The healthcare industry’s lifeblood is paperwork. Everything hinges on filling out and filing accurate medical records and health information. That’s where Medical Billing and Coding come in. This article discusses:
- The best schools for medical billing and coding
- Medical coding training programs
- Coding certification programs
Medical Billing and Coding Explained
Patients need reimbursement from their insurance programs. So a medical billing and insurance coder assigns a code to each diagnosis and procedure. The bills may get sent to Medicare, Medicaid, or a private insurer. It all depends on the patient’s insurance.
Medical billing and coding associates use specific cutting-edge technology to do their job. They have to learn complex software. But it helps them to assign a diagnosis-related group (DRG) to the patient’s bill.
There are several hundred DRG codes. And they are all crucial for a medical billing associate to understand. That’s because they determine how much an insurance company will pay. Then, they can reimburse the hospital, doctor, medical office, lab, and other departments.
Medical coding plays a vital role in keeping the healthcare industry functioning. So we encourage students to attend high-quality accredited online medical coding schools. But we understand that many students already have hectic lives. So we have ranked the best online medical billing and coding schools with flexibility in mind. Often, students can work as medical billing and coding specialists right away. Even while still taking classes.
Our Methodology for Ranking the Top Medical Billing and Coding Programs
The final list of accredited online medical billing and coding schools offers school rankings based on the following criteria:
- 50% Flexibility of the Program;
- 25% Return on Investment (ROI), and;
- 25% Quality of the Education Provided
Top 15 Best Accredited Medical Billing and Coding Online Schools
15. Sullivan University
Sullivan University is a for-profit college founded in 1962. It’s located in Louisville, Kentucky. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In fact, it was the first one to gain accreditation through this organization. And they have they’ve maintained that accreditation since it was granted. Sullivan is one of the best online schools for medical billing and coding
This school is most well known for its culinary programs. In fact, one of the instructors beat Bobby Flay in Hot Browns in a 2008 Throwdown. However, they also have an excellent medical billing and coding certificate program. Students can take the program through the Sullivan University College of Allied Health.
Sullivan is one of the best online medical billing and coding schools on this list. The medical coding certification takes just 12 months if you go full time. And you can either take it online or at the school’s Louisa campus. Students at Sullivan will need to take ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS coding. That means that the program adheres to the strict standards set forth by the AHIMA. Students will also touch on subjects such as:
- Medical Records
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Terminology
- Health IT
- Information Literacy
Upon completion, you will be a certified professional medical coder. And you will be fully prepared to begin a career in medical coding.
Tuition Rate: $13,500
14. Trident Technical College
Trident Technical College is a two-year college based in South Carolina. The school currently has six different physical locations, all in the state of South Carolina. The school has programs in areas such as Aeronautical Studies, Business Technology, Nursing, and many more.
The medical billing and coding training program is fully online and asynchronous. That means you can go at your own pace. It is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. And it’s fully approved by the American Health Information Management Association.
The school offers two different medical billing and coding programs online:
- Coding for Healthcare Professionals
- Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
A medical coding program at TTC can be completed in as few as 12 months in an accelerated format. Part-time students will have up to three years to complete their coursework.
TTC has a final externships course. And virtual externships are available for distance learning students too. An externship prepares students for coding jobs in the real world. Completion of an online medical billing and medical coding program will provide students with a solid foundation in:
- Medical Records
- Medical Coding Procedures
- Medical Professional Etiquette
Students looking for the best online school for medical billing and coding should check out TTC for sure. Graduates will have all the tools needed for a successful career in medical coding.
Tuition Rate: $285 per credit hour
13. Herzing University
Another one of the best accredited online medical billing and coding schools is Herzig University. Herzing University is a nonprofit and career-oriented school that awards:
- Associate Degrees
- Bachelor’s Degrees
- Masters Degrees
Programs are offered in a variety of disciplines. The school was founded in 1965. Originally, it was a computer programming school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now, the Herzing school system is headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
The remote medical billing and coding training program at the school is an accredited certificate program. It’s offered through Herzing University’s School of Healthcare. It is completely online and asynchronous, so students can go at their own pace.
The program prepares students for all aspects of medical billing and coding. This includes:
- Understanding medical terminology
- Accurately entering patient information into a database
- Coding the proper procedures and diagnoses
- Sending information to the correct patients
- Being familiar with the patient’s insurance provider
- Knowing the names of various doctors and medical facilities
- Understanding legal and ethical issues
- Health Information Technology
Herzing University offers all the tools they will need to embark on a successful career path in medical billing and coding. This program is taught by Herzing University’s highly qualified faculty. Most of the instructors experienced healthcare professionals. The school is committed to providing students with a practical education. And this medical billing and coding training program is a good fit for many students. This makes it one of the top accredited online medical billing and coding schools we’ve found.
Tuition Rate: $345 per credit hour
12. Santa Barbara City College
Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is is a two-year community college in California. And it’s one of the best medical billing and coding schools on our list. It is nationally recognized for its quality in four areas:
- Facilitating underrepresented and minority student success
- Student learning outcomes
- Degree completion and transfer rates
- Labor market success in securing good jobs after college
Santa Barbara City College is one of the oldest community colleges in California. The college has a wide range of opportunities. They offer both associate degree programs and certificate programs. They also have a unique transfer-coding program. In this program, the first two years of study can go toward a bachelor’s coding degree.
The remote medical billing and coding certification program is fully online and asynchronous. It is an accredited certificate program. Students will gain a working knowledge of many different healthcare topics. A few of these include:
- Patient clinical record content (for both inpatient and outpatient)
- Physiological changes in the human body resulting from disease
- Common coding errors
- ICD and CPT/HCPCS diagnostic and procedural coding systems
- Medical records
- Basic pharmacological and medical terminology
- Legal aspects of healthcare, such as confidentiality requirements
- Health Information Technology
This medical billing and coding certificate program is an associate degree that provides a solid foundation. And students will be well equipped to pursue a career in medical billing and coding. And they will have the skills required to be successful in this dynamic career path.
Tuition Rate: $150 per credit hour
11. Keiser University
Keiser University is a private, nonprofit university located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The school has various satellite campuses around the world. best medical billing and coding online schools. And it is one of the best medical billing and coding online schools we found. The school has programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students can choose a:
- Traditional on-campus format
- Fully online asynchronous format
- Hybrid format (a blend of the two)
The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is also a member of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. In 2011, the university switched from a for-profit to a non-profit structure model.
The remote medical billing training program is a fully online, accredited certificate program. You can take the program in an asynchronous format. And they structure classes using a one-class-at-a-time approach. This works great for students with many responsibilities or who are trying to keep up with school and work at the same time.
The school’s staff and faculty foster an open and personalized student-centered learning community. They utilize state-of-the-art online classroom technology. And it is provided in a user-friendly format to enhance the distance learning process.
Students enrolled in this medical billing program associate degree will be treated as a member of the family. And they will get personalized and careful direction and assistance. This approach creates a warm and inviting educational environment. If you are looking for a friendly college, we found the best school for medical billing and coding is Keiser.
Tuition: $267 per credit hour
10. Florida A&M University
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is a public, historically black university in Florida. Florida A&M University was founded on October 3, 1887, and is one of the largest HBCUs in the United States. Additionally, it’s one of the best online colleges for medical billing and coding.
The school is part of the State University System of Florida. And they are one of the state’s land-grant universities. It is fully accredited to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Accreditation is from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Plus, they are also a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
The school’s remote medical billing and coding training program is a certification program. It is delivered in an asynchronous format. This allows students to complete their coursework on their own time. The program is very flexible. And it accommodates working professionals and students that have other responsibilities.
The medical billing and coding certificate program prepares students through modules. Each module consists of three courses and lasts no more than 15 weeks. The lessons learned in one course will help support lessons learned in later courses.
Students who finish the program will receive a Medical Coding Certificate of Completion. They may then choose to sit for the American Health Information Management Association exam. Or, they can take the American Academy of Professional Coders certification exam.
Tuition: $295 per credit hour
9. Drexel University
Drexel University is a private research university with campuses in Philadelphia and California. The school offers over 70 undergraduate programs. Plus they have more than 100 master’s, doctoral and professional programs. across the school’s four campuses. If you are looking for one of the best online medical coding schools in the nation, check out Drexel University.
Drexel is one of the best accredited online medical billing and coding schools in the U.S.
Drexel’s cooperative education program (co-op) is a unique aspect of its coding degree programs. The program offers students the opportunity to gain up to 18 months of paid, full-time work experience in a field relevant to their major. Thus, students graduate with real-world experience they can use right away.
The co-op method has seen much success. It has produced many people who have made a positive impact in their chosen industries. That’s why we chose it as one of our favorite online medical billing and coding
The remote medical billing and coding training program at Drexel is a fully online certification program. And naturally, it is accredited. This medical billing and coding certificate program is eligible for financial aid. That includes scholarships, grants, and student loans. It is offered in an asynchronous format. Drexel’s program focuses on the four most commonly used medical terminology coding manuals:
The program gives students all the information they need to get started in a medical billing career. Then, they can take the medical billing and coding national certification exams with confidence.
Tuition: $798 per credit hour
8. Central Maine Community College
Central Maine Community College is a community college that is located in Auburn, Maine. It is one of the seven colleges in the Maine Community College System. CMMC is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. And the school’s student-faculty ratio is roughly 18:1. This allows for smaller class sizes and more personalized education.
The online medical billing program offered through CMMC is an Associate in Applied Science degree program. It’s one of the top accredited online medical billing and coding schools in our travels. The Central Maine Community College billing and coding program was designed to:
- Prepare graduating students for entry-level positions in the field.
- Prepare students to pursue a bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding.
- Respond to the growing demand for skilled medical billing and coding specialists.
The school also offers a certificate in medical billing and coding that takes a year to complete. The coding program gives students a solid foundation in medical terminology, medical records, and medical coding practices. We’ve found CMMC to be one of the top online schools for medical billing and coding.
Tuition: $195 per credit hour
7. Cowley County Community College and Vocational-Technical School
Next is Cowley County Community College and Vocational-Technical School. It is also known as CCCC or CCCVTS. This two-year community college is located in Arkansas City, Kansas. The school operates locations in nearby Winfield, Mulvane, and downtown Wichita. It also hosts on-site courses at nine different area high schools during the evenings. Cowley College is accredited by the NCA’s Higher Learning Commission.
The medical coding training program at CCCS is offered online. It is an asynchronous program. The remote medical billing and coding programs are available in two formats:
Two-year associate degree in medical billing and coding
One-year medical billing and coding certificate program.
Both coding programs are taught by a professor with more than three decades of experience. They are even available to help students with career-finding services after the coding program. This makes it one of the best accredited online schools for medical billing and coding
During the coding program, some of the courses that will be offered each semester include:
- Medical Terminology
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
- Coding Reimbursement
- International Classification of Disease (ICD) Coding
- Electronic Health Records
- Healthcare Coding Practicum
- Health Information Technology
Tuition: $112 per credit hour
6. Cosumnes River College
Cosumnes River College is a two-year community college located in Sacramento. The school opened in 1970, taking its name from the Cosumnes River which flows just a few miles to the South. The school is one of the best online medical coding and billing schools on our list.
CRC has two medical coding programs available for students to choose from. Both online medical coding training programs are accredited. And they are offered in a totally asynchronous format:
- An online Associate in Applied Science medical billing and coding degree program. This one takes two years to complete.
- An online medical coding and billing certificate program. This takes just one year to complete.
Students at CRC have a chance to participate in Directed Practice courses. These are completed as laboratory experiences at various approved health care facilities. These courses will provide students with hands-on experience in a real-world setting. This can prove to be an invaluable asset to them. Especially when they start looking for a career in medical billing and coding.
Tuition: $335 per credit hour
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5. Northwest Technical College
Northwest Technical College is a technical college located in Bemidji, Minnesota. The school is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.
NTCMN is the fifth-largest higher education system in the United States. And over 400,000 students attend each year. They offer on-campus, hybrid and online programs.
The remote medical coding training program at Northwest Technical College is a fully accredited coding program. And it is available in an asynchronous format. Northwest Technical College offers two medical coding training online programs:
- A two-year associate degree in medical coding
- A one-year certification program for medical coding
The certification can also be applied toward some requirements for the two-year associate degree coding program. That way, if students decide they would like to pursue this degree at a later date, they can. Both programs prepare students to be highly-trained specialists. They will be prepared in the coordination of day-to-day medical office functions. And they will also know how to process sensitive medical information.
Tuition: $249 per credit hour
4. Davenport University
Davenport University is a private, non-profit university with 11 locations in Michigan. The school offers Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s Degrees. Plus, they have various diplomas and post-graduation professional certification programs in several fields. These include business, technology, health professional sciences, and graduate studies.
The online medical coding training program is offered through the College of Health Professions. It is a fully online and asynchronous program. Accreditation comes from CAHIIM. This stands for Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. This accreditation is necessary for the AHIMA Professional Certification Exam.
The medical coding training program at Davenport provides students with a flexible education. Students enrolled in this program will also take part in a dynamic virtual lab. The lab gives students a solid hands-on learning experience. Plus, it utilizes state-of-the-art hardware and software. Upon completion, students will have a strong understanding of:
- Medical terminology
- Coding and billing information for patient reimbursement
- Electronic health records
- Standards and regulations around complex health information
- Managing medical records and health care information
- Health Informatics
Tuition: $241 per credit hour
3. Weber State University
Weber State University is a public university located in Ogden, Utah. The school is a non-profit public university. WSU offers students a wide selection of professional, liberal arts, and technical certifications. Plus, they have associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.
Weber State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The medical coding training program is through the College of Health Professions. Students enrolled in this certification program will learn:
- Coding schemes for outpatient and inpatient services
- Diagnosis coding
- Ambulatory and physician coding
- Pharmacology and general medical terminology
This is a 10-course medical coding and medical billing certification program. It qualifies students for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam when they finish. Because of the program’s high quality, students have a high chance of passing the CCA exam on their first try.
You don’t need any work experience or college for this certification program. So it’s a great choice for newly graduated high school students. It’s also perfect for those who have obtained a GED.
Tuition: $230 per credit hour
2. University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati is a comprehensive public research university located in Cincinnati. The school is a part of the University System of Ohio. It is one of the 50 largest universities located in the United States. Many UC programs have excellent school rankings by sources around the US. But it is both nationally and internationally recognized
The online medical coding training program offered is through the University of Cincinnati’s UC Blue Ash College. It is a fully online and accredited program available in an asynchronous format. This program is highly flexible. It accommodates working professionals and new graduates equally. With UCs remote format, you can complete your studies and still work on your career.
Students in the program will earn a certificate in medical billing. This prepares students them to sit for the Certified Professional Coder Exam. You can finish the program in as little as a year. UC Blue Ash College offers many benefits. The classrooms are smaller, and there is a great teacher/student ratio. The school also has a 95% pass rate for those students who have taken the CPC exam.
Tuition: $251 per credit hour
1. Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
Indiana University–Purdue University is a public research school with over 200 programs. The campus sits upon a peninsula next to Downtown Indianapolis. It is the third-largest university located in Indiana by enrollment.
The remote medical coding certification program is a fully online and accredited program. It is available in a completely asynchronous format. There are two accrediting bodies for IUPUI:
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education
Students enrolled in this program can qualify for financial aid programs and scholarships. The program prepares students to sit for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam. Credits earned in the medical coding certificate program are quite valuable. Students can apply them toward a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management. This bachelor’s degree program is also offered through IUPUI.
We have chosen IUPUI as our top pick for the best remote medical coding training program. Reasons for this include:
- The school has a dedicated and extremely qualified faculty
- The program is highly flexible
- The education is dynamic and rigorous
- The program offers an excellent ROI
Tuition Rate: $399 per credit hour
More About Online Medical Billing and Coding Schools
What Is Medical Billing and Coding?
Medical billing and coding involve first identifying a clinical diagnosis. Then, you would use a corresponding code for insurance and billing purposes. Of course, it’s a bit more involved than this. It also involves identifying the tests, procedures, and treatments a patient has. These, too, have a corresponding code.
It’s all part of what is called “the medical reimbursement cycle. This system makes sure your doctor and other healthcare providers get paid. Those payments can come from insurance companies, government agencies, or patients.
What Does a Medical Biller and Coder Do?
Medical billers and coders are considered part of the healthcare profession. And they are in charge of processing the information needed, so providers get paid. The day to day duties of medical coding and billing specialist include:
- Managing insurance claims
- Sending invoices
- Processing payments
- Properly coding diagnoses
- Coding procedures, treatments, and other services
- Following up on outstanding bills
- Correcting insurance claims that get rejected
Medical coders and billers need to have a solid grasp of the health insurance industry. This includes understanding health insurance and the whole claims process. A medical practice depends significantly on its skilled billing and coding specialists. That’s because these workers ensure that money keeps flowing into the practice.
Most medical coders and billers work in an office, although some work at home. They are usually on the computer most of the workday. This is where they review, enter, and edit the coding information. Generally, they don’t come in contact with many patients. Instead, they are in separate areas in healthcare facilities like:
- Doctors offices
- Dentists offices
- Nursing homes
- Retirement homes
- Diagnostic facilities
- Rehabilitation facilities
Are Medical Billing and Medical Coding the Same Thing?
Medical billers and coders are not exactly the same. They are actually two different positions. Many companies will hire one or the other, and some businesses will employ both. The jobs are similar and are just as demanding. But they can also be interchangeable.
For example, if you have been trained as a medical coder, you can transition into a billing job and vice-versa. So what’s the difference between a medical coder and a medical biller?
Medical coders have an interesting job. They change medical diagnoses and procedures into codes that a computer will understand. These codes are the same the world over. And they are maintained by the World Health Organization. They are:
- CPT: Current Procedure Terminology
- ICD-10-CM: International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinically Modified
- ICD-10-PCS International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Procedural Coding System
- HCPCS Level II: Health Care Procedural Coding System, Level II
- CDT: Code on Dental Procedures
The main task for a medical coder is to assign the proper codes for each diagnosis and procedure. That doesn’t sound so hard, right? But it can actually get pretty complicated. Many patients have more than one diagnosis. And in some situations (like in a hospital), they may have dozens of procedures. It takes a lot of patience and skill to do this job accurately.
First, the medical coder does their job. Then, the medical biller uses the assigned codes to charge for the services. Each code corresponds with a dollar amount. This will be the amount billed to the insurance company, so it needs to be 100 percent accurate. At this point, the biller will post payments to the account. If the claim is denied, the medical biller is the person who negotiates back and forth.
Can a Person Do Both Jobs?
Yes. Students learn how to do both jobs in an online coding or billing program. This is because some small offices hire one person for both roles. And larger organizations often hire billers and coders separately. So knowing both roles is essential.
How Do I Get Accepted to a Medical Billing and Coding School?
Every college, trade school, or university will have different admission requirements. Therefore, it may be easier to get accepted into specific programs.
We’ll go over some general requirements below. However, prospective students should look at the individual school’s requirements right away. Do your research even before you start applying to online medical coding programs. That way, you can eliminate schools where you are less likely to be accepted. And you can concentrate on the ones where you have the best chance.
Getting Into an Online School for Medical Administrative Billing
The admission requirements dont just vary between different schools. They can differ from program to program too. We’ll look at some basic requirements for most programs below. This is not a definitive list. And not all schools will be the same. But it will give you an idea of what you might expect.
Certificate in Medical Billing & Coding
Certificate programs for coding professionals and medical billers are the least time-consuming program. Certificates are fast. And you could begin working as a certified professional coder within a year. These programs often take 12 months or less. Then you can take your national coding certification exam.
To get in, you’ll need your high school diploma or GED. In some cases, you may need a GPA of at least 2.0. In addition, you may need to have good ACT or SAT scores. You will also need to fill out an application. Although, some online schools let you start immediately with no application.
Medical Billing & Coding Associate Degree
If you prefer to pursue a degree program, you can apply for an associate’s degree. A two-year associate degree is all you need to work as medical billing specialist right away too. In addition, you’ll get a more in-depth education by going for an associate degree.
Entry Requirements for an Associate Degree
You’ll need to be at least 18 and have your GED or High School Diploma to get in. In addition, you’ll probably need to submit your SAT or ACT exam scores. And often, a GPA of 2.0 to 2.5 is required.
Once you have all your test scores together, you can start applying. You’ll probably need other documentation like transcripts. Or you might need to prove you are a U.S. resident. You might be invited to an admissions interview if the school requires it.
If the school offers you an enrollment counselor, you should happily agree. Having your own enrollment counselor can help streamline the process. This person will assist you during the application and enrollment process. Many online schools have enrollment counselors. They are probably the best option if you need assistance with admission. That’s because they know all the ins and outs of the college and its programs.
Can Online Students Apply for Financial Aid?
Absolutely. In most cases, online students can apply for federal financial aid like any other student. As an in-state student, you will usually pay less. But some colleges are now charging in-state rates to online students.
In addition to financial aid, you check out potential scholarship and grant opportunities. There are many scholarships specifically for online students. Online education programs like an associate’s degree are no different.
Keep in mind that online students also have extra financial advantages. They don’t need to pay for housing, meals, transportation, and other incidentals.
What Classes Do You Take In Medical Billing and Coding Programs?
Most of the courses coding students will take are pretty straightforward. Of course, you may start with core courses if you need to brush up on academics like math or English. But in general, you can expect these or similar courses:
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Billing and Health Insurance
- Medical Office Procedures
- Medical Contracts, Ethics, and HIPAA
- Basic Coding Using ICD-9 and ICD-10
- Intermediate Medical Coding
- Coding for Hospital Applications/Hospital Medical Billing
- Coding for Medical Office Applications/Physician Medical Billing
- Advanced Medical Coding
Medical Billing and Coding Salaries
This final section may be the most important for most people. How much can you make in the medical coding and billing field? We consulted a few sources for this information. In some cases, your earnings as a medical coding specialist will depend on where you live. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:
|Source||Average Range in the U.S.Medical Billing and Coding Professionals||Average annual income across all popular roles in the Medical Billing and Coding Field|
|Salary.com||$35,415 to $120,803||$78,109|
|AAPC||$47,200 to $60,097||$54,797|
|Allied Health||$28,800 to $73,370||$44,090|
|Payscale||$30,000 to $64,000||$44,946|
|Glassdoor||$45,000 to $96,000||$64,851|
As you can see, salaries can vary according to several factors. These include location, experience, and role. For example, person A works as a medical billing and coding supervisor in Los Angeles. Person B works at a small dentist’s office in Northern Michigan. Who will make more? The California supervisor, of course. This should demonstrate that there is plenty of room to grow in this field. You can check salaries in your area by going to one of the sites above.