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|
|1||Davenport University||Grand Rapids||$$$$$||6191 Kraft Avenue S.E.|
Grand Rapids, MI 49512-9396
As one of the top medical billing and coding schools in the nation, Davenport University focuses on providing its students with the skills to meet the demands of today's industries while anticipating those needed for the future. Part of DU's mission is to maintain a 21st century approach to education, which is why it offers 390 courses and 50 full degrees online, including a health information technology AAS degree that provides access to state-of-the-art technology from the American Health Information Management Association’s Virtual Lab. Granting online degrees since 1999, DU is a leader in eLearning and has established several options for students looking for an online and on-campus blend. In many available programs, including the school's medical billing and coding certification, students enjoy the ability to start their studies in-person at any one of the available 14 campuses across the state of Michigan. This allows students to enjoy the level of on-campus experience they desire.
|2||Northwest Technical College||Bemidji||$$$$$||905 Grant Avenue SE|
Bemidji, MN 56601-4907
For over 50 years, Northwest Technical College has been providing the employers and industry of the state of Minnesota with highly trained graduates in several different fields. To meet the needs of regional and global employers and students, NTC has partnered with Distance Minnesota to provide a number of online degrees, diplomas and courses, including medical billing and coding online. One of the school's missions is to match all programs with high-demand careers which is why each NTC degree prepares graduates for a variety of professional settings, including the school's medical billing and coding certification, which utilizes nationally recognized coding systems to ensure that each student has the necessary transferrable skills for a diverse health care field. To ease the transition from in-person studies to eLearning, NTC also offers students a free online orientation workshop to familiarize themselves with the eLearning system prior to starting their course.
|3||Cowley County Community College||Arkansas City||$$$$$||125 S 2nd St|
Arkansas City, KS 67005
Since 1922, Cowley County Community College has been committed to providing student-centered education while embracing communication and engagement with the surrounding community. With over 80 programs available at the main campus in Arkansas City, Kansas, including 70 online programs, Cowley College is accessible for students across the country and the world. In addition to the increased flexibility online classes offer, eLearning students are just as prepared for their desired careers as in-person students. Students who choose the medical coding AAS degree online, for example, are eligible to sit for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credentials, just as students who hail from in-person medical billing and coding schools. To ensure that students in the medical billing and coding online program have the necessary support, Cowley College provides one-on-one access to instructors and mandatory Blackboard orientation, making its online courses convenient and empowering.
|4||Community Care College||Tulsa||$$$$$||4242 South Sheridan|
Tulsa, OK 74145
Community Care College in Tulsa, Oklahoma is a non-profit private educational institution that strives to meet the career demands of both the present and the future. In addition to courses taken at its 66,000 square foot facility, CCC also offers online studies, including its medical billing and coding online program, which is available 100% online. Benefiting from carefully crafted course curricula that teaches the latest industry methods and standards, CCC students become graduates with up-to-date knowledge, making them ideal candidates for the evolving demands of their professions. For a competitive advantage over students from other medical billing and coding schools, CCC students are trained in ICD-10, the medical classification system used in medical facilities today. All graduates of the institution also receive career assistance from a dedicated career services team, assistance that helps identify ideal career options and assists in putting together an application to secure the prospective position.
|5||Northland Community & Technical College||Thief River Falls||$$$$$||1101 Hwy One East|
Thief River Falls, MN 56701
Northland Community & Technical College has provided education and career training for students in some fashion since 1949. With four campuses across the state of Minnesota and 10 overarching fields of study, NCTC offers something for anyone anywhere. To accommodate prospective students who require online studies, such as an online medical billing and coding school, NCTC also offers 18 online programs. Through eLearning, students are provided with nationally recognized training in a program that works around their individual schedules. Like the online courses at NCTC, students are trained to be flexible and well-rounded in their fields, such as in the medical coding specialist program which prepares students to work with a variety of medical insurance programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE. In addition to the eLearning experience, NCTC also offers a variety of clubs and organizations that students can join, including groups that focus on specific programs, clubs for like-minded individuals, and organizations for academic achievements.
|6||Central Texas College||Killeen||$$$$$||6200 West Central Texas Expressway|
Killeen, TX 76549-4199
Operating a total of six campuses around the world, including its Central and Service Area Campus (just outside of Fort Hood, Texas), its Fort Hood Campus in Fort Hood, Texas, its Continental Campus (made up of 25 military installations around the United States), its Navy Campus in San Diego, its Pacific Far East Campus, and its European Campus, Central Texas College has a true global reach. To bolster its influence even more, CTC also established a significant online education system that offers 30 eLearning degrees to students around the world, including a medical billing and coding online program which trains students in the latest terminology and coding standards in the medical field. As part of its institutional purpose, CTC vows to provide the necessary support and resources to all students, including those taking online courses. To accomplish this, the school provides full technical support to online students, anytime of day and any day of the year.
|7||Highland Community College||Highland||$$$$$||606 W Main|
Highland, KS 66035-4165
Serving a 230-mile area of Northeast Kansas with six locations, Highland Community College's mission is to provide students with lifelong learning opportunities and to enrich the surrounding community. With over 150 years of history, HCC offers associate degrees in 50 academic disciplines, 15 technical education degrees, nine online degree programs, and several certificates, including a medical billing and coding certification. While there are minimum technical requirements that must be met in order to pursue online learning at HCC, as there is in all online medical billing and coding schools, many programs, like the Medical Coding AAS degree and certificate program at HCC, provides computer literacy courses as part of its core curriculum to help ensure that online students are not hindered by the technological aptitude requirements of eLearning. By providing these computer skills, HCC also gives its students transferrable and universal skills that are necessary to succeed in any competitive market.
|8||Central Maine Community College||Auburn||$$$$$||1250 Turner Street|
Auburn, ME 04210-6498
Outside the twin cities of Auburn and Lewiston on the shores of Lake Auburn, Central Maine Community College offers students a range of degree programs, courses, and certifications both on-campus and online. In addition to its main campus next to Lake Auburn, CMCC also has courses available at partner institutions in Franklin, Lincoln and Oxford Counties. While CMCC gives students the option to take a variety of classes online, currently, the school's medical coding and electronic health records degree is its only program available 100% online. Students in the medical billing and coding online program have access to e-Racer, a web-based delivery system that provides 24/7 access to all coursework. Graduates of this program will not only be prepared to enter the workforce in a variety of medical settings, but they will also have access to additional medical billing and coding certifications and upper division coursework from other postsecondary medical programs.
|9||Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical||Winona||$$$$$||1250 Homer Rd|
Winona, MN 55987
Set apart by 60 miles along the Mississippi River, the two campuses of Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical provide students in the Minnesota area with state-of-the-art technology and equipment. Additionally, with a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately 15:1, MSC Southeast manages to provide students with something many medical billing and coding schools struggle to provide: an individualized and interactive education. Both campuses were recently remodeled giving them a fresh look and feel for on-campus students, but the school also offers more than 20 programs that are fully online, including its medical billing and coding certification and program, for students who are studying out-of-state or need a flexible schooling schedule. Every one of the online programs offered by MSC Southeast, including the Medical Coding Specialist AAS degree, is asynchronous, meaning students can access coursework anytime, but, as with in-person classes, there are still deadlines that must be met.
|10||Cosumnes River College||Sacramento||$$$$$||8401 Center Parkway|
Sacramento, CA 95823-5799
Set in Southwestern Sacramento, Consumnes River College is one of four colleges in the Los Rios Community College District. CRC is an open-access community college dedicated to empowering its students and community by offering 176 degrees and certificates over 50 program areas. To best serve its prospective students from its surrounding community and beyond, CRC also offers online programs, including some, like the Health Information Technology programs, which are completely online. As one of the leading medical billing and coding schools in the United States, CRC's Health Information Technology AAS degree enables graduates to take the national AHIMA exam, which is required to become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). For students without a computer or Internet access, CRC opens a computer lab where students can complete their online assignments. While reinforcing the community by granting access to a well-rounded education, CRC also strives to preserve the environment for the future by promoting green initiatives on campus and within its students.
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%.