Also known as health information technicians, medical billing and coding professionals play a vital role in the healthcare industry. Modern medical care involves a complex billing and coding system used to organize patient records for insurance purposes. Billing and coding professionals are trained to navigate this classification system; they translate patient diagnoses and medical histories into the appropriate clinical codes required to process insurance claims. Some billers and coders work at hospitals and outpatient care centers, while others are employed by insurance companies and coverage providers (known as "payers").
Aspiring professionals and specialists in this field often begin their careers with an associate program in medical billing and coding, health information management, or another related field. Many students choose to obtain their associate degree in medical billing and coding online, following the same rigorous curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Many online associate programs follow an asynchronous (self-paced) format, ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare responsibilities, and other commitments that may interfere with campus-based classes.
Learn more in this comprehensive guide about what you can do with an online associate degree, diploma, or certificate in medical billing and coding, and what kind of career opportunities you can expect after graduation.
What Degree Do You Need for Medical Billing and Coding?
Most medical billing and coding programs do not require students to hold a degree to apply, but many require them to a high school diploma or GED.
Can You Get A Degree in Medical Billing and Coding Online?
Many medical billing and coding programs are available completely online, usually as associate degree or diploma programs.
How Much Does a Medical Billing and Coding Degree Cost?
Tuition for medical billing and coding online programs varies between schools. For more precise information, students should contact their prospective schools.
Is a Medical Billing Degree Worth It?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects positions in this field (and their earning potential) to increase by 2026.
Can You Receive Medical Coding Certification Without a Degree?
Yes, accredited certificate and diploma programs online prepare students for medical billing and coding positions. Students who want to earn a degree should enroll in an associate program from one of many accredited medical billing and coding schools.
Choosing a Program
Will an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program Provide Me With the Skills I Need to Advance My Career?
Medical billing and coding programs online provide a thorough introduction to all essential tools and practices used in the industry. Curricula for these programs cover subjects like healthcare data laws and ethics, medical statistics, billing and reimbursement procedures for healthcare services, pharmacology, and various coding and classification systems used for patient records. Other areas of study include human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and pharmacology.
Will an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program Work With My Schedule?
Online medical billing and coding programs offer flexible alternatives to traditional, classroom-based education. Students have access to course lectures and readings, and can participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors on their own schedule.
What Jobs Can I Get as a Medical Billing and Coding Graduate?
The BLS notes that many medical billing and coding careers accept candidates with their high school diploma or equivalent, so those with an associate degree should compete well in this job market. Professional certifications in this sector include the registered health information technician (RHIT) and certified tumor registrar (CTR) credentials; these personnel are only required to earn a license in certain states, but employers may require their employees to obtain certification regardless of state-specific laws and regulations.
Accredited Online Medical Billing and Coding Associate Degree Programs
|1||Ultimate Medical Academy-Clearwater Clearwater, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Established in 1994 as a nonprofit institution, UMA offers a variety of accessible academic programs that prepare students for entry-level positions in the field of healthcare. The school's temperate location along Florida’s west coast offers students in the Tampa Bay Area the opportunity to pursue their professional goals from their own backyard. UMA offers a variety of distance learning programs that are ideal for working professionals. The school offers a 63-credit medical billing and coding online associate degree that emphasizes practical training in areas such as the coding of diseases and medical procedures, claims processing, and navigation of healthcare computer systems.
Graduates have the knowledge and skills needed to work in a variety of medical administrative capacities. Students learn how to efficiently schedule patient appointments, update patient records, and operatie coding software for insurance purposes. The curriculum includes 39 credits of major coursework, 15 credits of general studies courses, and nine credits focusing on professional development. Core courses integrate training in diagnostic and procedural coding, medical terminology, and software applications. These courses prepare students to sit for the Certified Professional Coder exam. Students learn about ethical records management and gain skills in interpersonal communication specific to healthcare settings. This program can be completed in less than two years of full-time study.
More than 90% of employers who hired an UMA graduate reported that they would continue to seek employees trained by this college. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be considered. UMA is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
|2||Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Located on the southern tip of Florida less than 30 miles from Miami, Keiser is one of the state's largest institutions of higher education. The school was established in 1977 to serve the needs of working professions seeking a career-focused education. Today, Keiser offers degrees in more than 100 disciplines, including an associate of science degree in medical administrative billing and coding. This program’s online format emphasizes student/faculty interactions with students engaging in discussion posts, recorded and live lectures, and document sharing. Online students have access to the university’s electronic database that includes more than 80 resources, e-books, and online videos.
This 60-credit online medical billing and coding degree familiarizes students with medical classification systems used in healthcare settings to code diagnoses and procedures for patient record management and billing. In addition to preparing students for the Certified Professional Coder exam, the program teaches students the skills needed to conduct general clerical duties in a medical facility. Students must complete 20 credits of core courses that include topics in anatomy and physiology, medical law and ethics, and insurance procedures. The program’s coding courses provide up-to-date training using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision as well as the current procedural terminology used by the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System.
Applicants to this accredited online medical billing and coding program must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be considered. They must also meet one of the following minimum requirements: ACT score of 17, SAT score of 910, ASVAB score of 50, or a passing score on the university’s entrance exam. Keiser is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|3||Community Care College Tulsa, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
CCC is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and offers degree programs that emphasize vocational preparation. The school began offering distance learning programs in 1995 and today is a subsidiary of the nonprofit organization and charity Community Higher Ed. CCC offers programs on a variety of topics ranging from business management to medical coding training online.
This medical and billing program allows students to earn either a degree or diploma. The diploma is a shorter program and full-time students can earn their degree in under two years. Graduates with this degree have higher earnings potential, learn enhanced critical thinking and communication skills, and increased preparedness for managerials positions at organizations such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Oklahoma Medical Billing.
The curriculum includes courses in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and software applications in healthcare settings. Students also learn how to access electronic records, input patient data, and process information for insurance claims and reimbursement purposes. The program incorporates coding standards set forth by the World Health Organization, and students gain familiarity with the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision. Knowledge of this classification system prepares students for careers in hospitals, mental health and wellness clinics, and insurance companies.
Many of CCC's academic programs feature weekly start dates allowing students to begin their degree throughout the year. Applicants connect with an admissions representative who provides personalized assistance throughout the enrollment process. CCC is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
|4||Renton Technical College Renton, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
Located in Renton, Washington, RTC offers several distance learning programs that are ideal for both full-time students and working professionals, including single parents, veterans, and first-generation students. Students interested in medical coding certification online programs can earn an associate of applied science degree or a coding specialist program. Students in both tracks acquire the skills needed to pursue employment in hospitals, clinics, and nonprofit agencies. Graduates typically pursue positions such as inpatient coder, medical records technician, and processing clerk.
Students learn about the standardized coding of diseases and procedures, as well as how to promote positive work atmospheres by employing effective communication strategies and ethical behavior. This associate degree includes 110 credits of coding and general education courses. Students gain foundational knowledge in psychology, communication, and business mathematics, and enroll in courses in medical terminology, pathology, and anatomy and physiology.
Contemporary healthcare settings increasingly rely on accurately-coded electronic health records to coordinate care and communicate with insurance companies. As a result, this program teaches students how to use software applications like Microsoft Excel and computer-assisted coding programs, which are commonly used throughout the industry.
This online medical billing and coding program offers three start dates in the spring, summer, or fall semester. Applicants must meet one of the following three eligibility requirements: taking the Accuplacer test; passing a coding placement exam; or possessing a CPC, CCS-P, or RHIA credential. RTC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on College and Universities.
|5||Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls, SD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
STI has served the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, area for nearly 50 years, offering a variety of academic programs that can be completed in two years or less. The school offers a hybrid degree in professional and facility medical coding with a curriculum that includes medical billing and coding online courses and seven courses that require weekly on-campus attendance.
This 67-credit program begins with introductory coursework in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and basic procedural coding. As students progress through the program, they complete courses in intermediate and advanced coding, professional ethics, and insurance billing. Near the end of the program, students engage in a virtual practicum that offers additional training in an experiential learning environment. Beyond the core coding coursework, students must complete general education courses in workplace communication, psychology at work, and social problems. These foundational courses equip students with interpersonal skills needed to succeed in careers in the healthcare industry.
Graduates from this accredited online medical billing and coding school can leverage their professional training and knowledge of coding systems to pursue careers with outpatient facilities, private clinics, and insurance companies. STI prepares graduates to become certified professional coders or inpatient coders through the American Academy of Professional Coders. The curriculum is approved by the American Health Information Management Association, and graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Coding Specialist examination.
Applicants must provide ACT or ACCUPLACER exam scores to be considered. Eligible applicants have a minimum composite ACT score of 15. Nearly half of STI's students apply transfer credits toward their degree. The school accepts credits earned with a "C" grade or better from regionally accredited schools. STI is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|6||Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Located in Bemidji, Minnesota, Northwest Technical College was created to provide vocational training that prepared high school graduates for entry-level positions in the changing workforce. Initially offering two training programs in automotive mechanics and carpentry, Northwest Technical College now features more than 30 areas of study, with several programs available in an online format.
The school’s medical billing and coding online AAS degree prepares its students for professional roles that facilitate optimal system functioning in healthcare reimbursement, interprofessional collaboration, and accuracy of electronic records. Northwest Technical College’s coding program receives funding from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, which helps reduce tuition prices and other attendance costs for female Minnesota residents.
The 60-credit program takes about two years to complete and features introductory coursework in general psychology, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology. A two-credit course in medical terminology familiarizes students with language and abbreviations used in the healthcare industry. Students gain knowledge of pronunciation, spelling, and analysis of body systems. Advanced coursework in medical coding prepares students for coding careers in office and outpatient settings using the ICD-10 procedure coding system and current procedural terminology.
In addition to the program’s online courses offered in conjunction with Distance Minnesota, students of this online medical billing and coding program complete an internship that includes a personalized training plan unique to the student's career goals. The internship provides students with the opportunity to apply their coding training in a healthcare environment and gives them the chance to enhance interpersonal and communication skills in a professional setting.
|7||Central Texas College Killeen, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 13%||
Central Texas College offers an associate of applied science degree in medical coding. Online students may take these courses entirely online or hybrid of both online and in-person in the classroom. As part of their course sequence, enrolled students complete a practicum in the field in which they learn the process of coding medical records in hospitals and physician offices. In addition to the AAS, graduates prepare to pursue a variety of medical certifications.
CTC instructors utilize the Blackboard Learning Management System to deliver online courses and establish contact between students, their instructors, and fellow students. Courses may have on-campus requirements for which online students must appear in-person. CTC limits this component to 15% of the instruction time per class. In-person requirements may include orientation, lab work, and exams. Alternatively, some online courses in this accredited online medical and billing program are self-paced, wherein students must meet loose deadlines for completing and submitting assignments, and will not have on-campus obligations.
Students must complete a total of 60 credit hours to graduate, which they can expect to complete over the course of two years (or four full-time semesters). Each semester, the curriculum is balanced with degree-specific and general education courses. The online medical billing and coding degree program at CTC also offers an on-campus “evenings and weekends” course selection, allowing for yet more student scheduling flexibility -- a particularly attractive aspect for students interested in taking a hybrid of both online and on-campus courses.
To help students defray the cost of their education, all online learners pay $225 per credit hour. The Central Texas Foundation provides approximately 200 students with financial awards each year. These scholarships are both merit- and need-based. Incoming and continuing students must apply for this assistance online via AcademicWorks.
|8||Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Located in Thief River Falls in northwestern, Minnesota, this technical college serves its students by providing efficient routes to careers. The school offers a variety of completely online programs, including medical billing and coding.
This 60-credit degree familiarizes students with standard coding procedures used in numerous healthcare settings. Full-time students can complete their degree in four semesters. Graduates have the ability to navigate healthcare applications, analyze medical terminology used in coding, and code medical diagnoses and procedures using standardized practices. Topics covered in this program include ICD coding, medical coding ethics, and inpatient billing.
This program’s online format complements the many technologically-driven tasks performed by coding specialists, and online learners improve their computer skills throughout the program through continued exposure and formal instruction. The curriculum features courses in computer technology and electronic health records, in which students learn how to efficiently operate software. Other computer related subjects include database management, word processing, and spreadsheets.
The program emphasizes professional development, and students engage in coursework that promotes culturally competent oral and written communication in technical and interpersonal settings. Graduates acquire employment with hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies. Students acquire the knowledge needed to pursue careers working for dental offices, public health services, and nursing homes. Interested students complete an Accuplacer Assessment to determine their plan of study.
|9||Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
With approximately 7,500 students and more than 150 years of higher education experience, Davenport University is no stranger to the diverse needs of its students. The university facilitates academic success through the implementation of its unparalleled excellence system. This system emphasizes several learning outcomes that guide the curriculum development of the school’s academic programs. Students attending Davenport University receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for a lifetime of success. The university’s global campus features a variety of online programs delivered in an asynchronous format, including a health and information technology AAS degree.
Comprised of 69 credits, this degree takes five semesters to complete when enrolled full-time. Graduates are qualified to sit for the registered health information technician exam, a credential that has the potential to expand employment opportunities into management positions.
The curriculum includes 12 credits of foundation coursework for healthcare professionals. Course topics include medical terminology, healthcare law and ethics, and applied information technology. Students acquire knowledge of healthcare management with a focus on strategic planning and organizational development. Equipped with leadership skills, knowledge of human resources, and exposure to case studies, students emerge from the program ready for professional roles in numerous healthcare settings. Graduates can find careers with law and consulting firms, managed care organizations, and private medical practices.
In addition to foundational training, online students complete 28 major credits that emphasize skills acquisition in the following areas: ICD coding, procedural CPT/HCPCS coding, and applied statistics. Major coursework prepares students for the certified coding associate certification exam.
|10||Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 17%||
GTCC has served North Carolina's Piedmont Triad region for more than 60 years. The college’s eDegree programs feature fully online coursework, allowing students to pursue their degree while also continuing to work full-time. GTCC offers one of the most user-friendly medical coding programs online, which can be completed in less than two years of full-time study.
The medical office administration AAS in medical billing and coding attracts students from numerous backgrounds. This 67-credit program teaches students the skills needed to pursue careers in a variety of healthcare settings, including dental offices and medical supply companies. The curriculum includes courses on medical office terminology, procedure coding, and office finance solutions.
GTCC participates in several federally and state-funded financial aid programs, including the federal pell grant, the North Carolina education lottery scholarship, and the North Carolina community college grant. Approximately half of all GTCC students continue to work full-time while earning their degree.
Distance learners must participate in a required online readiness workshop before enrolling in courses. Applicants must also submit an online application, a high school diploma or GED transcripts, and college entrance exam scores to be considered. Students who graduated from high school within the last five years with a GPA of 2.6 or better are not required to take an entrance exam. GTCC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|11||Metropolitan Community College Area Omaha, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 13%||
Located in Omaha, Nebraska, MCC offers a wide variety of academic programs that facilitate professional growth by equipping students with sought-after skills in leading-edge industries including legal studies, health sciences, and information technology. The school offers several programs and courses online. Online courses can be completed asynchronously online, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. Courses are delivered through Blackboard, and students must attend a mandatory orientation to Blackboard designed to familiarize them with the platform.
The AAS in health information management systems degree with a concentration in coding and billing prepares students for careers as coding specialists. This two-year program emphasizes a liberal arts foundation that incorporating the social sciences, communication, and business strategies. The curriculum includes 49 credits that focus on health information management systems. There is also introductory coursework in medical law and ethics, anatomy and physiology, and coding and billing that provide students will the knowledge needed to pursue entry-level roles in physicians offices, insurance agencies, and hospitals.
Beyond major coursework, students must also complete 29 credits of concentration-specific courses that familiarize them with coding and billing procedures. These courses cover topics like disease processes, fundamentals of pharmacology, and two advanced courses in coding and billing. The program also includes a certified professional coder exam preparation course that features a review of knowledge and skills acquired during the program. Students enrolled in this course strengthen their understanding of standardized coding methods and procedures for coding in hospital and outpatient settings. Upon completing the course, students may sit for the certified professional coder exam. MCC is one of a handful of medical billing and coding schools online that offers an internship.
|12||Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 28%||
Located in Arkansas City, Kansas, Cowley Community College offers a two-year college experience that began in a high school basement nearly 100 years ago. The school established a stand-alone campus in 1950. With the fundamental goal of empowering citizens through knowledge, this school’s more than 600 online courses include topics in human services, allied health, and a variety of medical coding classes online.
Prospective students interested in careers as medical coders have the option of earning their medical coding AAS degree or medical coding certification online. Online courses are delivered primarily asynchronously through the Blackboard learning management system. Both programs feature open enrollment, allowing new students to embark on their degree throughout the year.
The 65-credit AAS degree includes general education and technical requirements, while the 35-credit vocational certificate consists of technical requirements. Students who plan on earning their bachelor’s degree benefit from the associate program, which allows them to transfer into a four-year program with junior standing. Both programs equip students with the skills needed for entry-level medical coding positions. Graduates qualify for the certified professional coder examination.
The AAS degree provides students with foundational training in general psychology, healthcare finance, and interpersonal communications. Introductory courses in leadership and public health prepare students for advanced training in pharmacology, pathophysiology, and medical terminology. Both programs include coursework in current procedural terminology coding and standard ICD coding. Students conclude their AAS or certificate program with a healthcare coding practicum.
|13||Highland Community College Highland, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Highland Community College achieves its mission to promote professional growth and economic stimulation in northeastern Kansas and communities around the world by offering associate degrees and certificate programs in a variety of fields. Since its establishment as the state’s first college, Highland Community College has grown into an intellectual hub of activity with more 30 locations and several fully online degrees. The school prepares students for entry-level positions in 50 areas and provides them with a solid foundation that can be applied towards a four-year program.
Highland has one of the leading medical billing and coding schools online. The online medical coding associate of applied science equips students with a well-rounded education comprised of liberal arts and major requirements. The 64-credit curriculum includes coursework in insurance and health information compliance, reimbursement methodologies, and healthcare computer applications. Students engage in a healthcare coding practicum toward the end of their program and have the option of choosing a practicum site within a healthcare setting that fits their career interests. Learners can earn their degree in two years. Graduates are prepared to sit for the certified coding associate exam.
Eligible applicants have a high school diploma or GED. Student who have taken the ACT or SAT may submit scores, although these college entrance exams are not required for admittance. Students without ACT or SAT scores take placement tests prior to enrollment to determine their placement in courses such as English composition and rhetoric. Transfer students may apply up to 47 credits toward their degree, and a minimum of 16 credits must be completed through Highland.
|14||Central Maine Community College Auburn, ME||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Located in Auburn, Central Maine Community College features an academic experience rooted in the institutional values of integrity and professionalism. The college’s student-centered approach emphasizes the unique cultural, academic, and personal interests that impact a student’s success. Students have the opportunity to earn their degree remotely by enrolling in one of the school’s flexible online programs. Central Maine currently offers four fully online degrees, including a medical billing and coding online AAS degree.
Central Maine Community College’s medical coding and electronic health records program prepares students for careers in traditional healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and outpatient surgery facilities. Graduates have the option of pursuing careers with computer software firms, consulting agencies, and insurance companies.
Comprised of 62-63 credits, this AAS degree includes introductory coursework in biology, medical terminology, and college writing. Students also acquire basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology, business communications, and health information technology. During the final two semesters of this four-semester program, online students engage in major coursework that familiarizes them with standard coding practices and professional conduct of coding specialists. In addition to coding coursework, the program exposes students to topics in workplace psychology and principles of supervision in business environments. Graduates of this program often go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a health-related area.
This college also offers a medical coding certificate program that takes one year to complete. Both programs qualify students for medical coding certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders.
|15||Cosumnes River College Sacramento, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 25%||
CRC is known for its commitment to having a diverse student body and facilities that offer extensive training opportunities. The school is a member of Sacramento's Los Rios Community College District and has served the Sacramento area since it opened its doors in 1970 to approximately 2,000 students. Today, the college serves more than 14,500 students and offers degrees and certificate programs across 50 fields of study, including an online medical billing and coding program.
Students must complete prerequisite coursework in medical language, pharmacology, and introductory anatomy and physiology before pursuing their AS degree in health information technology. Applicants must submit a pre-enrollment form documenting the completion of these prerequisite courses. The program strongly encourages that applicants have a familiarity with word processing and how to send and retrieve electronic documents. Upon acceptance, students enroll in a series of courses that introduce them to health information technology in hospital and related healthcare settings. Students learn about regulation policies, documentation procedures, and legal issues in the healthcare industry. As students progress through the program, they complete advanced coursework in industry standard coding principles and gain familiarity with several mechanisms of information management, including data sets, classification, and coding.
CRC is one of the top online medical billing and coding schools to promote continuous quality improvement in the healthcare industry. The program emphasizes processes of healthcare improvement with an emphasis on the importance of utilization review. Although no campus visits are currently required, students must complete directed practice courses at an approved healthcare facility in their local area. Directed practice courses take place during the final two semesters of the four-semester program.
Accredited Online Diploma Programs
|1||Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
The online medical and billing program at Minnesota West Community and Technical College is part of a slate of 40 different online programs that aim to provide the same quality and hands-on attention afforded by on-campus courses. The 34-credit program prepares students for employment in hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies as a medical billing specialist. The program is 34 credits and includes courses like advanced coding, pharmacology, and disease condition. Students should be familiar with word processing software, spreadsheets, and databases before enrolling, but if they don’t, program courses such as “Introduction to Microcomputers” will quickly get them up to speed.
Designated a “Military Friendly School,” particularly for mobile military students, it’s dedicated to making the online experience user friendly. For anyone considering an online education, the school offers the free, non-credit course “intro to online learning,” to help potential students try out the platform before enrolling in classes. Once enrolled, help is available to online students in multiple ways, including an “Ask a Question” forum, live chat, and email and phone assistance. For those students who prefer an on-campus experience, the school offers classes at five different campuses serving Southwest Minnesota, most of which are situated near national parks and historical towns.
|2||Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 56%||
Located in Fennimore, Wisconsin, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is a smaller school that emphasizes the employability of its students. Interested students can take a campus tour that features career assessment activities and a cost of living exercise. Faculty members are all experts in their fields and have connections in the workforce. All courses, including online medical and billing programs, stress not only career-specific knowledge, but also general skills that are essential to getting hired, such as good communication and professionalism. The medical coding certification online program is no exception. It consists of 32 units completed over two semesters with standard courses in CPT coding and medical terminology as well as classes on interpersonal communication and healthcare law and ethics. The estimated total tuition cost is $4,520 with book prices for each quarter ranging between $590–$1,480. Graduated students will be eligible to take the national certification examination of the American Health Information Management Associate and will have employment opportunities in positions like outpatient coder, inpatient coder, and coding analyst.
|3||Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Minnesota State Community and Technical College serves more than 8,000 students across four campuses in the West Central and Red River Valley areas of Minnesota. The school features an active campus life, including regular TED-style talks and community events, such as family movie night. For those looking for off-campus fun, outdoor activities are in abundance, particularly at the Detroit Lakes campus, situated in an area known for having 412 lakes within a 25-mile radius. The school encourages students to blend on-campus and online courses to suit their schedules and lifestyle. The Medical Coding and Insurance program offers medical coding classes online that prepare students to become billing specialists for medical services companies. Minnesota State’s program is 50 credit hours and includes courses like pathophysiology, medical terminology, and hospital billing. The cost is estimated at $197 per credit bringing the total tuition to $9,850 with around $3,000 worth of other costs like books and fees. Some students may need to take developmental courses pending their Accuplacer assessment. Those who complete the program are eligible to take several national coding exams for special certifications that can increase their earning potential, and with the school’s 92% average pass rate on licensure exams, students can be confident they will have the necessary knowledge to succeed.
|4||Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
Among the many medical billing and coding schools online, Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin is one of the oldest. It has been educating students for more than 100 years and prides itself on the fact that over 90% of its graduates find jobs within six months of graduation. With many active military students, it was an early adopter of distance learning technologies and has been offering online classes for over two decades. The school offers associate degrees, technical diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeship programs in a variety of fields, including healthcare. Its medical billing and coding online program can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, and the units can be transferred toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health and Information Technology. Students can expect to pay around $130.35 per credit and over $500 for books. Moraine’s program is designed to be completed in one year. For students looking to advance their education even further, the school has transfer agreements with at least 40 colleges and universities, guaranteeing that students who meet minimum requirements can easily transition into a four-year degree program.
|5||Community Care College Tulsa, OK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 65%||
Students at the private, non-profit Community Care College enjoy a learning experience with all the modern amenities. The school’s 66,000 square-foot campus facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma includes a learning resource center, student lounge, fitness center, computer labs, and a reading room. The school’s career-oriented online programs are equally up-to-date. Students in the accredited online medical billing and coding program, which is offered as both a 44-week technical diploma or an 84-week degree program, can count on the latest revisions of the International Classifications of Diseases (IDC) being covered. Current topics in medical terminology and basic courses in anatomy are also included in the course list. The 44-week diploma will cost students around $15,693 for tuition and fees and the 84-week program around $29,466. When students are ready to hit the workforce, the school offers a unique service to help with resume building and personal branding.
|6||Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Northwest Technical College in Minnesota was founded in the 1960s and began with only two programs aimed at male students (carpentry and automotive mechanics). Today, the school has a much more diverse student population and offers 32 fields of study in seven distinct career paths. Students taking medical coding classes online can pursue three different program options: a certificate, diploma, or degree. All three choices are comprehensive programs that cover topics such as patient account management and diagnosis and procedural coding, among other core technical classes. Northwest’s program is 42 credit hours and will run students $206–$304 per college credit. The degree program includes a required internship that gives students hands-on, practical experience before entering the workforce. If a true college experience is what you are after, the college’s partnership with Bemidji State University provides on-campus students with all the amenities of a four-year college, including on-campus housing, health services, and dining and fitness facilities.
|7||Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
Georgia Northwestern Technical College is the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in the entire state. It focuses on preparing its students for careers in technology, business, health, and public service. Beyond academics, it has a strong athletics program that includes basketball, cheerleading, golf, and volleyball. Students interested in medical billing and coding online courses can enroll in the Health Information Management Coding course. Unlike many programs, which consist only of core technical classes, the Health Information Management Coding curriculum requires 11 credits of general education courses in english, math, and basic psychology, or Interpersonal Relationships and Professional Development, creating a well-rounded career-focused education. It’s a 55 credit program which is going to cost students $5,731 in tuition and around $2,000 for books.
|8||Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
As a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System, Rochester Community and Technical College is an accredited online medical billing and coding school with a long history of success. It is the oldest public two-year college in Minnesota and strives to provide the same college experience for its students as a four-year university. Students enjoy leadership opportunities in the student government, student clubs, and are invited to participate in athletics, concerts, theater, and other events. Online learners are eligible for the same MnSCU scholarships as their on-campus counterparts, which is a nice benefit for people looking to enroll in medical coding programs online. Students who successfully complete Rochester’s 41-unit Coding Specialist program are eligible to take the AAPC national exam and earn the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential. Currently the program will cost students around $192 per credit.
|9||Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, ND||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 28%||
Dakota College at Bottineau is a medical billing and coding online school that has been accredited since 1971. The school is located in North Dakota near the Turtle Mountain Forest, and students call themselves the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks. The robust athletics program gives students the opportunity for plenty of school spirit with teams they can root for in football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, and ice hockey. The Medical Coding program at Dakota College is a one-year program that is only available online. To earn a diploma, students will need to complete 34 units of classes that include technical coding courses as well as studies in biology, pharmacology, and psychology. Tuition and fees will total around $4,000 for students with book costing upwards of $1,000. Similar to other program, after completing their degree, students will be able to take the Certified Medical Office Assistant exam.
|10||Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical Winona, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Minnesota State College Southeast (MSC) values small class sizes. The average class size is fifteen students per instructor, allowing for quality one-on-one instruction in a diverse range of programs, from the unusual Band Instrument Repair to the ever popular Nursing and Accounting programs. The result is a high graduation rate and a 94% job placement rate over the last five years. Online students get equally attentive service. In addition to an instructor, each course has a program advisor to help guide students, making MSC an excellent choice for an online medical billing and coding school. The Medical Coding Specialist program requires the completion of three general education courses and fourteen core technical classes. Students can earn a diploma or take additional coursework to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. In total, it’s a 46 credit program designed to last around 16 months. Tuition and fees will cost $8,610 with books and supplies estimated to cost students around $1,533.
Accredited Online Certificate Programs
|1||Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 88%||
This Ohio institution opened its doors in 1967 and recorded an initial enrollment of 67 total students. CSCC today serves more than 26,000 students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees. Recognized for facilitating student success and closing achievement gaps through its Student Success Innovation Fund program, the school was named as one of the 19 2015 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges.
The school currently offers 18 associate degrees and 48 professional certificates for online students, including a medical coding certificate program. This track is part of CSCC's Health Information Management Technology (HIMT) division. The program is 22 credits in length, and can be completed in three semesters; coursework always begins during the summer semester. With the exception of a hybrid course in human anatomy that requires some on-campus sessions, all of the coursework in this program is delivered exclusively online. The curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology and components of healthcare documentation, as well as the ability to review, code, classify and index patient diagnoses for accounting and insurance purposes. Students must pass a background check and drug screening before they are admitted into CSCC's HIMT programs.
|2||University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) was founded in 1917, and is currently the only postsecondary institution in the state of Alaska that is classified as a 'tier one university' by U.S. News & World Report. In 2016, the school's freshman retention rate stood at 76% ― more than 12 percentage points higher than the national average for public higher learning institutions. UAF also boasts an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1, and nearly two-thirds of all courses taught at the university have fewer than 20 students.
A certificate in healthcare reimbursement is available online through the UAF eLearning and Distance Education department. This 30-credit program includes introductory coursework in medical terminology and human diseases, medical coding, administrative procedures and outpatient reimbursement, as well as mathematics in healthcare and medical technology. Students learn how to analyze medical records, code and index diagnoses and perform other duties related to healthcare reimbursement. The curriculum also prepares them for important postdegree career steps, such as earning national certification through the national certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders exam and American Health Information Management Association coding exam. The healthcare reimbursement certificate online program can be completed after one year of full-time study.
|3||Drexel University Philadelphia, PA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
Founded in 1891, this private, nonprofit Philadelphia institution offered its first online degree program in 1996. Drexel has since become a leader in postsecondary distance education, and today offers more than 140 online degree and certificate programs. Nearly 5,200 online students from across the globe are currently enrolled at Drexel, representing more than one fifth of the total student body; the school's Digital Dragon page serves as an online hub where distance learners can interact and collaborate. The school earned a top 20 ranking in a 2016 survey of the country's most innovative national universities published by U.S. News & World Report.
An online medical billing and coding certificate program is available through Drexel's renowned School of Nursing and Health Professions. This fully online 18-credit program is organized into four 10-week quarters spanning one calendar year. Coursework will cover the four most common coding manuals currently used in healthcare professions: CPT; HCPC; ICD-9-CM; and ICD-10. Once students have completed the program, they will be prepared to sit for certification exams from the American Medical Billing Association, the AAPC and the American Health Information Management Association. Students who wish to continue with their education after earning their certificate may apply their coursework toward Drexel's Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Services Administration degree pathway.
|4||Lanier Technical College Oakwood, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 28%||
Lanier Technical College (LTC) seeks to provide communities and companies in northeast Georgia with the technical skills and education that will encourage economic and civic progress. LTC offers over 40 programs in-person and online to students in the Oakwood, Forsyth, Barrow, Dawson, and Jackson communities in Georgia. The online Medical Coding Specialist Certificate program trains students with some education or experience in a health profession to excel at ICD-9-CM and CPT/HCPCS medical coding. The program is completed in three semesters through instruction and participation in medical coding classes online, such as Medical Insurance, Human Diseases, and Document Production. Through its ties with local companies, LTC offers career planning and job placement services that help students find jobs after graduation almost 95% of the time.
|5||Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC) offered three academic programs -- carpentry, farm mechanics and machine shop -- and served 21 students when its doors first opened in 1964. The school has grown to nearly 3,000 enrolled students since that time, and is today a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. ATCC's current academic selections include 12 associate degree and professional certificate programs delivered exclusively online.
The college's online medical coding specialist diploma program is 45 credits in length, and most students complete all course requirements within five semesters. The first year is dedicated to foundational knowledge and skills, with entry-level coursework in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, pathology and medical reception. The second year delves into ICD coding, CPT and other specialized areas of the profession, as well as medical law and ethics. The program culminates in a required two-credit internship, allowing students to receive supervised training from experienced professionals at real-world worksites; internships usually takes place during the summer semester. All other courses in the program are delivered fully online. This comprehensive curriculum will prepare students to earn additional credentials, such as the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) certification from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
|5||Montana State University-Billings Billings, MT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Montana State University Billings (MSUB) was founded in 1927, and today comprises five degree-granting colleges. The university's leading provider of technical and vocational education is City College at MSUB, which is located less than 10 miles from the flagship campus. The college currently offers more than 30 degree and certificate programs, and enrolls roughly 1,400 full- and part-time students every year. Additionally, City College currently serves as the U.S. Department of Labor OSHA training provider for the entire state of Montana.
City College currently offers nine academic programs aimed at aspiring healthcare professionals, including a Certificate of Applied Science in Medical Coding and Insurance Billing that can be completed online. This one-year program spans 11 courses for a total of 31 credits. The curriculum includes foundational studies in medical terminology, diagnostic and medical coding, medical office administration and human biology, as well as business writing and mathematics. The program culminates in a capstone course, which allows students to create a comprehensive project demonstrating the knowledge and skills they have gained. The capstone courses also includes job-shadowing and national certification exam prep. Students who complete the program will be qualified to seek employment at hospitals, clinics, extended care centers and other healthcare facilities.
|7||Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Located in south-central Kansas, Hutchinson Community College was founded as a coed junior college in 1928 and recorded an initial enrollment of 187 students. The school has grown to roughly 6,100 students -- one-third of whom are over the age of 24 -- and degrees and certificates are currently offered in more than 120 academic fields of study. Hutchinson has also drawn widespread attention for hosting the National Junior College Athletic Association's Division I Men's Basketball Championship, also known as 'The Tournament', which brings together student athletes from across the country.
A total of 18 degree and certificate tracks are offered online at HCC, including multiple options for aspiring healthcare professionals. An online certificate for health coding specialists is available for distance learners at HCC. This program consists of 16 courses spanning a total of 45 credits, and is normally completed after three semesters of full-time study. Foundational courses in the first two semesters cover subjects like pharmacology, medical terminology, healthcare information technology and human anatomy. The curriculum also includes coursework in ICD-10-CM/PCS and CPT coding; a coding lab and health record coding practicum course are also required. Additionally, those seeking a two-year degree may choose an online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) pathway in health information management.
|8||Dakota State University Madison, SD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 80%||
Founded in 1881, Dakota State University (DSU) is headquartered in the town of Madison, South Dakota. The institution emphasizes the importance of technology in all academic and professional fields. Students are issued tablet devices for use in classrooms, and all degree programs include technology and/or computer science course components. DSU's distance learning programs are also extensive. Students from across the globe are welcome to enroll in the school's online courses and degree programs, which are led by faculty members that teach the same subjects in on-campus courses.
The online Health Care Coding Certificate program at DSU spans 35 to 36 credits in length. Although some foundational biology and computer science courses are required, most of the curriculum is rooted in the legal, logistical and technological aspects of medical billing, coding and health information management. The program also includes a coding internship course, which students must complete onsite at a hospital, clinic or other preapproved healthcare facility. Most students complete all certificate requirements within one academic year, and graduates are fully prepared to sit the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Certified Coding Associate exam. The certificate also serves as a useful stepping stone for students who plan to advance into DSU's Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration degree program.
|9||Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 56%||
Located in the town of Fennimore, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (SWTC) is a member of the 16-school Wisconsin Technical College System. More than 50 vocational degree and certificate programs are currently offered, and the school boasts a 95% employment rate within the first year of graduation. SWTC is also a popular destination for nontraditional students; according to U.S. News & World Report, 46% of the student body is 25 or older.
The college's medical coding specialist diploma program is available in a fully online format. This 32-credit pathway consists of 13 courses, and can be completed in just two semesters of full-time study. Initial courses introduce foundational topics like medical terminology, human anatomy and health data management. During the second semester, most courses delve into healthcare reimbursement, applied coding and other specialized areas of the field. Students who successfully complete the diploma program will be qualified to handle tasks related to ICD-9 CM, ICD-10 CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT coding systems. Graduates will also be eligible to sit for the national certification examination of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). They may also progress into the associate in health information technology degree track as part of SWTC's Career Pathways program.
|10||Weber State University Ogden, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
This institution headquartered in Ogden, Utah, has been recognized for positive student outcomes. In 2016, Washington Monthly awarded Weber State first-place ranking in its 'America's Best Colleges for Adult Learners' poll. According to the survey, the university's alumni earn an average annual salary of $50,867 after 10 years in the workforce -- the sixth-highest income among the nearly 1,200 schools considered for the ranking. Part-time students comprise more than half of Weber State's total student body, and nearly three-quarters are employed while attending courses.
Weber State's Dumke College of Health Professions offers an online healthcare coding certificate pathway. This 31-credit program consists of 10 courses, which most part-time students complete within four semesters. The first three terms are largely dedicated to foundational studies in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and medical terminology. During the final semester, students take courses in ambulatory and physician office coding, ICD-10-PCS coding and classification systems. A practicum course is also require, where students apply the knowledge and skills they have gained in a simulated healthcare setting. Students who successfully complete the program will be equipped to handle inpatient and outpatient tasks using the ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT coding systems. All prospective certificate candidates must complete a background check, drug screen and proof of immunizations before being admitted into the program.
|11||Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 0%||
Founded in 1973, this small Connecticut institution serves a population of fewer than 1,800 students. Charter Oak is a leading destination for students of all ages and backgrounds; according to data from the 2015-16 academic year, nearly two-thirds of all students are women and the median student age is 39 years. The college has also been recognized for its credit transferral system; under the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, students can receive programmatic credit from previous employment, military training and other accomplishments. This flexible policy enables students to complete their programs at a lower cost and in less time.
Charter Oak's online medical coding certificate program consists of seven courses spanning 21 total credits. The curriculum includes foundational coursework in anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, as well as health information management, reimbursement procedures and two courses in medical billing and coding. The program also prepared students to obtain postdegree certifications through organizations like AHIMA and AAPC. Additionally, students who have earned a bachelor's degree may choose to pursue Charter Oak's online health information management certificate. The curriculum for this track includes medical billing and coding, along with other foundational HIM areas such as medical technology, healthcare law/ethics and health services leadership and management.
|12||Great Basin College Elko, NV||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 25%||
Established in 1967, this accredited institution based in the city of Elko is a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education. GBC currently serves 3,800 students enrolled online from across the United States. The college's Academic Success Center offers free live tutoring for all students using Skype, as well as email-based tutoring services. More than 70 online degree and certificate programs are available to students at GBC, including several options for aspiring healthcare professionals.
The online certificate of achievement in professional medical coding and billing is a 34-credit program that features nine required courses. Foundational topics include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and healthcare administration. The curriculum also delves into diagnostic coding, reimbursement procedures and other specialized areas of the industry. Students receive training in the ICD-9 and CPT coding systems; their coursework includes a coding practicum, which allows them to apply skills and knowledge within a simulated environment. The program culminates in a comprehensive online exam; exam-takers will be given 48 hours to complete the test, although most complete all questions within seven or eight hours. GBC's professional medical coding and billing certificate program is designed for completion after two semesters of full-time study.
|13||Gogebic Community College Ironwood, MI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 55%||
Located on Mt. Zion in the town of Ironwood, Michigan, Gogebic Community College (GCC) is an accredited two-year public community college noted for its relatively low education costs. The tuition rates for in-district and out-of-district students both fall below $200 per credit hour, and most spend between $5,000 and $8,000 for each year of their education. GCC also boasts a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and more than 60% of the college's 1,099 students are female.
The college's medical coding and billing specialist online certificate program spans 40 credits in length, and is designed for completion after four semesters of part-time enrollment. Initial courses tackle anatomy and physiology, health information management, medical terminology and other foundational subjects. The latter semester will consist of coursework in ICD-10-CM/PCS and CPT coding, as well as ambulatory care coding. A 60-hour clinical internship at an acute-care facility will also be required; students must complete a background check, drug screen and physical examination in order to take part in their internship course. Students leave GCC prepared to work at hospitals, clinics, long-term care centers and other healthcare facilities, as well as insurance companies. Program graduates will also be qualified to sit for national certification exams.
|14||Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
Founded in 1965, this Kansas institution serves brick-and-mortar students from seven surrounding counties and online students from across the globe. Barton County Community College operates four campuses across the state of Kansas, including a Fort Riley training center that specializes in educating U.S. military personnel after they have completed their service. Online education at BCCC is highly affordable -- $150 per credit hour, on average -- and the school has become a popular destination for nontraditional students; more than 40% of the student body is 25 years of age or older.
The college's online medical coding certificate program emphasizes coding procedures for physician's offices, clinics and ambulatory care services. The curriculum features foundational courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, healthcare law and ethics, as well as a three-part medical coding sequence. Other requirements include an introduction to business English and two computer science courses. All courses are delivered exclusively online. The program culminates in a medical coding internship. Students who successfully complete this medical coding certificate pathway will be qualified to handle tasks using the ICD-9, CPT, and HCPCS coding systems. The coursework will also prepare them to sit for the AAPC national certification exam.
|15||Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Established in 1969, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College today serves more than 11,000 students. Roughly 60% of students at CSTCC are enrolled part-time, and nearly half are between the ages of 25 and 64. The college is also renowned for its racially diverse student population; more than 40% of current students belong to minority groups, with 30% identifying as African-American. CSTCC currently offers 20 online associate and certification programs, including multiple learning tracks for aspiring medical billing and coding professionals.
The Coding Specialist Certificate pathway spans 35 credits in length, and can be completed online after four semesters of part-time study. The curriculum for this program includes coursework in human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and healthcare reimbursement procedure, as well as coding processes for the ICD-10 and CPT systems. Students seeking a two-year degree can pursue an online Associate of Applied Science in health information management technology; most students complete this 65-credit program within four or five semesters. Additional online associate programs are offered in healthcare informatics and healthcare programming and analysis. Both of these programs consist of 65 course credits, and are usually completed after four or five semesters of full-time study.
|16||Fisher College Boston, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 76%||
Founded in 1903 and located in Boston's historic Back Bay neighborhood, Fisher College is a private nonprofit institution originally created to educate and train the city's immigrant workers. Fisher remains highly diverse to this day; women comprise more than 70% of the student body, while international students represent 20%. The college has also been recognized for services for military servicemembers and veterans. Since 2011, G.I. Jobs has listed Fisher as one of the nation's top 'military-friendly schools'.
The college's healthcare-oriented options include an online medical coding certificate program that spans 13 courses and 37 credits in length. The program begins with foundational courses in English, computer science and healthcare technology. The curriculum also includes coursework in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and disease studies, as well as a four-course series in coding and classification systems. The program culminates in a capstone course, which allows students to develop a comprehensive project that highlights their strengths and areas of expertise. The program is designed for completion in less than two years of full-time study; 42% of students earn their degree within 18 months. Students who successfully earn their medical coding certificate from Fisher College will be qualified to work in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities that code patient diagnoses for reimbursement purposes.
|17||Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) is a public, two-year technical school located in Statesboro, Georgia. The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia has twice named OTC as Technical College of the Year since the award was first conferred in 2010. The school today serves a large number of nontraditional students; more than 60% of the student body are enrolled part-time, and 45% are between the ages of 25 and 64. Additionally, women make up nearly 70% of the current student population.
OTC offers two educational pathways for aspiring healthcare information specialists. The school's online medical coding certificate program is 24 credits in length, and features eight online medical coding courses. Most students complete this pathway within two semesters; graduates are fully prepared to sit for the CCA (Certified Coding Associate), CCS (Certified Coding Specialist), and CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist, Physician-based) exams.
|18||Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
Located in Dayton, Ohio, Sinclair Community College is considered one of the largest community colleges in the country; the current on-campus and online population exceeds 20,000 full- and part-time students. The college has also been recognized as a provider of degrees with a strong return-on-investment (ROI); the tuition rates at Sinclair are among the lowest in Ohio, and the average student who completes a degree program at the college will see his/her annual income rise 114% one year after graduation.
An online medical coding and billing specialist certificate pathway is available through Sinclair's Health Sciences division. The program consists of nine courses spanning 23 total credits. The curriculum includes foundational studies in healthcare delivery, diseases, human anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, as well as introductory and advanced billing practices. Students will learn how to handle tasks using the ICD-10-CM, CPT and HCPCS coding systems; these skills will equip them to work in a wide range of healthcare facilities, including physician's offices, outpatient centers and health insurance companies. All courses can be delivered fully online, and most students earn their certificate after two semesters. Those who successfully complete the program will be prepared to sit for the Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice (CPC-A) and Certified Coding Specialist-Physician (CCS-P) exams.
|19||Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
Founded as a junior college in 1922, Cowley County Community College (CCCC) today offers degrees and certificates in more than 80 different technical and vocational fields. The college has been recognized for its low tuition rates; according to U.S. News & World Report, out-of-state students pay $4,123 in annual tuition while in-district and in-state students pay less than $3,000 on a yearly basis. The school also serves a large number of nontraditional students; nearly half the student body is enrolled part-time, and more than one-third are between the ages of 25 and 64.
The online medical coding certificate program at Cowley College spans 11 courses for a total of 35 credits. Most students earn their certificate after two semesters. The first semester is largely dedicated to foundational studies in subjects like pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and healthcare law and ethics. The second semester consists of specialized courses in CPT and ICD-10 coding systems, bioethics and reimbursement methodology. Additionally, students must complete a practicum course in a virtual healthcare office. Those seeking a two-year degree may pursue an online Associate of Applied Science in Medical Coding degree through CCCC; this 65-credit track requires four semesters of full-time study, and culminates in a coding practicum course. Students who have completed the coding certificate program will be able to apply most of their course credits toward this associate degree.
What to Expect From an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program
Several factors work to differentiate online medical billing and coding degree programs from each other, including concentration and course offerings. Make sure to choose a program offering options that suit your education and career goals.
Admission Requirements for an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program
Medical billing and coding online courses do not typically require extensive prerequisites to enroll. Select training programs may prefer students with some experience in a health profession, but generally a high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.0-2.5 suffices for admission into an associate or diploma program in this field. Standardized test score requirements vary by school. Some do not require score submission at all, while others require students to meet minimum score requirements (around 17 for the ACT, 910 for the SAT). Others allow students to submit scores from less common exams, such as the ASVAB, PLAN, or PSAT.
Concentrations Offered For An Online Medical Billing And Coding Degree
Medical billing and coding professionals tend to focus their studies on one specialized area of the healthcare field, since terminology varies across the many medical disciplines. The following represent a few examples of common concentrations:
|Concentration||Description||Careers this concentration prepares for|
|Cancer Registry Coding||This concentration specifically focuses on coding cancer cases. Students learn to maintain detailed registries of these cases, review and record patient data, and assign classification codes. In some states, certification from the National Cancer Registrars Association may be required.||Cancer registrar, registry coordinator, director of revenue cycle, data abstractor, clinical billing specialist|
|Cardiology Coding||Cardiology coding pertains to cardiologist treatments, and requires in-depth knowledge of cardiovascular medicine and terminology. This includes coronary interventions, pacemakers, and heart catheterization, plus anatomy and physiology.||Physician coder, medical biller/coder, hospital insurance specialist, hospital outpatient coder|
|Dermatology Coding||Similar to cardiology coding, these students learn about dermatology-specific terminology and practices. Common terminologies include debridement, flaps, lesion excisions, and Mohs micrographic surgery.||Plastic surgery and dermatology coder, patient coordinator, pro-fee coder, dermatology coding, billing, and insurance specialist|
Curriculum For an Online Medical Billing and Coding Degree
The healthcare industry offers many opportunities for students who have either an undergraduate degree or online certificate program in medical billing and coding. Each program has its own unique curriculum, but all include the same foundational courses. The following represent a few examples of common medical billing and coding courses:
- Medical ethics:
This course is arguably the most important, as any career in medical billing and coding involves the handling of sensitive health information data. Students learn how to accurately represent healthcare services and products and maintain record confidentiality. This course emphasizes the importance of adhering to standards and regulations enforced by credential agencies, laws, and insurance providers.
- Medical reception:
This course teaches customer service skills that professionals need when interacting with patients about their medical histories and financial matters. This course is especially useful for customer-facing roles, preparing students for general reception desk tasks, such as liaising with referral services.
This course serves medical coders, covering how to classify prescription treatments, plus the specialty codes and terminology involved.
Skills and Competencies Gained in an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program
Students can take anywhere from four months to four years to complete their medical billing and coding certificate or degree. During that time, learners must retain extensive information, including the vital skills listed below. Curriculum details and content may vary depending on the school you select.
- Translate Medical Billing Codes: Students learn how to translate and work with medical billing codes in order to properly process claim forms, explain information to patients, and work with insurance companies.
- Insurance Verification Process: Medical billing and coding students develop an understanding of the insurance verification process to determine patient eligibility and other important information concerning copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.
- Process Insurance Claim Forms: Students in medical billing and coding online courses learn to process insurance claim forms and understand different types of claim forms. They also learn to provide accurate information and process forms quickly and efficiently.
- Understand Compliance Requirements: In order to prevent fraud and abuse, healthcare providers must adhere to compliance requirements from the U.S. Inspector General. Medical billing and coding students develop a firm understanding of these rules.
- Navigate Patient Records: Being able to navigate and understand patient records allows billing and coding professionals to collect important personal and medical information (treatments dates, diagnoses, etc.) and properly maintain these files.
Certifications and Licenses a Medical Billing and Coding Program Prepares For
- Certified Professional Coder
The certified professional coder demonstrates proficiency in the correct use of Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), HCPCS Level II procedure and supply codes, and ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes. Certification prepares students to work in doctors', offices and requires successful completion of an exam ($380 fee) comprising 150 multiple choice questions.
- Certified Outpatient Coder
The certified outpatient coder demonstrates proficiency in assigning correct medical codes, including CPT, HCPCS Level II, and ICD-10-CM, and understands coding rules and regulations for work in an outpatient facility. The 150-question certification exam costs $380 to take, and allows for one retake.
- Certified Professional Biller
Certified professional billers understand the various types of insurance plans, rules, and regulations, including HIPPA and the False Claims Act. They also have thorough knowledge of CPT, HCPCS Level II, and ICD-10-CM coding guidelines, plus how to complete effective follow-up and resolution procedures. The 200-question multiple choice exam costs $380 and allows for one retake.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Medical Billing and Coding Degree?
The length of an accredited online medical billing and coding program online depends on a variety of variables. Common factors include whether you're earning a degree or a certification, plus your chosen specialization, whether you study full- or part-time, and whether your online program is offered synchronously or asynchronously. Asynchronous programs allow students to complete coursework at their own pace, while synchronous programs progress at a set pace, much like in-person courses.
Students can usually earn their associate degree in two years, or their bachelor's in four. Certification programs can take 4-15 months to complete, but they usually take less than a year.
Accreditation for Online Medical Billing and Coding Degrees
Academic accreditation demonstrates that an institution's curriculum, faculty, governance, and academic resources meet a set of common standards. Attending an accredited institution qualifies you to apply for federal financial aid. Accreditation also allows students to transfer credits to other universities, or apply for graduate programs at other schools.
Between national and regional accreditation, regional is considered the most prestigious, and many universities only accept transfer credits from regionally accredited institutions. Some schools earn accreditation from both national and regional agencies. Colleges and universities are accredited regionally by the Council of Higher Education Association (CHEA) or the Department of Education (ED). The CHEA and ED oversee accrediting agencies to ensure they meet regulatory criteria and are qualified to determine the institutional quality. For a database of accredited institutions, visit the ED or CHEA websites.
Many online medical coding and billing degree programs have both regional and program-specific accreditation. Many programs have earned field-specific accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
Employment Outlook for Medical Billing and Coding Graduates
The BLS projects strong job growth for healthcare industry employees, including medical billing and coding professionals. The Affordable Care Act helps promote this trend; roughly 20 million previously uninsured Americans currently receive medical coverage under the ACA. The aging baby boomer population also ensures a continuous need for qualified healthcare administrators in the coming years.
The following table looks at 10-year projections for some of the most popular careers in healthcare administration.
|Occupation||Industry Projections (2016-26)|
|Medical Records and Health Information Technicians||13% (+27,800 jobs)|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||20% (+72,100 jobs)|
|Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians||13% (+42,700 jobs)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Unemployment rates are relatively low for medical billing and coding professionals, and particularly for those with certification in their field. A recent report from the American Academy of Professional Coders found that certified coders face an unemployment rate of only 1.4%. By comparison, the national unemployment rate for all occupations currently sits at 3.9%.
Medical Billing and Coding Salary Potential
According to PayScale, individuals with their associate degree in medical billing and coding earn a median annual salary of $31,000 during their first five years on the job and $36,000 after a decade in the workforce. Earning potential for medical billing and coding professionals largely depends on their academic background and certification levels. The table below shows salary expectations for different types of medical billing and coding professionals.
|Occupational Title||Median Annual Salary|
|Medical Coder -- Hospital Outpatient||$47,773|
|Medical Coder -- Large Group Practice||$48,033|
|Medical Coder -- Hospital Inpatient||$50,925|
|Medical Coder -- Health System||$51,389|
Source: U.S. News & World Report
In addition to certification levels, salary expectations for medical billing and coding professionals depend on how long an employee has been in the workforce. The next table looks at 20-year salary growth rates for medical billing and coding specialists, plus other common career pathways in healthcare administration.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years)||Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years)||Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)|
|Medical Billing/ Coding Specialist||$31,000||$35,000||$37,000||$38,000|
|Registered Health Information Technician||$33,000||$37,000||$42,000||$50,000|
|Health Informatics Specialist||$57,000||$61,000||$65,000||$60,000|
|Health Information Manager||$48,000||$61,000||$70,000||$82,000|
|Health Care Administrator||$49,000||$64,000||$77,000||$78,000|
Career and Further Education Opportunities
Students who graduate with an associate degree, diploma, or certificate in medical billing and coding (or another field related to health information management) qualify for dozens of entry-level positions; those who also obtain certification may further expand their job opportunities. Four common careers related to medical billing and coding are outlined below.
- Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
These professionals oversee patient data at their place of employment, ensuring all records are accurate, current, and easily retrievable. Many of today's medical records and health information personnel are trained to work in paper-based and electronic medical record systems. Maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality is essential to the occupation.
- Medical Transcriptionists
Also known as healthcare documentation specialists, these personnel transcribe voice recordings of physicians, nurses and other health workers into thorough, accurate transcriptions for diagnoses, test results, and other patient record data.
- Medical and Health Services Managers
Also referred to as healthcare executives or administrators, these professionals oversee patient care services at hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. Their jobs include managing recruitment and hiring, billing, coding, and budget planning.
- Bill and Account Collectors
These professionals assist individuals and organizations with their overdue bills. According to the BLS, 12% of bill and account collectors work in healthcare and social assistance. They often work with clients to develop short- or long-term payment plans, and may also offer credit advice and debt counseling when necessary.
Your success depends largely on professional connections and versatility in the medical billing and coding field. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career paths. Below, you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for medical billing and coding professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.
Financing Your Online Medical Billing and Coding Degree
Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities available through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to assist in your search for medical billing and coding schools online with financial aid options.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
- Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs of 2017
Rank School Location Best Associate Programs 1 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 2 Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS 3 Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN 4 Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, MN 5 Central Maine Community College Auburn, ME 6 Highland Community College Highland, KS 7 Central Texas College Killeen, TX 8 Cosumnes River College Sacramento, CA Best Certificate Programs 1 Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH 2 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 3 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 4 Lanier Technical College Oakwood, GA 5 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN 6 Montana State University-Billings Billings, MT 7 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS 8 Dakota State University Madison, SD 9 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI 10 Weber State University Ogden, UT 11 Charter Oak State College New Britain, CT 12 Great Basin College Elko, NV 13 Gogebic Community College Ironwood, MI 14 Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS 15 Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN 16 Fisher College Boston, MA 17 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, GA 18 Sinclair Community College Dayton, OH 19 Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS Best Diploma Programs 1 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN 2 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI 3 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN 4 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI 5 Community Care College Tulsa, OK 6 Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN 7 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, GA 8 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, MN 9 Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, ND 10 Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical Winona, MN
- Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs of 2016
Rank School Location Diploma Programs 1 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN 2 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI 3 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN 4 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI 5 Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical Winona, MN 6 Minnesota State Commnunity and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN 7 Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, ND 8 Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa, IA 9 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, MN Certificate Programs 1 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 2 Renton Technical College Renton, WA 3 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WA 4 Weber State University Ogden, UT 5 Dakota State University Madison, SD 6 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 7 Lake Land College Mattoon, IL 8 Presentation College Aberdeen, SD 9 University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, AK 10 Montana State University - Billings Billings, MT 11 Great Basin College Elko, NV 12 Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS 13 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS 14 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA 15 Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, MN 16 Collin College McKinney, TX 17 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, GA 18 West Goergia Technical College Waco, GA 19 Darton State College Albany, GA 20 Kirkland Community College Roscommon, MI 21 Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH Associate Programs 1 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 2 Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN 3 Cosumnes River College Sacramento, CA 4 Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS 5 Central Maine Community College Auburn, ME