Medical billing and coding provides flexible training and employment opportunities to meet a variety of needs. Busy adults will appreciate the 24/7 access to classes and support services provided by an online associate in medical billing and coding program. In essence, medical billers and coders are responsible for classifying patient data and other medical documentation using a system of codes. These systems work as the language between medical practitioners and insurers. The billing arm of the field revolves around properly submitting claims to said insurers. Both processes are a vital part of ensuring that patients are properly charged, hospitals are properly paid, and that insurers remain compliant and accountable.
While billers and coders can hold distinct positions, especially within larger health systems, it is common for students of the field to receive an education in both and then, assuming they are properly prepared, to test to be certified in both arms. In the U.S., the major organization running certification exams is the often through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
According to a staffing agency that pairs medical billers and coders with jobs, people who hold an associate degree in the field enjoy the greatest choice between full-time, part-time, contract or remote employment. While having a degree is not necessarily required to test and become a certified biller and coder, in many ways, receiving a degree and a proper education is the advantage you need to impress employers and beat out applicants for a great billing or coding position. Furthermore, a number of programs culminate in a certification exam, meaning students graduate fully prepared to apply to any billing and coding position.
Below, we’ve ranked the top online A.A.S. in Medical Billing and Coding programs in the U.S.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
Frontier Community College
Fairfield, IL 62837
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.
Renton Technical College
|Renton||3000 NE Fourth St|
Renton, WA 98056-4123
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.
St Philip's College
|San Antonio||1801 Martin Luther King Dr|
San Antonio, TX 78203-2098
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.
Olney Central College
|Olney||305 N West Street|
Olney, IL 62450
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.
Central Maine Community College
|Auburn||1250 Turner Street|
Auburn, ME 04210-6498
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.
Entering the Field
Medical billing and coding requires extreme attention to detail and familiarity with proper medical terminology. To get your foot in the door after graduation, the American Health Information Management Association recommends exploring a variety of positions, including audit specialist, billing coordinator, coder and compliance manager. Individuals searching for their first job can also explore positions in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, insurance companies and home health agencies.
Salaries are on the rise for Certified Medical Coders, according to AAPC’s 2014 salary survey. While entry-level employees make approximately $35,000 per year, individuals with 21-25 years experience earn more than $63,000 per year, and those with more than 31 years’ experience make nearly $69,000 per year.
Unemployment in the industry is also declining, with strong job placement rates for entry-level employees. In 2014, again as reported by the AAPC salary survey, less than 10% of apprentices were unemployed. The industry-wide unemployment rate for CPCs was only 1.4%.