Are you looking to start a new career without breaking the bank for a degree or spending countless hours commuting to and from campus? Do you want a job that allows you the flexibility to juggle your personal obligations and professional ambitions? Then earning a medical billing and coding certification from an online school in Texas could be the right move for you.
Medical billing and coding is one of the most accessible professions in the healthcare field; students only need a high school diploma or GED to apply to certification programs and sit for licensure exams. Additionally, most programs require just one to three years of study to complete.
If that’s not reason enough to think seriously about pursuing this education, then consider the high demand for medical billing and coding professionals. According to the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), this demand is fueled by an aging population, a growing shortage in physicians and other medical professionals, and a need to digitize medical information—all of which is likely to continue well into the future.
So how do you get started? A good place is by exploring top programs near you and learning about the ins-and-outs of medical billing and coding, from the required education to the career outlook after graduation. Keep reading to get an inside look at some popular programs in the Lone Star State!
School Spotlight: Popular Medical Billing and Coding Program in Texas
Every student is different, and so is every school – which can make it difficult to know which one is the best for you. The school spotlight below will help give you an inside look at what a standout online medical billing & coding program in Texas is like, so you can start off on the right foot during your search for a program.
Tyler Junior College
The Medical Billing and Coding Online Certification Program at Tyler Junior College helps prepare students for various national and state certification exams and provides access to interactive learning modules, 24/7 instructor support and course mentoring, and career resources. Students graduate with a fundamental understanding of the healthcare and insurance industries, including how to properly assign codes and file reimbursement claims with insurance companies.
The program teaches students to navigate the most up to date coding software, the ICD-10-CM, and to identify and correct codes using the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) manuals.
The total cost of the program is $1,799, and can be paid in installments.
Deeper Look at Online Medical Billing & Coding Schools in Houston
As a Texas resident, you know that big cities like Houston are home to some of the best opportunities and prospects after graduation, and medical billing and coding is no exception—with some of the highest annual salaries to boot! If you’re interested in obtaining a medical billing and coding certification in Texas, then consider applying to some of the Houston-based programs highlighted below.
College of Health Care Professions
Students enrolled in the Medical Billing and Coding Program at The College of Health Care Professions learn to navigate and apply International Classification of Diseases (ICD), CPT, and HCPCS codes, and file medical documentation, billing forms, and insurance claims. Students also take classes in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. By the time they graduate, they are also well-versed in reimbursement methodologies and customer service principles.
The 48-week-long program is offered in both an online and a hybrid, “blended delivery” format. To apply, students must be able to speak and write in English, hold a high school diploma or GED, and pass the Scholastic Level Exam with a score of 17 or higher.
In addition to the Houston campus, the program is offered on campuses in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and McAllen. Tuition costs vary across campuses.
University of Houston
The University of Houston’s Online Medical Billing and Coding Training program prepares students to earn their medical billing and coding certification in as little as one year.
The program curriculum includes courses like Introduction to Medical Terminology, Medical Billing and Coding, and Health Insurance; Pharmacology for Coders; and Managed Healthcare. Students also learn to use HCPCS, CPT and ICD-10 codes and gain hands-on experience using medical billing and coding software. Once they complete the program, students receive a voucher for the certification exam of their choice, including the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) or the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) exams.
There are no prerequisite requirements to apply. Students must pay the $2,995 tuition cost upon enrolling in the program.
Skills Medical Billing and Coding Students Need to Succeed
A successful career in medical billing and coding hinges on certain skills, including the ability to keep up with changing technology, pay close attention to detail, and follow privacy guidelines.
Keep in mind that improper billing or coding could affect a patient’s ability to receive future healthcare services and treatments, so treat developing these skills as seriously as you do the rest of your studies.
Adaptability to Technology
Medical billing and coding specialists are always learning something new, whether it’s memorizing new codes or familiarizing themselves with evolving medical technology.
Many organizations offer webinars, trainings, and various other resources to help you maintain your certification and stay aware of the latest updates.
Attention to Detail
As a medical billing or coding professional, you’ll need to be able to quickly and accurately convert medical services into the codes used to bill insurance companies. How you input that information can impact whether medical providers are reimbursed for the services they provide. It can also affect a patient’s insurance coverage.
As the late Stan Lee once wrote: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Commitment to Confidentiality
Medical billing and coding professionals are responsible for processing a vast amount of patient information, including detailed medical records.
You must be able to handle that information discretely and professionally to safeguard patients’ rights to privacy and to protect your employers from liability. To do so, you’ll need to understand the laws surrounding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
Strong Communication Skills
Medical billing and coding professionals act as the bridge between healthcare providers and a patients’ insurance companies. This means you’ll need to learn to communicate detailed information clearly when notifying insurance companies and other relevant parties of medical services that have been performed.
At times, you may also be required to speak with patients to answer questions they may have regarding their medical bill or insurance claim.
Finding a School: What to Consider
Finding the right medical billing and coding certification program or online school is crucial to the trajectory of your career. Consider looking at a program’s accreditation, financial aid, courses offerings, and delivery format.
Let’s look at why these factors are worth mulling over when searching for the right medical billing and coding program in Texas.
Accreditation guarantees the program or school you enroll in has met certain educational standards. There are two major accrediting bodies for health informatics programs, the AAPC and the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Look for programs/schools that feature their accreditation by one of these organizations.
If you’re having doubts about the importance of accreditation, keep in mind that employers strongly prefer to hire people who have received an education from an accredited school or program. This ensures that they’re hiring an employee who is up to date on industry procedures and best practices.
Cost & Financial Aid
Tuition varies depending on the school and the program you enroll in, where you live, and the amount of time it takes for you to complete the program. Be sure to check the webpages of the schools you plan to apply to for per-credit or total tuition costs, financial aid options, or payment plans.
Note that federal financial aid is only available to you if you attend an accredited program.
Curriculum & Certificate Preparation
If you have an idea of a niche specialization you’d like to go into within the medical billing and coding field, it can pay dividends to make sure that your chosen program offers training in that area. Alternatively, it can benefit you to look closely at the programs’ certificate preparation, since earning more than one certificate could allow you to expand your skill set and raise your qualifications in the job market.
Medical billing and coding certification programs in Texas are offered in several formats. You can choose from online, hybrid, or traditional schools to further your education in a way that suits your learning style, schedule, preferences, and goals. Online asynchronous programs give you total control over your own schedule, while synchronous classes require you to log on at specific hours. Some programs offer a mix of online and in-person courses, many of which allow you to access campuses in Houston across the state, while traditional programs take place completely in-person.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Medical Billing & Coding Certification
Medical billing and coding professionals play an important role within the healthcare system, earn a decent salary and can secure jobs with little to no experience, but that’s not to say this career is without its challenges.
To help you decide if it is right for you, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to pursuing a medical billing and coding certification and career.
Answering Your FAQs About Texas Medical Billing & Coding Schools
If you still have some lingering questions around pursuing a career in medical billing and coding in Texas, then you’re not alone. We’ve compiled prospective billing and coding students’ most frequently asked questions to address any concerns you may still have.
So, let’s talk all things course structure, prerequisites, salary, and certification!
Are medical billing and coding classes ever offered online or part-time?
Medical billing and coding classes are often offered online, in-person or in a hybrid format. For example, Central Texas College offers online courses for its Medical Coding and Billing program. The Medical Billing and Coding Program at the College of Health Care Professions, on the other hand, offers both virtual classes and hybrid courses.
And although most schools don’t explicitly say their programs can be completed on a part-time basis, some online asynchronous programs allow students to complete courses at their own pace.
Are there any prerequisites for medical billing and coding programs?
Most students only need a GED or a high school diploma to apply to a medical billing and coding program. However, some programs do require students to take an entrance exam. For example, the College of Health Care Professions requires students to earn a score of 17 or higher on the Scholastic Level Exam in order to apply to its Medical Billing and Coding Program.
Lone Star College also requires students to take a pre-assessment activity and placement test.
How much do medical billing and coding professionals make in Texas?
How much a medical billing or coding professional makes in Texas depends on the city, the level of education, the type and number of certificates they hold, and the skills and experience they have.
Medical billing and coding professionals’ salaries in Texas are on par with the national average. Certified Medical Coders with 0-1 years of experience earn an average of $39,335, while those with 5-9 years of experience earn an average of $50,318.
What certification exam(s) do I need to take before I can start working?
The certification exam you choose depends on your career goals. Keep in mind that medical billing and coding are two different professions that require separate certifications, although you can become certified in both. After completing your program, you will be prepared to sit for any of the following exams: Certified Billing and Coding Specialists (CBCS); Certified Coding Associate (CCA); Certified Coding Specialist (CCS); or Certified Professional Coder (CPC).
If you’re interested in working exclusively in billing,, you can sit for the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) exam, or the Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) exam, among others.
What is the process for applying to a medical billing and coding program?
Most schools require students to apply to both the school and the program. Many medical billing and coding programs also require you to submit an official transcript. Some may require test scores, and others may require proof of vaccination, particularly if you enroll in traditional in-person classes. See our dedicated medical billing and coding admissions guide for a more in-depth look at the application process.