Best Online Medical Billing & Coding Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/12/2021
Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Certificate
Average Tuition: $18,470
Average Salary: $85,137

Medical billing and coding is an administrative position in healthcare, and is a good fit for those who are organized, analytical, and detail-oriented. Coding specialists translate patients' medical records into standardized codes, which are then processed and sent to insurance companies by billing specialists. This career path is the perfect opportunity for individuals who prefer technical and office-based tasks rather than working directly with patients. The need for medical billing and coding professionals is projected to grow by 8% over the next 10 years, and they make an average of $42,630 per year. Entry-level positions often only require a certification or associate degree, making medical billing and coding an appealing career choice. Our rankings list below of the best medical billing and coding programs can help you choose which program best fits your needs. Continue reading for more information on certification requirements and accreditation for medical billing and coding programs.

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Most Affordable Online Colleges Offering Medical Billing & Coding Certificates

2021 Most Affordable Online Colleges Offering Certificate in Medical Billing & Coding Badge

These are the most affordable online programs in medical coding and billing based on tuition. All tuitions are specific to online students, and each one is manually researched in order to provide the most accurate data possible. All 25 schools on this list offer tuition rates under $5,000 per year.

View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

RankSchool Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 $1,140
# 2 #2 $2,388
# 3 #3 $2,808
# 4 #4 $2,832
# 5 #5 $3,480
# 6 #6 $3,547
# 7 #7 $3,889
# 8 #8 $3,892
# 9 #9 $3,958
# 10 #10 $4,000
# 11 (tie) #11 (tie) $4,020
# 11 (tie) #11 (tie) $4,020
# 11 (tie) #11 (tie) $4,020
# 14 #14 $4,100
# 15 #15 $4,140
# 16 #16 $4,288
# 17 (tie) #17 (tie) $4,400
# 17 (tie) #17 (tie) $4,400
# 17 (tie) #17 (tie) $4,400
# 20 #20 $4,410
# 21 #21 $4,747
# 22 #22 $4,800
# 23 (tie) #23 (tie) $4,824
# 23 (tie) #23 (tie) $4,824
# 23 (tie) #23 (tie) $4,824
# 23 (tie) #23 (tie) $4,824
# 23 (tie) #23 (tie) $4,824
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OnlineU has over 200 partner colleges that advertise on our site. Search results include only our partner colleges, which are marked with the word "Ad." Learn more about how we make money.

2021 Online Colleges Offering Medical Billing & Coding Certificates - Ranking Details

#1 Albany State University

  • Annual Tuition: $1,140
  • Locations: Albany (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Albany State University offers an online Certificate in Medical Coding. The 27-credit program prepares students to take the certified coding associate (CCA) national credentialing exam from the American Health Information Management Association. The curriculum covers health record content and structure, pathophysiology, pharmacology, coding, and advanced coding and reimbursement. Students must have previous prerequisite coursework in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and computer applications before starting the program. If students do not have this prior coursework, they may take these classes at Albany State.

Online courses are delivered through the GaVIEW learning management system. Classes can have both synchronous and asynchronous aspects. The school's financial aid office provides information for loans, scholarships, and grants. Military-affiliated students have access to the school's Office of Military and Adult Education to assist with military education benefits. All students have access to career services.

Applicants can submit their applications and any other required information online. Online students have access to a program specialist, an online research database, the school's online writing center, and more.

#2 Alexandria Technical & Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,388
  • Locations: Alexandria (MN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC) offers an online Certificate in Medical Coding Specialist and an online Diploma in Medical Coding Specialist. Both fall under the Medical Coding Specialist program and students pursuing either option will learn proper medical terminology and documentation. Other class topics include anatomy, pharmacology, finance, and coding. Graduates from either program are eligible to take the American Health Information Management Association's Certified Coding Associate exam or the American Academy of Professional Coders exam. The certificate requires three semesters and a total of 19 credit hours, while the diploma program requires four semesters and 45 credit hours to complete.

Online coursework is delivered through the Brightspace learning management platform, and Zoom video-conferencing is used as needed. Students can pursue financial aid and scholarships by filling out an online application. As a medical coder, graduates will be able to review medical documentation and correlate the diagnosis and procedures into numerical codes for insurance companies, hospitals, and other settings as coding specialists, auditors, data quality supervisors, or coding research managers.

To apply, students must have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Applicants fill out a series of online forms after first creating a Minnesota State StarID. Online learners work with an advisor to develop their graduation plan and have access to technical assistance, services for veterans, online tutoring, and resources from the school's library.

#3 University of Alaska Fairbanks

  • Annual Tuition: $2,808
  • Locations: Fairbanks (AK) (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) offers an Occupational Endorsement in Medical Billing and an Occupational Endorsement in Medical Coding. Graduates of both programs qualify for entry-level coding and billing positions in various health care settings and may be able to sit for national certification exams once they meet specified work-experience requirements. Students in the 12-credit medical billing program learn about medical terminology, the reimbursement process, and inpatient and outpatient processes. The 13-credit medical coding endorsement teaches students how to analyze medical records and assign diagnosis codes.

UAF uses the Blackboard learning platform to deliver course material asynchronously, allowing students to complete assignments, view grades, and communicate with professors and classmates on their own time. UAF provides career services that include online career coaching and an assessment for students who are figuring out their preferred path.

Interested applicants must have a GED or high school transcripts. Prospective students can submit an online application and connect with an academic advisor to receive guidance through the admissions process. Distance learners have access to UAF’s academic advisors, tech support, tutoring services, and library resources.

#4 Montana State University-Billings

  • Annual Tuition: $2,832
  • Locations: Billings (MT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Montana State University (MSU) - Billings offers an online Certificate of Applied Science in Medical Coding and Insurance Billing. The 31-credit program offers instruction in medical terminology, human biology, business mathematics, and more. Students typically complete the program on a full-time basis over two semesters. Students are required to complete a capstone project before graduation.

Students access their online courses through the D2L learning management system. MSU accepts transfer credits. Online students have access to the school's financial aid office for information on grants, scholarships, loans, and other information to help pay tuition. The Military and Veterans Success Center assists military-affiliated students with veteran's benefits and joining the school's Student Veteran Organization. All students also have access to career advising services and graduates become part of the alumni network.

Interested applicants can complete their applications and submit any related materials online. Services available to online students include academic advising, IT support, academic support, disability services, legal services, library services, and more.

#5 Cowley County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,480
  • Locations: Arkansas City (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The Certificate in Medical Coding (Vocational Certificate B) program from Cowley County Community College educates students in the international classification standards for healthcare diagnoses and procedures. The curriculum includes classes in procedure terminology, reimbursement methods, and ICD-10 coding. The program culminates in a practicum on healthcare coding. Graduates are eligible to apply for national certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders.

Cowley provides an online learning platform that is competency-based and workforce specific: students will use the same software used by professional medical coders. Online course content is managed through Blackboard learning management software and follows an asynchronous format. Students can interact with faculty over email or phone. Cowley provides institutional scholarships, including some awards for full-time students in the Health and Human Services Department.

Cowley’s online application is free, and students may begin taking classes at Cowley while still in high school. Online students receive virtual tutoring, academic advising, and enrollment assistance.

#6 Western Nebraska Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,547
  • Locations: Scottsbluff (NE)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) offers an online Diploma in Coding Technician. This three-semester program requires 45 to 46 credits to complete, and courses cover human anatomy, body structure and functions, disease processes, medical terminology, and coding applications. Graduates learn how to apply medical coding knowledge to evaluate health records and solve coding and reimbursement issues.

Online courses are hosted on the Blackboard learning management system lectures, where students can access assignments, participate in discussions, and take quizzes. Students study at their own pace but must meet assignment deadlines. About 93% of UNCC graduates start a career or continue onto advanced studies after completing their programs.

Students can apply online to be considered. The school offers an eHelp Center for technical assistance. Students can also take advantage of Ed2Go for professional development and career support.

#7 Madison Area Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,889
  • Locations: Madison (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Madison Area Technical College (MATC) offers two online medical billing and coding programs: a Technical Diploma in Medical Billing Specialist and a Technical Diploma in Medical Coding Specialist. Both programs can be completed in one year. The medical coding option requires 35 credits includes pre-program courses and core program courses in human disease for health professions, healthcare revenue management, management of coding services, and more. In the 28-credit medical billing program, students receive instruction in keyboard skill-building, written communication, customer contact skills, and more.

Students at MATC use the Blackboard learning management system to access their online classes. Online classes may include both synchronous and asynchronous components. Students can work with the school's financial aid office to learn more about tuition payment options. MATC offers benefits for active-duty service members, veterans, military spouses, dependents. Online students can schedule phone and video appointments for career counseling services.

Interested applicants can submit their applications online. Online students at MATC have access to services, including career advising, IT support, the student success team, and more.

#8 Weber State University

  • Annual Tuition: $3,892
  • Locations: Ogden (UT)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

The Certificate of Proficiency in Healthcare Coding at Weber State University is a 10-course program that prepares students to take national coding certification exams. This program includes classes on medical terminology, integrated anatomy, and pharmacology, and students learn about the ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT coding systems. By taking the recommended course load, students can finish in four semesters.

Weber State University uses the Canvas learning management system. Students can take courses at their own pace on the semester-based schedule or sign up for independent study courses that start at any time and must be completed within six months. Graduates can pursue a career as a medical coder with a median annual income of $47,000. Weber offers students grants, scholarships, and loans to help with tuition costs.

Students can apply for this program online. The school offers support for online learners and disability services.

#9 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,958
  • Locations: Fennimore (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (SWTC) offers an online Medical Coding Specialist Technical Diploma. Students work with data and improve their medical terminology and communication skills to prepare for entry-level healthcare positions. Coursework covers digital literacy, basic anatomy, health information management, and coding. The diploma requires 33-34 credits to complete, with classes running for either eight or 16 weeks.

SWTC hosts online classes on the Schoology learning management platform, where students can access materials, submit assignments, participate in discussion boards, and take exams. To help fund the certificate, students can pursue scholarships from the college foundation as long as they enroll in six credits per semester. The Career Services center can help with interview preparation, resume building, and job searching.

Interested candidates should submit an application (with fee), official transcripts, and ACT scores (or take the Accuplacer exam). Some prior learning credits may apply for those with previous college, volunteer, or professional experiences. Resources available to online students include academic coaches, an IT service desk, and digital library services.

#10 Oconee Fall Line Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,000
  • Locations: Sandersville (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Oconee Fall Line Technical College (OFLTC) offers an online Technical Certificate in Medical Billing Clerk. The program usually takes two semesters to complete and requires a minimum of 20 credit hours. Students train in the skills needed for proficiency in medical insurance and reimbursement practices in health care, taking courses in document production, health care coding, anatomy, and medical terminology.

Using the Blackboard learning platform, students participate in classroom discussions and activities, take quizzes, communicate with instructors, and access course materials. OFLTC provides interested students with personalized career counseling, which includes advice on pursuing further degrees in the field and help with preparing a professional resume. Georgia residents may be eligible for education grants.

Prospective students take an entrance exam (or provide scores from previous assessments) and submit an online application with all academic transcripts. Applicants must be at least 16 years old. Technical support is available for online students along with resources such as tutoring, academic advising, and disability accommodations.

#11 (tie) Craven Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,020
  • Locations: New Bern (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

At Craven Community College (CCC), online students can earn an online Certificate in Medical Office Administration - Billing and Coding. The curriculum includes courses on medical terminology, procedural coding, and diagnostic coding. Students can complete the 15-credit program in than a year.

Online courses are delivered via the Moodle learning management system. CCC periodically updates courses to reflect current advancements in the coding industry. The school offers scholarships like the Finish Line Grant, which helps students cover medical expenses or other financial emergencies.

The application is available online, and the school has admissions counselors who can help students through the process. Online students can take advantage of support services such as career counseling and academic advising.

#11 (tie) Edgecombe Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,020
  • Locations: Tarboro (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Edgecombe Community College offers an online Diploma in Health Information Technology with a specialization in coding, along with a Certificate in Health Information Technology with three optional concentrations: coding, protected health information, and ambulatory billing and coding. The diploma takes 43 credits to complete, and the certificates take 16-17 credits. Students learn how to code diagnoses, coordinate costs, monitor policy, and perform research. Diploma students must complete a supervised practicum experience within a clinical setting before graduation. Graduates with the diploma or one of the coding certificates may be prepared to sit for the American Health Information Management Association’s Certified Coding Specialist exam if they also meet the work-experience requirements.

Online coursework is delivered asynchronously through the Moodle learning management platform. Edgecombe has a financial aid office that can help students with applications for federal aid.

New students must complete an online application, provide official high school transcripts (or GED equivalent), and provide any applicable postsecondary transcripts. Once accepted, students attend an online orientation session and meet with an admissions counselor for academic advising and an individual graduation plan. Online students have access to Edgecombe’s digital library, free Microsoft Office software, 24/7 Moodle technical support, and a tutoring center.

#11 (tie) Lenoir Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,020
  • Locations: Kinston (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Lenoir Community College (LCC) offers two online options to build medical coding skills: a 15-credit Medical Coding, Billing, & Insurance Certificate and a 43-credit Medical Billing and Coding Diploma. Certificate students complete courses in diagnostic and procedure coding and the complexities of medical insurance. Diploma students also take these, plus classes in office administration and legal issues in medicine. Diploma students also complete one math course and one writing course to graduate.

Online coursework is delivered through the Moodle learning platform, where students can access assignments and quizzes. Online classes are asynchronous, and students are responsible for meeting due dates. Lenoir belongs to the College Central Network, a career hub where students can post resumes and review job opportunities.

New students can complete an online orientation on accessing and navigating online coursework. Applicants need a high school diploma or its equivalent, and must submit official transcripts proving this. Various resources are offered to online students, including academic writing services and 24/7 technical support.

#14 San Juan College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,100
  • Locations: Farmington (NM)
  • Accreditation: HLC

The online Certificate in Medical Insurance Coder/Biller program at San Juan College (SJC) falls under the health information technology program within the health sciences department. The 30-credit hour program must be completed in two years and includes classes in pharmacology, physician coding, and medical reimbursement practices. A professional practice experience and coding seminar are also included in the curriculum. The program prepares students for the American Health Information Management Association's Certified Coding Associate exam.

Online coursework is delivered through the Canvas learning management platform, which hosts a variety of online tools, including Zoom, Techsmith Knowmia, Canvas Conferences, and more. Classes may have synchronous and asynchronous components. Graduates will understand the policies, regulations, standards, and strategies required to obtain and protect health information in various settings, including hospitals, doctors' offices, and other health care settings. SJC hosts a range of scholarships to help students fund their education.

Candidates must have competent computer skills, take the Accuplacer exam, and complete prerequisite courses at SJC. Students can apply online, but acceptance to SJC does not guarantee entry into the competitive program. Online learners have access to the Advising and Counseling Center, the Career Center, enrollment services, the TRiO Center for first-generation and low-income students, and a Veteran Center.

#15 Central Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,140
  • Locations: Grand Island (NE)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Central Community College (CCC) offers an online Diploma in Medical Coding through the Health Sciences Department. Students learn how to analyze medical records and transcribe diagnoses and procedures into relevant codes for billing and insurance. The program requires 41 credit hours to complete, including 31 in the major. Coursework covers topics in pharmacology, disease conditions, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and medical coding classification systems. Graduates are eligible to take the Certified Coding Associate exam offered through the American Health Information Management Association.

Online courses are asynchronous and delivered through the Moodle learning management platform. CCC’s Career and Employment Services counsels job seekers and helps with resume and interview preparation.

Candidates complete an online application and a pre-enrollment assessment to apply. Students transferring from another program at Central Community College must have at least a 2.0 GPA. Online learners have access to library resources, Moodle training workshops, an IT help desk, disability services, and online tutoring.

#16 Vance-Granville Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,288
  • Locations: Henderson (NC) (and 3 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Vance-Granville Community College (VGCC) offers an online Certificate in Medical Coding Specialist. Graduates of this 24-credit program will be prepared for entry-level coding positions in medical facilities and insurance agencies and may be eligible for industry certification exams. The coursework covers diagnostic and procedure coding, medical terminology, and advanced coding methodology, and culminates with an on-site work-experience course.

Coursework is delivered using Moodle, a learning management system through which students communicate with their instructor and classmates, take quizzes, and watch lectures. VGCC provides institutional scholarships to select students, including some based on merit or need, along with a Career Coach tool featuring career assessments and a resume builder.

The program has multiple start dates in July, August, September, or October. To apply, students with a high school education can submit an online application. Online students have access to online tutoring, academic advising, and web accessibility support for anyone needing an accommodation.

#17 (tie) Ogeechee Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,400
  • Locations: Statesboro (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Certificate in Medical Billing Clerk program from Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) prepares students for an entry-level medical billing or coding career in health care. The curriculum includes courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, health care coding, and human diseases. Graduates may be qualified to take several certification exams offered by the American Health Information Management Association. Students typically complete this 22-credit program in two semesters.

OTC uses Blackboard to deliver course material. This is where students submit their assignments, take quizzes, and participate in classroom discussions. Professors may provide live lectures, but will always record them so that students can watch on their own time. The Career Services Office can help students write effective resumes and search for jobs as they near graduation.

Prospective students must be at least 16 years old and have standardized test scores that meet minimum requirements. If they meet the qualifications, students can submit an online application through the college’s website. Distance learners have access to academic resources such as tutoring, career services, and counseling.

#17 (tie) Southeastern Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,400
  • Locations: Vidalia (GA) (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Southeastern Technical College (STC) offers a Technical Certificate of Credit in Healthcare Billing and Reimbursement Assistant. The program requires 18-22 credits, which can be completed in four semesters. The curriculum includes foundation courses and some elective options, with topics in healthcare coding, computer literacy, medical terminology, and human diseases.

Most online coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management software, where students can access videos and presentations and participate in discussion boards. Online classes can have both asynchronous and synchronous components. Online students have access to academic advisors, technical assistance, and A Lending Library for individuals seeking affordable textbooks.

To apply to STC’s online certificate program, candidates must submit official high school transcripts (or GED equivalent), complete an application, and satisfy placement testing standards in reading, writing, and algebra.

#17 (tie) West Georgia Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,400
  • Locations: Waco (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

West Georgia Technical College (WGTC) offers both a Certificate in Medical Billing Clerk and a Certificate in Medical Coding online through the School of Business and Public Services. The 22-credit hour medical billing clerk program emphasizes administrative services, coding, and anatomy. The 24-credit hour medical coding certificate teaches students how to accurately manage confidential patient medical records through courses on human disease, document production, and medical terminology.

Online coursework is available through the Blackboard learning management platform. Courses follow an asynchronous format, but students are responsible for completing assignments and exams on time. Medical coding students who live in Georgia may be able to fund their certificate with a HOPE Career Grant.

Interested individuals can attend a virtual open house for enrollment assistance. To apply, students must complete an online application and submit official transcripts and placement test scores. Online learners at WGTC have access to the library's electronic resources, accessibility services, a technical help desk, academic advising, and free Microsoft Office software.

#20 Hutchinson Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,410
  • Locations: Hutchinson (KS) (and 2 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Hutchinson Community College (HCC) offers an online Certificate in Healthcare Coding Specialist program, requiring 45 credits offered over three semesters. Students are instructed in pharmacology, human anatomy and physiology, health information processes, legal and ethical issues in healthcare, pathophysiology, reimbursement methodology, and more.

Online classes are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Online students have access to the school's financial aid office for information about financing their education. Students also have access to career exploration services, including free access to career assessment testing and career counseling. Military or veteran students have access to HCC's military services department, assisting students with their military benefits. HCC may accept previous military training and/or educational experience for course credit (subject to approval).

Interested applicants can submit their program application and any other required materials online. Support services available include IT support, exam proctoring, one-on-one tutoring, writing assistance, and more.

#21 Seminole State College of Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $4,747
  • Locations: Sanford (FL) (and 3 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Seminole State College of Florida offers an online Medical Information Coder/Biller Technical Certificate. The 37-credit program can be completed in approximately a year and a half depending on a student’s course load per term. Graduates can apply credits to an associate degree or become entry-level medical coders responsible for analyzing medical records, assigning codes to procedures and diagnoses, and processing patient billing and insurance. Students take courses in anatomy, disease, pathophysiology and pharmacology, and medical terminology, and the program culminates in a practicum that provides real-world experience.

Most classes are available online through the Canvas learning management system, but some courses may have on-campus requirements. Students who apply for federal financial aid can also pursue scholarships through the Seminole State Foundation.

Students must submit an online application and transcripts to apply. Applicant should have already completed the appropriate prerequisite coursework for the core classes. Resources for online students include career counseling, advising, and online tutoring.

#22 Georgia Northwestern Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,800
  • Locations: Rome (GA) (and 3 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The online Certificate in Medical Coding from Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) is a technical certificate program designed to give students advanced training for entry into the field. The program requires 24 credit hours to graduate. The curriculum covers topics in medical billing, human disease, anatomy, document production, and the fundamentals of English.

Online classes are delivered through the Blackboard learning management platform. GNTC’s financial aid office can help with applying for scholarships and grants, some of which have Georgia residency requirements.

A high school diploma or a GED is not required to enroll but must be completed before graduating this certificate program. Students still need to submit high school transcripts (or the educational equivalent) and be at least 16 years old. The Accuplacer exam (or ACT or SAT scores) may also be required. Distance learners have access to several student resources, including 24/7 online tutoring, program advising, veteran educational services, disability accommodations, and additional support services for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

#23 (tie) Central Carolina Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,824
  • Locations: Sanford (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) offers online education options in health care coding: a Certificate in Medical Office Insurance Coding and Diploma in Advanced Medical Coding. In the certificate program, students learn the fundamentals of medical terminology, legal issues, billing, and coding while refining their critical research and writing skills. The program culminates in an internship. Diploma students take courses in medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology, and the three major medical coding systems. This program is designed to take part-time students five semesters to complete.

Online learning is facilitated through the Blackboard system. CCCC provides several scholarship options, including some for merit and others based on North Carolina residency.

Prospective students can take an online demo course before applying. Applicants must complete a residency determination form, complete an academic assessment, submit a completed application (with fee), submit official transcripts, and attend an orientation via phone or video-conferencing format. Once accepted, distance learners have access to an academic advisor for degree planning.

#23 (tie) Fayetteville Technical Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,824
  • Locations: Fayetteville (NC) (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) offers a fully online Certificate in Inpatient Medical Coding Specialist. The 18-credit program can be completed in two semesters. Students take courses in medical terminology, ICD and CPT coding, and reimbursement methods in a hospital setting. Graduates learn skills to prepare them for the CPC-H coding certification exam available to members of the American Academy of Professional Coders.

Online coursework is asynchronous and hosted on the Blackboard learning management platform. FTCC provides financial aid assistance for students applying for federal aid or institutional merit- or need-based scholarships. The school’s Career Development Center can help with job coaching and career planning or answer questions about pursuing further degrees.

To be considered for admission, students must submit transcripts showing a high school diploma or GED equivalent and complete an Accuplacer exam to determine academic readiness. Online students have access to the Student Learning Center, NetTutor services, and success coaches for broader help with school-life balance.

#23 (tie) Gaston College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,824
  • Locations: Dallas (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Gaston College offers a fully online Certificate in Medical Office Administration - Billing and Coding. The 16-credit certificate program equips students with skills in medical coding and terminology through courses in medical office terms, insurance and billing, legal issues in a medical office, and diagnostic and procedure coding. Graduates are prepared for entry-level careers in the healthcare field, and a certificate can serve as a step toward a recognized medical coding certification.

Online classes are hosted on the Blackboard learning management system. Coursework is asynchronous and students are responsible for completing their work independently and submitting assignments through Blackboard. Gaston provides scholarship opportunities, though awards may be limited for certificate students.

To apply, candidates must be 18 or older and have a high school diploma or GED. Students must complete an online application, submit transcripts, and take placement exams. Online students can work with an admissions specialist for help enrolling. Online students have access to virtual tutoring, technical support, and disability accessibility services.

#23 (tie) Guilford Technical Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,824
  • Locations: Jamestown (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) offers students an online Certificate in Medical Office Billing & Coding. This 18-credit course can be completed in three semesters. Students receive instruction in medical office terms, medical insurance and billing, procedure coding, diagnostic coding, and medical coding certification prep. GTCC also offers a 37-credit, online Diploma in Medical Office Administration - Medical Billing and Coding.

Students access their online courses through the Moodle learning management system. Classes may include both synchronous and asynchronous components, such as reading assignments, lectures, participation in discussion board conversations, quizzes, exams, and more. Military-affiliated students have access to the school's Veterans Resource Center to assist in using military education benefits. Students also have access to the Career Services office for help with career advising and planning. After graduation, students can join GTCC's alumni network.

Interested applicants can submit their applications and any required information online. Services available to online students are access to the Student Success Center, an online learning orientation, academic advising services, online library access, and more.

#23 (tie) Wayne Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,824
  • Locations: Goldsboro (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Wayne Community College (WCC) offers several online programs for students pursuing a career in medical coding. To earn a Diploma in Medical Office Administration — Medical Coding, students take courses on medical terminology, word processing, medical insurance and billing, diagnostic coding, and medical-legal issues over a three-semester period. Earning the Certificate in Medical Office Administration — Medical Insurance takes two semesters to complete and includes courses on medical-legal issues, medical insurance and billing, and procedural and diagnostic coding.

Most online courses are hosted on the Moodle learning management system, but faculty may also require students to use other programs. The courses in these programs prepare students for national coding exams and help them gain the skills to join one of the fastest-growing industries. The school offers a payment plan and several scholarships for in-state or veteran students. Students have access to Workforce Continuing Education classes through ed2go.

WCC accepts applications at any time. Once students are enrolled, they can access technical services, career services, and counseling.

Online Medical Billing & Coding Degree Overview & Career Information

Certificates take about one year to complete and include courses in popular coding systems, medical software, medical terminology, and insurance and reimbursement. Students learn how to translate medical diagnoses into codes that can be used for medical payments. The associate degree takes two years to complete and includes the courses required during the certificate program, as well as general education and healthcare administration courses. Graduates of these programs can become medical coders and health information technicians.

Medical coding and billing specialists gather and process patient information, including medical history, examination results, symptoms, diagnostic tests, treatment history, and more. Once they obtain this history, medical coders are then responsible for ensuring the accuracy and patient confidentiality of these files as they present them to healthcare providers or insurance agencies. The main responsibility of medical coders is to create claims that match diagnoses, treatments, and procedures with the corresponding numeric codes. This information is entered into a database and then sent off to an insurance carrier, where it will be approved or denied. If all of the documentation is accurate, the claim will be approved, and the healthcare provider will be reimbursed. In the case that the claim is denied, the medical coder assumes the additional responsibility of investigating why the claim was rejected and making any updates to the claim.

Online Certificates in Medical Billing & Coding

Medical billing and coding schools offer online certificate and diploma courses that explore the systems and programs used in medical billing and instruct students on the different fields and varieties of medical billing. Students interested in applying to a certificate program typically must have a high school diploma or GED. The school may request official transcripts and general college entrance exam scores as part of the application process. Most certificate programs can be completed in nine months to one year.

Medical billing and coding certificates include classes in clinical classification systems, coding practices, data security, computerized patient record systems, health data management, health services organization and delivery, healthcare confidentiality and privacy, information technology and systems, legal and ethical issues in healthcare, quality management procedures, reimbursement methodologies, risk management, statistical software, physician-based medical coding, hospital-based medical coding, medical billing and software, medical terminology, and physician-based chart auditing. Other courses in the program may include hospital case studies, classification of diseases, healthcare data quality and management, healthcare reimbursement, and healthcare information management and supervision. Professional experience is an essential component of the training required to become a medical billing and coding specialist. Depending on the program selected, some certificate completion requirements may include a practicum or internship to reinforce instruction.

Graduates from accredited medical billing and coding certificate programs will be prepared for entry-level positions as a medical billing clerk or specialist, a medical coder, or an insurance claims analyst at doctors' offices, clinics, or insurance companies. Some medical billers and coders choose to work as independent contractors and provide services from their home.

Educational Requirements for Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs

Medical coding & billing careers often appeal to those individuals who do not have the time, finances, or desire to pursue bachelor's degrees, as the requirements for admission to a certificate or associate degree program are minimal. Most programs require only a high school diploma or GED to be accepted. Basic keyboarding and word-processing skills, familiarity with technology, and a knack for details are also valuable skills for beginning medical coders. Students can complete their entire education online or at a community college, often on a part-time basis, in two years or less. Specialized professional schools often offer these degrees or training programs and can provide assistance to students who seek internship opportunities or career placement after graduation.

Medical coding & billing programs are characteristically hands-on and practical. Most associate degree programs will require core classes in mathematics, general sciences, and English. In contrast, online certificate programs tend to have a curriculum that is solely geared toward medical coding and billing. Students will take technology classes that help them learn to navigate electronic health record programs correctly. Some programs may also offer classes that deal in paper records, though this is far less common today. Medical billing and coding students develop a comprehensive understanding of healthcare informatics and health informatics applications.

Basic courses in anatomy and physiology provide medical billing and coding students with a solid introduction to the medical field and help familiarize them with many of the terms they'll eventually come to know very well. Among the most essential classes students will take are those related to medical terminology and billing. Once students learn the medical codes associated with various services and treatments, they may use software to determine how much a patient or insurance company should be billed. There are several coding systems that students must learn, including those used for cancer, ambulatory calls, or long-term patient care. Students learn how to utilize diverse technologies to capture, analyze, store, and retrieve medical data, and they must be able to work efficiently with these systems while also maintaining the confidentiality of their patients' records.

The Importance of an Accredited Online Medical Billing and Coding Program

The US Department of Education recognizes several private, nongovernmental accreditation agencies as having the authority to evaluate the academic merit of colleges and universities, including those that offer medical billing and coding programs. When researching online certificate and associate degree programs, prospective students should narrow down their options by selecting programs offered at accredited institutions. Accreditation signifies that a school meets high academic standards, maintains current research, and hires highly qualified instructors to teach its courses.

The Council on Higher Education Accreditation is a nationally recognized association of accrediting agencies, and their database of accredited colleges and universities is available on their website. The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools is also recognized by the USDE and specializes in accrediting schools whose primary focus is occupational or career-oriented diploma and degree programs. They, too, offer a database of accredited institutions.

Certification Requirements for Medical Billing and Coding Careers

Though certification isn't legally required for medical coders in most states, it is highly recommended. An official certification designation on your resume can increase your job prospects and show potential employers that you are committed to the profession. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) reports that, compared to noncertified coders, Certified Professional Coders (CPCs) earn an average of 20 percent more and have a greater chance of being hired.

AAPC offers three certifications for medical billing and coding specialists: Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Professional Coder - Hospital Outpatient (CPC-H), and Certified Professional Coder - Payer (CPC-P). Additional credentials are also available for medical billers and coders to demonstrate superior knowledge in specialized areas such as cardiology, dermatology, pediatrics, emergency department, and internal medicine billing and coding. The requirements to sit for the CPC exams include current AAPC membership, two years of experience working as a medical billing and coding specialist, and 36 hours of continuing education units every two years to maintain the certification. An associate degree is not required, but it is recommended.

The Board of Medical Specialty Coding and Compliance offers a certification for Specialty Coding Professionals (SCP) with at least two years of specialty coding experience and Advanced Coding Specialists (ACS) with at least three to five years of specialty coding experience. To maintain either of these certifications, specialists must complete 20 continuing education units each year.

The Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS) offers a Certified Basic Medical Coding Specialist (CBMCS) certification and specialty certification in many areas, such as pain management, podiatry, family practice, and obstetrics and gynecology. PAHCS does not require applicants to complete an academic program before they take the certification exam, but 24 continuing education units are required every two years to maintain certification.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) currently has two certification options, and each of them is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential is offered for coding professionals who have experience working in both hospital and physician offices, and applicants must have a high school diploma. The Certified Coding Specialist - Physician-based (CCS-P) credential is for coding professionals who have more experience specifically in outpatient clinics rather than hospitals. The CCS-P certification requires candidates to have either a prior credential, an in-depth coding education, two years of work experience, or a combination of one year of work experience and a prior certification. To maintain certification, AHIMA requires certificate holders to complete 20 continuing education units every two years.

Online Medical Transcription Degrees

Medical transcriptionists and medical billing and coding professionals both play an important role in the management of health information. While medical billing and coding professionals are responsible for assigning numerical codes to patient diagnoses, medical procedures, and other sensitive healthcare information for insurance and billing purposes, medical transcriptionists create written copies of audio recordings made by doctors and other medical professionals.

Online medical transcription degree programs teach students how to understand medical terminology, transcribe the results of medical tests, and work with voice recognition software. Programs are available at the certificate or associate degree level via community colleges and technical schools.

Online certificates in medical transcription are a solid training option for students who want to hit the job market as quickly as possible. These programs take approximately one year and prepare graduates for entry-level positions by training them in the transcription of a number of different types of medical records. Courses cover medical terminology, transcription formatting, and computer applications. Most programs require that students transcribe sample medical records from a variety of medical specialties so that graduates leave the certificate program with practical skills.

Two-year associate degrees in medical transcription cover the professionally oriented curriculum of the certificate as well as several general education classes. Associate programs introduce students to topics such as pharmacology for medical office professionals, word processing, medical terminology, business English, medical science, anatomy and physiology, and transcription methods. Online health information technician and medical transcription associate degrees often require an internship or professional practice experience in a medical office.

Medical transcription skills are often covered in health information technology (IT) associate degree programs, which discuss medical records management, medical billing, and medical coding, as well as transcription. Health IT professionals provide an array of administrative services in medical offices. These associate degree programs can be a good choice for those interested in coding who want a wider array of job opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Billing Coding Degrees

Which pays more, medical billing or medical coding?

As they are sometimes combined into one role, there is little pay difference between medical billing and medical coding. Salaries will depend more on location, employer, and level of education or work experience. Larger employers, such as health systems, large group practices, and hospitals pay more on average than private and small group practices. In 2019, medical billers and coders made the most money in California, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Can you get a medical coding job without a degree?

Yes. Most employers look for some formal education, such as a certificate or associate degree. It is possible to get a job without credentials, but it will likely be difficult. While a bachelor’s or master’s degree is not necessary for a job in the field, holding a degree will likely lead to higher wages.

Do medical billers work from home?

Medical billing and coding can be done from home, depending on your employer. Some organizations will hire contractors to work from home, while others may allow their full-time employees to work remotely.

Is medical billing and coding hard to learn?

Medical billing and coding may sound complex, but the most difficult aspect of it is the sheer number of codes you’ll be working with. Professionals in the industry work with thousands of codes across multiple changing code sets. Medical coders do not need to memorize these codes, as there are reference books and software available to ensure accuracy.

References

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