Before you can code procedures or file claims, you’ll need to understand how insurance works. This course focuses on the ins and outs of the medical insurance industry. Similar courses concentrate on different types of insurance or coverage, such as Medicaid, CHIP, managed care, military insurance, workers compensation and more.

Anatomy: Landmarks and Divisions: In order to properly code and bill, you must understand the diagnosis, procedures and the like – and that means having a firm understanding of how the human body works. This course will focus on providing that in-depth overview.

Medical Terminology: Healthcare has a unique language all its own, and understanding the terms will help you learn to code and bill for the services rendered. This course and those similar to it will target abbreviations, symbols, special terms, and short-hand terms that combine all of the above.

ICD-10-CM Coding: This will usually be divided up into several modules or courses on different aspects of the complicated ICD-10-CM coding. You’ll learn how to find and use the proper codes for symptoms, complications, diagnosis, abnormal findings and much, much more.

Medical Records: This course will provide an in-depth understanding of how medical records are created, how to understand them, what to look for when finding codes for billing, and how to read both handwritten notes and electronic health records. Similar courses might go more in-depth on electronic health records, including the different types of software you might encounter.

How Much Does Online MB&C School Cost?

The cost for attending a medical billing and coding program varies widely, with much of the differences attributed to the length of the program. Certificates and diplomas, especially those that take only a few months to earn, will likely have the lowest cost. Earning an associate degree tends to be the most expensive option, but it’s also the one that allows for the most career mobility. All that said, the type of school you wish to attend may also impact your cost. Community colleges usually have the most affordable price tags, while for-profit colleges and private institutes may be the biggest burden on the pocketbook. Let’s see the different ways these costs break down.

Finding Low Cost Online Medical Billing & Coding Programs

Remember that low cost or “affordable” can mean something different for everyone. It all depends on the type of payment that makes the most sense for you, as well as the type of program you want to pursue. It also depends on whether you qualify for financial aid or scholarships. Here are a few tips to help you find the most affordable program for you:

Total cost

Tuition for the most affordable MB&C programs and courses can range between $500 and $1,000. This usually depends on the type of school, the type of program, and the end goal of the program or course. For example, Penn Foster Career School has a robust 10-month program for $799, which covers billing AND coding. Of course, those who choose an associate degree program can expect to pay the tuition rate set by the school to earn the two-year degree. When looking for the cheapest online medical billing and/or coding program, always make sure it has the accreditation you need to work toward certification as well as the recognition to make you a solid candidate in your chosen field.

Interest-free payments

Remember that tuition numbers aren’t necessarily what you will actually pay. Some programs may have a higher price tag, but more generous payment options. For example, Ashworth has zero-interest payment plans that may make sense for students on a month-to-month budget. Others might offer generous financial aid to those who qualify. As always, if you find an online MB&C program that fits your cost needs, vet it thoroughly for quality and accreditation.

How to Fund Your Online Medical Billing and Coding Program

Finding the money for the medical billing and coding program might seem like a daunting task, but there are many options out there. Part of the magic of attending an accredited program is that you might be eligible for federal financial aid, including grants and subsidized loans. In some cases, grants will cover the majority of the cost. Scholarships are also an option; though general scholarships are the norm, some scholarships are reserved only for those who enter an allied health profession. There are even scholarships available through the school itself, often based on need or merit. To learn more about payment options, visit our page about online medical billing and coding schools with financial aid.

How Long Does an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program Take?

The short answer: It depends. The type of credential you seek will dictate the time it takes to complete a program. For instance, a certificate or diploma can take anywhere from a few weeks to a full year to complete, while an associate degree program lasts two years (possibly only 18 month with accelerated courses). Some accelerated medical and billing programs have a very strong, narrow focus and can take less than six months to complete. To get a more detailed look at how long programs last, as well as the courses taken during the program and what else to expect, check out the program profiles above.

The 4 Week Online Course for Medical Billing & Coding

Those who want to get into the workforce as fast as possible might look for an accelerated option; these programs condense the necessary information into a very short time-frame, usually a few months. An example is MedicalBillingCourse.com, where you could complete a medical billing certification course in as little as 3-5 weeks. The cost of that particular course is $699.95, with installment plans available. These very short programs teach the basics of what students need to know to move into the workforce as a medical biller, but they do not provide the knowledge necessary to become a medical coder.

If you do choose to go with a low-cost and fast-paced option, remember that it’s important to look at all aspects of the program. Vet it carefully by looking at quality reviews from graduates, job placement numbers, how well the program prepares you to sit for certification examinations (assuming you intend to become certified!) and how the skills and knowledge you earn during the program can help you advance in your future career. And of course, accreditation is the most important factor of all – it pays to attend an accredited school or program.

Does Accreditation Matter?

Accreditation is an incredibly important part of any higher education program. Accreditation essentially means a college or program has been closely examined by an independent body and found to meet the rigorous standards of a high-quality education. In other words, accreditation ensures that the credential you earn means something, and that your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

It also matters for a variety of other reasons. The biggest might be the question of financial aid – federal financial aid is usually only awarded to those who are enrolled in an accredited program. It’s not accredited? Then you usually pay out of pocket, which can be quite expensive. Another reason is keeping a good reputation. Many employers will only hire those who have graduated from an accredited school or program; anything less, and they will see the program as a “diploma mill” and assume you do not have the proper knowledge or skills to do the job.

A school or program might have regional accreditation through one of several accrediting bodies across the nation; a list of those six agencies is available here. Medical billing and coding programs might also be accredited by the Commission on Health Informatics and Information Management.

Career Growth for Medical Billers and Coders

The future is bright for medical billers and coders. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a projected growth rate of 13% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Much of that growth can be attributed to a boom in healthcare, driven by an aging population, advanced technology that allows for more outpatient procedures, and the more common use of electronic health records. Those who are well-versed in different types of electronic health records can expect to have better job opportunities. Though most medical billers and coders will work in public or private hospitals, opportunities are also available in offices of physicians, outpatient clinics, administrative services or nursing homes. Depending upon the employer’s policies, some medical billing and coding technicians can work from home.

Those who start a career in medical billing and coding aren’t limited to staying in that position. There are many other career options that utilize health information technology, such as medical secretaries or medical transcriptionists. These positions allow medical billing and coding graduates to build upon their skills and knowledge to move into different parts of the medical field, and the work experience can hold them in good stead when they seek other positions, such as those in nursing or home health care.

Do I need to be certified as a medical biller and/or coder?

Technically, certification is not required to begin work as a medical biller or medical coder. However, certification is strongly recommended. Many employers will only hire those who have certification, so it makes you much more marketable. Besides that, it can provide a decent salary boost. To learn more, visit our full page on the importance and options available when it comes to medical billing and coding certification online.

How Much Do Medical Billers and Coders Make

According to the AAPC Annual Salary Survey (which includes all medical billers and coders who are members of the AAPC), the average income of a medical coder is $52,411 per year. Those who have no certification earned $45,035 per year, while those with at least one certification earned almost 15% more, at $51,477. Those who earned specialized certifications could earn over $64,000 per year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics wage numbers include medical records and health information technicians, which covers both medical coders and medical billers:

Percentile
Hourly Wage
Annual Wage
10%
$12.41
$25,810
25%
$14.90
$30,990
50%
$18.83
$39,180
75%
$24.69
$51,350
90%
$31.06
$64,610

All numbers from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics