Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools + Career Information – 2020
Medical billing and coding specialists are an integral part of the healthcare system that assist with record keeping and information management. Right now, the healthcare industry is expanding, and this means that you can enjoy a starting salary that is nearly double the current minimum wage. With a faster than average rate of growth for this career projected over the next ten years, the time to start studying is now. We have provided you with the 5 best medical billing and coding programs in the nation so that you can get started on working toward this essential healthcare information career.
What Education is Required to Become a Medical Biller and Coder?
The majority of medical biller and coder positions require you to obtain a postsecondary education. This can be done through a certificate program that teaches you the essential skills that you need, and these are often offered online or through a technical school. You can also choose to get an associate degree to be eligible to work as a medical biller and coder. A bachelor’s or master’s degree is not required for an entry-level position, but some people pursue one if they aspire to achieve a management position.
A certificate program that provides medical billing and coding training costs about $2,520 on the lower end of the spectrum, but it can cost as much as $29,390 at some educational facilities. An associate degree is slightly more. You will need to plan for your education to cost anywhere between $6,440 and $50,680 for this degree.
| Type|| Cost|
| Certificate / Diploma||$2,520 - $29,390|
|Associate Degree||$6,440 - $50,680|
One of the reasons why people get into this career is that the training is relatively short compared to other parts of the healthcare field. Technical schools and colleges often offer fast-paced certificate programs that could have you done with your studies in as few as six months. If you prefer to complete an associate degree, this will usually take about two years.
| Type|| Length|
| Certificate / Diploma||6 – 18 Months|
|Associate Degree||2 Years|
Can I Pursue This Program Online?
Medical billing and coding schools do sometimes offer these programs online. Many of the duties that you perform as a medical biller and coder rely heavily on your ability to work on a computer with healthcare information technology such as billing software. Taking your classes online has the advantage of helping you get used to working with these forms of technology and performing tasks such as inputting data into electronic records. You can also take your courses on a traditional campus. There, you have the opportunity to network with other people who are studying to be medical billers and coders.
Schools that offer training for prospective medical billers and coders require you to comply with their admissions requirements. You should always begin your search for a school by asking about what they require for admission. For most schools, you will need the following.
• GED or high school diploma
• Passing scores on admissions tests
As with many healthcare careers, the curriculum to become a medical biller and coder includes courses such as anatomy and physiology, biology and medical terminology to help you understand some of the information that you come across in your position. You will also take courses that pertain specifically to the job duties. For example, you will learn how to classify and code systems that break down medical procedures into codes that are used for recordkeeping and billing. You will also learn how to comply with the standards that are in place for healthcare data, and you will study the proper methods to use for healthcare reimbursement.
What are the 5 Best Medical Billing and Coding Programs in the Nation for 2020?
If you aspire to become a medical biller and coder, then the six-course online Certificate program being offered here at Drexel University should be a good choice. The college, with its main campus located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is well-known for its quality healthcare training. You can complete this program well within a year, depending on the number of courses you can take per quarter. Upon successful completion of the program, you can take the national certification exams and become a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist or a Certified Professional Coder.
• The program is fully online and can be completed at your own pace and convenience.
• As this is an online program, you can avail the special tuition rates being offered by the college.
• Graduates of the program are currently employed at various hospitals, nursing homes, doctor clinics, and insurance companies.
Keiser University, through its online division at its Fort Lauderdale campus, is offering an Associate of Science degree in Medical Administrative Billing & Coding. This 60-credit hour program includes 24 credits of general education courses, 20 credits of medical administrative billing & coding common core courses, and 16 credits of medical administrative billing & coding courses. Subject areas covered in your curriculum include anatomy & physiology, medical terminology, insurance procedures, pharmacology, computerized medical office management, CPT-4/HCPCS Coding, and Basic ICD-10 Coding.
• By the end of this course, you will become a competent coder and be able to fully execute clerical and administrative functions in a medical setting.
• Graduates of this program are well trained to take the Certified Professional Coder exam administered by AAPC.
Ivy Tech Community College offers a 100% online certificate program in medical billing and coding. The program ensures you are ready with the skills and knowledge to take up this challenging job. The curriculum covers various areas of billing and coding such as medical terminology, healthcare law, health insurance terminology, pharmacology for coders, CPT and HCPCS Level II Coding and Survey of Hospital Billing.
• This is an open enrollment program, so you can start whenever you are ready.
• The program is 100% online and can be paced as per your convenience.
• This program also prepares you to take national certification exams such as the Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam, Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam, and the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam.
Gallatin College Montana State University at its campus in Bozeman, MT is offering a Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) in health information coding. This is a short, two-semester course which can be completed within 32 weeks. Upon graduation, you will gain knowledge and skills to code and work in a variety of healthcare establishments such as hospitals, physician clinics, home health care companies, and insurance companies.
• The coursework touches important subjects such as legal and regulatory aspects of healthcare, advanced medical coding, professional practice experience in coding and professional communication.
• The curriculum has been designed to ensure students are well-prepared to take the certification exam administered by American Health Information Management Associations (AHIMA)
The online Medical Billing and Coding education at San Joaquin Valley College offers an opportunity for you to take up administrative jobs in the healthcare field. Here you have the option of either pursuing the 7-month certificate or the 15-month associate degree program. Both programs will train you in areas such as medical insurance and claims management, diagnostic and procedural medical coding (CPT/HCPCS), anatomy, medical terminology, and medical office skills. Post-completion of this program, you can take the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) examination.
• You can pursue this online program from the convenience of your home; all you need is a computer with a high-speed internet connection.
Certification and Licensure Requirements to Work as a Medical Biller and Coder
The majority of states do not require you to be licensed or certified to work as a medical biller or coder. However, most employers do require certification, and earning yours demonstrates professionalism in a career that demands knowledge and expertise. Most certifications are issued through either schools that offer medical billing and coding courses or through professional organizations. For example, AAPC
offers a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential that is widely recognized in the healthcare industry. To earn this certification, you must have already completed your medical billing and coding certificate or degree. Then, you will need to take and pass a 150-question proctored exam.
Other organizations offer you the opportunity to get certified for billing and coding separately. For instance, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), offers an exam to become certified as a Certified Coding Specialist
. To be eligible for this certification, you must meet requirements such as having two years of experience along with the completion of courses such as anatomy and physiology during your training.
Where Do Medical Billers and Coders Work?
Hospitals; State, Local, and Private:
Medical billers and coders primarily work in hospitals where they assist with record keeping and other administrative duties.
Offices of Physicians
: Physicians need people in their offices to help input data and communicate with insurance companies and patients regarding bill reimbursements.
Administrative and Support Services:
As a medical biller and coder, you may also work in industries that provide support to healthcare companies such as by keeping medical records updated.
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services:
During your training, you will learn how to compile and report data that is pertinent to companies in these fields.
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities):
Skilled nursing facilities also need medical billers and coders to assist with recordkeeping and billing processes.
| Industry || Employment |
| Number|| Percent|
|Hospitals; State, Local, and Private||75,114||36%|
|Offices of Physicians||39,644||19%|
|Administrative and Support Services||16,692||8%|
|Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||14,606||7%|
|Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities) ||12,519||6%|
Work Environment & Conditions
Your work environment as a medical biller and coder will depend upon the industry in which you work. Since many medical biller and coder duties can be done from a computer, you may be able to work from home some or all of the time. You can also find work in a traditional office setting. Depending upon the company culture, you may dress in traditional professional clothing, or you may need to wear scrubs if you are visible in a clinical setting. Medical biller and coders who work in a hospital or nursing facility may work overnight hours and on the weekends. Since you will spend many hours sitting at a desk and working on a computer, you will need to take precautions to avoid common office injuries such as neck and back strain.
What Starting Salary Can I Expect as a Medical Biller and Coder?
A medical biller and coder salary usually starts at around $14.09. This is higher than the federal minimum wage, and a monthly salary of $2,440 is enough to live well in most communities. Your annual salary will begin at around $29,310, and you may find that it is higher during periods when you need to work overtime.
| Type|| Salary|
| Hourly||$14.09 |
| Monthly||$2,440 |
| Annual||$29,310 |
| (Source: In-House Research)|
How Much Will My Salary Grow with Experience?
As with most healthcare professions, experience is always rewarded with salary increases over time. Within five years of experience, you can move from making around $32,070 to $40,350. This is a a significant increase. By the time that you have been doing your duties for 20 years, you should be looking at making approximately $66,260.
| Level of Experience|| Hourly|| Monthly|| Annual|
| 1-4 years||$15.42 ||$2,670 ||$32,070 |
| 5-9 years||$19.40 ||$3,360 ||$40,350 |
| 10-19 years||$25.35 ||$4,390 ||$52,730 |
| 20 years or more||$31.86 ||$5,520 ||$66,260 |
| (Source: BLS)|
How Many Job Openings are there for Medical Billing and Coding Graduates?
| New|| Replacement|| Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)|
| (Source: careeronestop)|
10 Year Employment Outlook
The next ten years show tremendous growth for medical billing and coding positions. The current forecast of a 13.48 percent growth rate in the field means that you will be able to find work in a variety of different environments. The reasons for the positive outlook are similar to those that have increased the need for qualified employees throughout the healthcare industry. Right now, more medical facilities are being built and opened to meet the needs of expanding communities. Each of these facilities need staff to perform essential duties. Medical billers and coders are also needed to keep up with how insurance companies, physicians and patients interact through electronic means today. You will also find growth for these positions in the science and research fields since medical coding is involved in data collection.
| Employment || Employment Growth, 2016-26 |
| 2016|| 2026|| Number|| Percent|
State Wise Employment, Job Openings & Salary Breakdown
| State|| Employment|| Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)|| Annual Average Salary|
| Alabama|| 2,830|| 200|| $36,470|
| Alaska|| 690|| 40|| $50,250|
| Arizona|| 6,400|| 610|| $40,800|
| Arkansas|| 1,860|| 150|| $34,610|
| California|| 21,970|| 1,700|| $51,880|
| Colorado|| 3,070|| 250|| $49,340|
| Connecticut|| 1,800|| 130|| $51,400|
| Delaware|| 560|| 30|| $45,390|
| District of Columbia|| 470|| 40|| $53,430|
| Florida|| 13,750|| 940|| $41,340|
| Georgia|| 6,010|| 450|| $39,080|
| Hawaii|| 660|| 50|| $50,940|
| Idaho|| 1,040|| 90|| $39,400|
| Illinois|| 8,250|| 530|| $45,800|
| Indiana|| 4,290|| 310|| $42,350|
| Iowa|| 2,640|| 150|| $41,190|
| Kansas|| 2,390|| 150|| $39,070|
| Kentucky|| 3,550|| 340|| $38,130|
| Louisiana|| 2,820|| 210|| $37,430|
| Maine|| 1,070|| 100|| $39,030|
| Maryland|| 4,220|| 300|| $50,460|
| Massachusetts|| 5,750|| 410|| $50,740|
| Michigan|| 6,050|| 430|| $41,100|
| Minnesota|| 4,160|| 300|| $50,060|
| Mississippi|| 2,210|| 140|| $35,300|
| Missouri|| 5,110|| 390|| $42,460|
| Montana|| 1,020|| 80|| $39,500|
| Nebraska|| 1,570|| 140|| $40,430|
| Nevada|| 1,560|| 130|| $43,100|
| New Hampshire|| 840|| 70|| $43,120|
| New Jersey|| 2,640|| 140|| $54,020|
| New Mexico|| 1,410|| 110|| $38,520|
| New York|| 10,180|| 840|| $47,420|
| North Carolina|| 5,400|| 440|| $39,740|
| North Dakota|| 700|| 80|| $43,380|
| Ohio|| 9,710|| 720|| $43,980|
| Oklahoma|| 3,340|| 310|| $38,140|
| Oregon|| 2,910|| 260|| $48,390|
| Pennsylvania|| 8,780|| 570|| $41,320|
| Rhode Island|| 700|| 40|| $47,990|
| South Carolina|| 2,950|| 220|| $41,040|
| South Dakota|| 1,040|| 80|| $40,170|
| Tennessee|| 4,350|| 480|| $43,050|
| Texas|| 17,210|| 1,510|| $41,950|
| Utah|| 2,000|| 170|| $42,150|
| Vermont|| 630|| 40|| $42,480|
| Virginia|| 4,720|| 400|| $43,590|
| Washington|| 4,980|| 400|| $46,160|
| West Virginia|| 1,640|| 120|| $39,430|
| Wisconsin|| 4,430|| 350|| $41,810|
| Wyoming|| 350|| 30|| $42,090|
|(Source: BLS & careeronestop)|
Important Organizations & Associations
As a member of this organization, you can get ongoing training and seek certification. With a large membership count, you can also network with other members of the billing and coding industry.
This organization offers certification opportunities for medical billers and coders. Members can also watch webinars and learn more about how to comply with the standards in place for the healthcare information field.
The AHIMA offers certification and recertification opportunities. They also welcome student members with information about how to plan their career, and there is a wealth of up-to-date information on their website to help you stay current on the latest news about the health information industry.
HIMSS is a globally-based organization that strives to increase the care outcomes for patients through the healthcare information industry. Members actively participate in helping to achieve this goal through having access to news and training opportunities that increase professionalism.
After you complete your education, this association offers multiple types of certifications that you can obtain as you begin your career and to enhance your professional development as you gain experience.
The MAB offers the Certified Medical Billing Specialist credential. Members of this organization can also receive pertinent information from medical journals that help them to stay in compliance with the latest standards for care.
The association offers members free webinars, newsletters and training. They also host a national conference every year where you can network and learn more about your field.