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Top Medical Billing and Coding Online Schools in Tennessee (TN)

Dream of a career in medical billing and coding? Use this guide to dive into top programs and set yourself up for a successful education and future.

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Author: Shelby Green
Editor: Kimberly Zaski

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment in the healthcare field is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations over the next decade. While doctors and nurses are two of the most popular healthcare professions, there are many healthcare roles working behind the scenes that do not focus on patient care or require a significant amount of education.

One such role is medical billing and coding, essential to ensure accurate medical records, manage billing processes, and navigate insurance reimbursements. Medical coders translate diagnoses, procedures, and treatments using standardized alphanumeric codes for clear and accurate billing across healthcare systems. Medical billers leverage the codes assigned by medical coders to generate claims for reimbursement by insurance companies.

You can launch a career in medical coding or billing by enrolling in a medical billing and coding school in Tennessee. Many programs, typically an associate degree or certificate, can be completed in two years or less for a fast track to entering the workforce. There are many medical billing and coding schools in Tennessee to help you launch your career. In this guide, we’ll explore several of the top in-person and online medical billing and coding schools in Tennessee and answer some common questions about the field.

School Spotlights: Medical Billing & Coding Online Schools in TN

Decided a career in medical billing and coding is right for you? Let’s take a look at three of the most popular medical billing and coding programs in Tennessee to help you kickstart your healthcare career. We’ll explore each program’s offerings, accreditations, and key details to help you make an informed decision.

Nashville State Community College

Nashville State Community College offers an online Medical Coding Certificate program that is ideal for those seeking a fast-track entry into the healthcare field and the flexibility to continue their education later. In a year or less, you’ll develop a solid foundation in medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, coding systems (CPT and ICD-10-CM), and essential billing and coding practices. You’ll also benefit from career services to help with your job search after graduation. While the program is primarily online, courses are available on campus, catering to various learning preferences and schedules. Additionally, all courses can be applied to Healthcare Management A.A.S. degree Medical Coding concentration to further your career.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville (TCAT Knoxville) offers a self-paced online Medical Billing and Coding Training program designed to equip you for this high-demand role. Through a hands-on learning environment and instruction from experienced healthcare professionals, you’ll develop practical skills using medical billing and coding software, preparing you for real-world application immediately following graduation. Additionally, TCAT Knoxville offers a medical billing standalone track for those not interested in medical coding.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Medical Billing and Coding Academy offers a convenient and efficient path to launching your healthcare career. Developed in partnership with the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), the 100% online Medical Billing and Coding Training program can be completed in just 18 weeks, empowering you to launch your new career quickly. Led by seasoned professionals with decades of experience, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of medical terminology, coding systems (ICD-10-CM, CPT, HCPCS), insurance claim processing, and essential medical billing and coding practices. The AAPC-aligned curriculum ensures you’re equipped with the knowledge and skills to take the highly sought-after Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam.

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What to Look for in an Online Medical Billing & Coding School

With so many high-quality medical billing and coding schools in Tennessee to choose from, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate various program aspects, like accreditation, format, and cost, as these will influence your learning experience, career preparation, and overall investment. To ensure you find the right medical billing and coding school in Tennessee, here are a few things to evaluate before enrolling.

Accreditation

Accreditation is crucial when evaluating medical billing and coding schools in Tennessee. Accreditation signifies that the program meets rigorous educational standards established by a recognized accrediting body. For medical billing and coding programs, you should focus on programs accredited by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), ensuring the program curriculum aligns with industry best practices.

Certification Exam Preparation

As a medical biller or coder, you’ll likely need to earn a certification that demonstrates your skills and knowledge. Many of the top medical billing and coding programs in Tennessee integrate comprehensive exam preparation resources into their curriculum to prepare you for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) or Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) exams.

One CPC certification exam is included in UT Chattanooga’s Medical Billing and Coding Training program to help build your resume and prepare you for the job market.

Cost and Financial Aid

The cost of a medical billing and coding program in Tennessee varies depending on program length, format, and institution. Compared to traditional four-year degrees, medical billing and coding programs offer a considerably more affordable path. Explore program websites and contact admissions offices for detailed tuition breakdowns, including any additional fees for textbooks or course materials, and financial aid options.

For example, the University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s online program offers alternative payment plans to reduce the financial burden.

Curriculum and Specializations

Each medical billing and coding program in Tennessee offers its own unique curriculum and specializations. Look for programs with a comprehensive curriculum that balances core medical billing and coding knowledge with practical skills. Some programs also offer specialized tracks catering to specific healthcare settings, such as physician practice management, hospital coding, and ambulatory coding..

Duration and Flexibility

To be successful in your medical billing and coding program, it’s critical to find one that matches your learning style. Many medical billing and coding schools in Tennessee offer a selection of formats, durations, and tracks, including part-time and full-time options, to maximize flexibility and convenience. Some medical billing and coding courses can be completed in just a few short weeks, like the University of Tennessee Martin’s online Medical Billing and Coding program that can be completed in 4-6 months.

Format

In addition to campus-based programs, there are many medical billing and coding online schools in Tennessee. On-campus, online, and hybrid programs each offer unique opportunities and advantages depending on your schedule and preferences. On-campus programs have a set in-person schedule, while online and hybrid options allow for greater flexibility, ideal for working professionals or those with family commitments.

For example, Tennessee State University’s Medical Billing and Coding Program is one night per week on campus, while other programs are 100% online.

Medical Billing and Coding Salary in Tennessee

The medical billing and coding field in Tennessee boasts competitive salaries with a slight edge over the national averages. While the statewide average is encouraging, salaries can fluctuate depending on location. The Chattanooga area is the top-paying region of the state with a mean annual wage of roughly $68,000, with top earners making close to six figures. The Kingsport-Bristol area offers the lowest salary potential with top earnings at $58,000.

While salary data is an important metric, it’s also critical to look at the cost of living. Since Tennessee generally offers a lower cost of living compared to other states, your salary will stretch further.

Remember, these data points are just a snapshot of your earning potential. Your actual salary will depend on your background, company, and experience. Please also note that the table below references salary data for “medical record specialists,” as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Laor Statistics.

Area10th PercentileMean Annual Wage90th Percentile
United States$35,080$53,690$77,810
Tennessee35,04055,95078,760
Chattanooga, TN-GA34,40068,02097,700
Clarksville, TN-KY34,03051,72077,050
Jackson, TN33,98053,63075,230
Johnson City, TN32,04046,60064,730
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA31,51041,66058,860
Knoxville, TN33,45048,87074,240
Memphis, TN-MS-AR37,39061,22083,030
Nashville, TN37,94057,22078,260

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023

Career Outlook for Tennessee Medical Billers and Coders

In Tennessee, the job outlook for medical billing and coding professionals is promising. The state is projected to experience a job growth rate of 16.9%, significantly exceeding the national average of 8.5%, which translates to over 1,000 new job opportunities. Compared to the national averages, Tennessee offers a more competitive job market for aspiring medical billing and coding professionals.

AreaNew JobsJob Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings
United States28,6008.5%27,400
Tennessee1,02016.9%560

Source: Projections Central, 2020 – 2030

Common Questions for Tennessee Students

As you begin exploring medical billing and coding schools in Tennessee, you’ll likely have some questions regarding the process and career as a whole. In this section, we’ll tackle some of the most frequently asked questions to help you make an informed decision and launch a rewarding career in healthcare.

How do I become a medical coder in Tennessee?

To become a medical coder, you’ll need to complete a medical billing and coding program in Tennessee. You can complete a certificate program or earn an associate’s degree. These programs equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills for medical terminology, coding systems, and healthcare regulations. You should also consider earning a certification from a reputable organization to enhance employability.

How much does medical billing and coding pay in Tennessee?

Medical billing and coding salaries in Tennessee are competitive. The average is around $55,950 annually, with a range of $35,040 for entry-level to $78,760 for experienced professionals. Higher salaries are available in top-paying areas like Chattanooga. It’s important to remember your salary will depend on your background, experience, and skills.

Is medical billing and coding worth it?

Whether you believe a career in medical billing and coding is worth it depends on your goals, lifestyle, and personal preferences. However, in Tennessee, the field offers a lot of great benefits including good salary potential, a growing job market, and the opportunity to make an impact.

Is medical billing and coding difficult?

While medical billing and coding aren’t necessarily hard, it does take time and effort to master the terminology and coding systems. However, with a good program and focus, many students succeed, especially those who enjoy detail-oriented tasks. As with any career, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, your hard work will pay off.

Is medical coding a good remote job?

Medical coding can be a great career option for those interested in remote work. Many healthcare companies offer remote positions that allow you to work from anywhere with a stable internet connection. This flexibility and convenience are ideal for those seeking to maximize work-life balance or location independence.