Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs

Coding and billing represent two separate roles, but the professionals who fill these jobs work closely together. When a patient receives service from a healthcare provider, these specialists code and prepare an invoice, or claim, which is then sent to the patient’s insurance company. Coders translate healthcare providers’ services into numeric codes, and billers use the code to create claims.

The field is expected to grow considerably through 2024, meaning that billers and coders will remain in high demand. Professionals who succeed in these roles are detail-driven and have the people skills needed to communicate with patients on a daily basis. Medical billing and coding specialists keep the healthcare industry running smoothly with skills learned through medical billing and coding online programs.


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Degrees

Online Medical Billing and Coding Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $18,732 18.13% 2 years $28,600 $34,100 1.7%
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Medical billing and coding roles typically require an associate degree, which can be earned in two years through online medical billing and coding programs. Graduates who complete medical billing and coding programs online face very low unemployment rates and can expect an average salary of $28,600.

Online Medical Billing and Coding Degrees

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Online Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding

While not all the roles in this field require an associate degree, it can give professionals a competitive edge and accelerate their career advancement. A two-year associate degree earned through online medical billing and coding programs cost approximately $18,732, and job prospects for degree holders are strong.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Anatomy, Terminology and Healthcare Payers, Introduction to Healthcare Computer Information Systems, and The Healthcare Claims Cycle

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Associate of Science in Medical Billing and Coding, Associate of Science in Health Sciences: Medical Office and Billing Specialist, and Associate of Science in Health Sciences: Medical Administrative Assistant

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Health Information Coder, Clinical Lab Technician, and Medical Billing Specialist

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    $28,600

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    15% increase from 2014-2024

Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs
For the 2016 rankings, OnlineColleges.net has greatly refined its approach to evaluating schools and their respective programs. Our innovative method of assessing schools is what makes our rankings so distinctly authoritative. On the surface, every ranking we produce employs a basic formula: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. This final score determines where a school ends up in our rankings. Of course, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about our process.

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Medical Billing and Coding Associate’s Degree Rankings

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Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1

Frontier Community College

Fairfield$$$$$Frontier Drive
Fairfield, IL 62837
(618) 393-2982

The Medical Office Assistant program at Frontier Community College is designed to prepare medical office assistants, medical receptionists, medical transcriptionists and other personnel to meet the needs of medical offices across the country.

The 68-credit program to obtain a medical billing and coding degree online is designed to be finished in four semesters. Beginning and intermediate courses can be waived and replaced by elective courses.

The program is delivered completely online, with the exception of a course in "Fundamentals of Effective Speaking," which requires several visits to the college and a medical office internship, which students complete in their final semester at a Frontier approved facility.

Support services for students taking online classes include online and telephone support, including a technical help desk, student counselors, research librarians and online and physical textbook support, which will either pair students with downloadable books or help them purchase and receive their course texts.

2

Renton Technical College

Renton$$$$$3000 NE Fourth St
Renton, WA 98056-4123
(425) 235-2352

Students who complete the A.A.S. in Medical Coding Specialist program at Renton Technical College will develop the skills to translate written descriptions of conditions, diseases, injuries and procedures into a universal language.

The medical billing and coding degree online program can be completed entirely online, with the exception of a medical coding internship. Students can obtain an Associate of Applied Science Degree or Certificate of Completion. The degree is 8 quarters and 119 credits. Students without computer, English or math experience may take longer than 8 quarters to complete the program. The Certificate of Completion is 6 quarters and 104 credits.

Online classes are completed using Canvas, which is also the Renton Technical College gradebook. Support services include a bookstore and free online tutoring.

3

St Philip's College

San Antonio$$$$$1801 Martin Luther King Dr
San Antonio, TX 78203-2098
(210) 486-2000

The Health Information Technology program at St. Philip’s College is offered 100% online. Students who complete the program will be prepared to enter, review and release health data and records in healthcare related businesses.

The 60-credit program to obtain an associate degree in medical billing and coding online is designed to be completed in six semesters. Before enrolling in more than six credit hours, working students must obtain approval from a faculty advisor.

The college uses Instructure Canvas for online classes. Support services include an online library, online tutoring, online training in a variety of computer programs and free or discounted computers and internet service for students who qualify.

4

Olney Central College

Olney$$$$$305 N West Street
Olney, IL 62450
(618) 393-2982

After completing the Medical Office Assistant program at Olney Central College, students will be prepared to meet the needs of medical offices nationwide. The associate degree in medical billing and coding online is designed to be finished in four semesters. Although students must complete 68 credits, beginning and intermediate courses can be waived and replaced by electives.

The medical billing and coding degree online program can be completed online, except for Fundamentals of Effective Speaking, which requires several visits to the college. Students are also required to complete a medical office internship in their final semester.

For students taking online classes, Olney Central College offers a variety of support services that can be accessed online or by phone. Support services include bookstores, libraries, student support and a technical help desk.

5

Central Maine Community College

Auburn$$$$$1250 Turner Street
Auburn, ME 04210-6498
(207) 755-5100

Students who obtain an associate degree in medical billing and coding online in Medical Coding and Electronic Health Records at Central Maine Community College will be prepared to obtain an entry-level job as a medical coding professional. The four semester program is 62-64 credits. The program is 100% online, with the exception of BIO 101 and BIO 102, which are required.

Depending on the course and style of the instructor, online classes use a variety of tools, including chat, discussion boards, email, multimedia technology, and web pages. Central Maine Community College also provides an online learning orientation via a series of videos on Vimeo.

Online Medical Billing and Coding Choose Your Career

Average Medical Billing and Coding Salaries

$29,960
$62,300
$35,900
$49,310

Medical Assistant

Salary: $29,960
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
23% 591,300 Certificate None

Medical assistants typically work in a clinic and help physicians by filing patient information in medical recordkeeping systems. They may also collect samples of bodily fluids or tissue for lab testing, prepare physician tools and equipment, and check patient vitals. Medical assistants should be detail-oriented and should feel comfortable working with patients.

Health Insurance Adjuster

Salary: $62,300
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
3% 315,300 High School Diploma or Equivalent License required in some states

Health insurance adjusters process medical claims while identifying fraudulent claims and inaccuracies on bills. They negotiate bills, gather additional information from patients and doctors, and authorize payments by insurance companies. Adjusters must be highly organized and possess strong communication skills.

Health Information Coder

Salary: $35,900
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
15% 188,600 Associates Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist Certification

Health information coders translate patient medical reports into numeric or alphanumeric codes, making the data easier to process for invoicing. Professionals should be familiar with the three main coding systems studied in medical billing and coding programs, including CPT, ICD, and HCPCS. Successful coders will be able to process large amounts of information quickly without sacrificing accuracy, and computer skills are a must.

Clinical Lab Technician

Salary: $49,310
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
16% 328,200 Associates None

Clinical lab technicians analyze bodily fluids and tissue to diagnose medical conditions. They most often work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and diagnostic laboratories. Clinic lab technicians must be comfortable handling sophisticated equipment and working with limited supervision. Since technicians don’t work directly with patients, people skills are less important for this role. For this career path, earning a higher degree generally equates to higher pay.

Online Medical Billing and Coding Professional Requirements

While certification is not required, it can greatly maximize job prospects for those who complete their medical billing and coding programs online. Not only are certified graduates of medical billing and coding online programs more likely to find employment, but they typically earn around 20% more than their noncertified counterparts.

Medical Coding Certification

Individuals can choose between several different coding certifications. The Certified Professional Coder (CPC) is the most common, and shows proficiency in coding and billing claims in a physician’s office. The Certified Outpatient Coding certification (COC) validates proficiency in coding and billing in outpatient hospitals or facilities. The Certified Inpatient Coder certification (CIC) covers coding and billing claims in inpatient hospitals and facilities, and the Certified Risk Adjuster certification (CRC) shows proficiency in applying diagnosis codes in risk adjustment payment models. The Certified Professional Coder – Payer certification (CPC-P) validates proficiency in coding and billing for health plans, Medicare, Medicaid, and other payer environments. Other specialty coding credentials exist to demonstrate advanced expertise in specific disciplines.

Is it required?

Strongly recommended

How long will it take?

4 months or less (though it varies per individual)

Medical Billing Certification

The primary medical billing certification available for grads who complete medical billing and coding programs online is the Certified Professional Biller (CPB) credential. A biller who earns this certification has demonstrated proficiency in all aspects of the revenue cycle, including various insurance plans, coverage determinations, coding guidelines, and the rules that govern the healthcare industry.

Is it required?

Strongly recommended

How long will it take?

4 months or less

Medical Auditing Certification

The primary medical auditing certification is the Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA) credential. Auditors who graduate from medical billing and coding online programs earn this certification by demonstrating expertise in medical documentation; coding concepts; medical record auditing skills and abstraction quality; quality assurance and coding risk analysis; and communication of results and findings.

Is it required?

Strongly recommended

How long will it take?

3 months or less

Medical Compliance Certification

The primary medical compliance certification is the Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO) credential. Professionals who earn this certification demonstrate expertise in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, laws surrounding health care fraud and abuse, self-disclosure protocols, and common risk areas such as conflicts of interest.

Is it required?

Strongly recommended

How long will it take?

3 months or less

Practice Manager Certification

The primary practice manager certification is the Certified Physician Practice Manager (CPPM) credential. Practice managers who complete online medical billing and coding programs can earn this certification by demonstrating expertise in HR management, insurance plan differences, medical office accounting and the revenue cycle, and corporate compliance measures.

Is it required?

Strongly recommended

How long will it take?

3 months or less