Careers in medical billing and coding are becoming more and more well-known as information spreads about their flexibility and low barriers to entry. As the medical industry continues to change and grow, so does the need for medical billing and coding professionals. Whether you’ve just stumbled across this career path or you’ve been planning to pursue it for a while, you’re likely here because you’re ready to get the education you need to get your foot in the door.
In this guide, we’ll help you discover and learn about some of today’s top medical billing and coding programs in Massachusetts, what you should look for during your program search, what skills and qualities will help you be successful, and what some of the pros and cons are of this field. Let’s get started by diving into three standout medical billing and coding programs.
Best Medical Billing and Coding Programs in Massachusetts
This is by no means a comprehensive list of every medical billing and coding class and program available to you in Massachusetts, but the three schools featured below are some of the best to prepare you for your certification exam and a long, successful career in the field. Keep reading to learn more about these programs and what you should look for in others to make sure you’re enrolling in a quality program.
Holyoke Community College
Holyoke Community College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) and offers a 10-month, 26-credit Medical Billing and Coding certificate program. Over the course of the program, students take medical billing and coding classes in topics like medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology, healthcare documentation, and health insurance reimbursement and computerized billing. The program starts each fall and is entirely remote, allowing students to study where and when they choose. Once they’ve earned their certificate and passed their chosen certification exam, students can work in hospitals, medical offices, and dental and chiropractic offices—either in person or from home.
Alternatively, students can choose to continue their education and pursue additional certificates and/or degrees in Health Information Management or other related subject areas. To start classes, students need to have a high school diploma or GED and be able to communicate in English.
Northern Essex Community College
Northern Essex Community College is another NECHE-accredited Massachusetts school that offers medical billing and coding classes. The certificate program is offfered entirely online and prepares students to pass the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam and earn entry-level positions in a variety of healthcare and insurance settings. The 22 required credits include classes like Clinical Pathophysiology, Human Biology, Basic Diagnosis Coding Systems, and Health Insurance and Reimbursement. Students following the recommended course of study complete their certificate in just three semesters.
The credits students earn in the program can be put toward NECC’s Associate Degree in General Studies: Health Specialization.
Salem State University
Salem State University’s self-paced Online Medical Billing and Coding Course is administered through ed2go in a single, comprehensive course for just under $3,000. This non-credit certificate program is offered through the university’s NECHE-accredited School of Continuing Education and can be completed in under 12 months. The course is available year-round which allows students to start whenever they are ready.
The curriculum covers topics in medical terminology, pharmacology, legal aspects of health insurance and reimbursement, Medicaid and Medicare, and clinical documentation improvement. Once students complete the course, they receive a voucher to take one of three national certification tests according to their goals.
Skills of Successful Medical Billing and Coding Students
If you want to be successful in both your education and future as a medical billing and coding professional, then the following skills are good ones to hone. Already possessing a lot of these skills is a good sign you’re a great fit for the medical billing and coding field, but don’t worry too much if you need to spend some time improving one or more of them! All of them can be developed and strengthened with the right mindset and effort.
Adaptability to Technology
Adaptability is essential in every part of the medical field because things change so quickly. Medical billing and coding professionals need to keep up with both the changes in the medical field and the changes in technology. New procedures, new codes, and new software are all inevitable so you’ll need to anticipate and adjust to them accordingly.
Attention to Detail
Attention to detail will serve you in your medical billing and coding classes and beyond. Working in this industry requires you to accurately input and communicate precise data—from medical codes to invoice recipients. The more precise you can be in your studies and work, the better and more efficient you will be at your job.
Commitment to Confidentiality
As a medical billing and coding professional, you’ll have access to data on every aspect of a patient’s intake, diagnosis, treatment, and more. As such, you’ll need to be committed to discretion and to maintaining the HIPAA Privacy Rule, including taking measures to ensure no one else can access patient records (such as a family member on an unlocked home computer).
Strong Communication Skills
People working in medical billing and coding are the go-between for medical providers and insurance companies. This means you’ll need to learn and practice good communication skills—both written and verbal—to communicate complex information clearly and avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications. While this may seem intimidating, rest assured that medical billing and coding classes in Massachusetts emphasize this skill.
What to Consider When Choosing a Program
Medical billing and coding classes in Massachusetts are fairly similar across the board, but certain program features can make one a better fit for you than another. Depending on your personal needs and goals, you’ll want to consider specific factors during your program search. For example, if you have a busy schedule filled with many obligations, then you might want to look for a program with asynchronous online classes so you can complete your learning anytime, anywhere.
Choosing an accredited Massachusetts program that offers in-depth medical billing and coding classes ensures that you’ll get an education of the highest caliber. To earn accreditation, programs must meet and maintain certain educational standards. Medical billing and coding programs are accredited by one of two bodies: the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), which accredits larger health information programs (like the Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Information Management at Charter Oaks State College), and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Taking courses through an accredited program or from AAPC-certified instructors will give you a leg up in your job hunt after graduation.
Cost & Financial Aid
The cost of becoming a medical billing/coding professional varies greatly according to the path you take to earn your certification. Pursuing a degree in Health Information Management or Health Information Technology with a specialization or classes in medical billing and coding will be more expensive than pursuing a certificate. For example, the 64-credit Associate of Science in Health Information Technology from Springfield Technical Community College costs roughly $20,000 ($300 per credit), whereas the medical billing and coding certificate program from Salem State University comes out to less than $3,000. Regardless of the path you take, be sure to explore financial aid and scholarship opportunities to help offset the cost of tuition.
Curriculum & Certificate Preparation
Earning your certification is just the beginning, but you want to guarantee that you are laying a strong foundation for continued studies and professional pursuits. If you are interested in a specific role after completing your program, look for medical billing and coding classes in relevant subject areas.
These days, you can find most programs, including medical billing and coding courses, in just about any format available. As you filter through the various program options, be sure to check the format of each one to see if it fits your preference. The ed2go medical billing and coding program from Salem State University, for example, is offered entirely online for a period of 12 months, whereas Massachusetts’ Springfield Technical Community College’s program takes place primarily in person. If you prefer to study online for the flexibility it offers, be sure to pay attention to whether online coursework/classes are offered synchronously (at a set time) or asynchronously (when you have time).
The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Medical Biller & Coder
As with every career, there are pros and cons to becoming a medical billing and coding professional in Massachusetts. We’ve listed some of them below to help give you a more complete picture of what this field entails so you can ultimately make the decision whether or not it’s right for you.
FAQs About Massachusetts Medical Billing and Coding Programs
We’ve already addressed most of what you need to know before enrolling in a program, but it’s natural to still have questions. Keep reading to see our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions other students like you have about medical billing and coding classes online in Massachusetts.
Are medical billing and coding classes ever offered online or part-time?
Yes! In fact, many medical billing and coding classes in Massachusetts are offered online because there are no necessary hands-on components. Everything can be learned through recorded lectures, online chats, and virtual simulations. Part-time courses are also available, like the self-paced ed2go program through Salem State University.
Are there any prerequisites for medical billing and coding programs?
Whether you are required to take any prerequisites before starting your medical billing and coding classes depends largely on the route you take. Some schools require a handful of prerequisite courses like medical terminology, while others include them in the program curriculum. Courses like AAPC-approved Coding Clarified, have no prerequisites. That said, you must have a high school diploma or GED to sit for a certification exam.
How much do medical billers and coders make in Massachusetts?
The expected salary for medical billing and coding professionals depends largely on their certification. According to the AAPC, a medical coding specialist in Massachusetts makes, on average, $67,200. Professionals in the Boston metropolitan area working as medical records and health information technicians can expect to make more. Those with advanced credentials can make over $100,000 annually.
What certification exam(s) do I need to take before I can start working?
Once you have completed your chosen course or program, you’ll need to pass at least one national certification exam to begin working. You can choose from the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam, which requires only a high school diploma or GED; the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) exam, which is typically recommended for those who have already passed the CCA and earned a year of medical coding experience; or the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam, which is recommended to those who have completed high school and a certificate program, or high school and a year of supervised medical coding.
What is the process for applying to a medical billing and coding program?
Applying for medical billing and coding classes online in Massachusetts is relatively straightforward. You’ll need to prove you have either a high school diploma or a GED as part of the application process to be accepted into a program. Depending on the course you may need to complete a prerequisite class. If you take a medical billing and coding class through a third-party organization, accessing content is as simple as creating an account and pay any related fees. Check out our dedicated medical billing and coding admissions guide for more information.