Medical Billing and Coding is definitely one of the hot careers right now in the growing healthcare field.
Not only does it offer a good salary according to the national BLS data, it’s got all of the perks of joining the healthcare field (helping people in need, growing industry, high demand) but without the downsides like touching blood, a college degree, or long hours on your feet.
Medical Billers and Coders even get the flexibility to work in a variety of different settings like hospitals, private practices, or insurance companies, and can even work remotely from home!
BUT, to crack into the field, employers are looking for Certified candidates, and that means getting the right training is crucial. Below, we’ve created a list of our favorite and best Medical Billing and Coding schools. Read more about what we look for and our methodology below…but without further ado:
Here’s the list of Best Schools and Classes:
- 100% Online
- Lowest Price
- Accredited University
- No Textbooks or Fees
- Fastest Completion
- Free Laptop
Preppy is a gamechanger for starting your career in Medical Billing & Coding.
This innovative organization is in partnership with the reputable University of New Hampshire, and offers excellent career training and certification preparation…without the big price tag or lengthy timeframes.
Why do we love it?
It’s faster, affordable, and completely online at your pace.
Your program could be finished in as little as a few months, and be ready for the major certifications in Medical Billing & Coding like the:
- CPC – Certified Professional Coder from AAPC
- CBCS – Certified Billing & Coding Specialist from NHA
- MBCS – Medical Billing & Coding Specialist from NWCA
Plus, unlike other low-cost options that are un-accredited or lacking reputation, Preppy’s program is through University of New Hampshire which means you’ll get an awesome university completion certificate to hang in your home or office and an impressive addition to your resume.
In other words, Preppy’s program has it all: a University reputation paired with an industry-low price.
Am I biased? You bet I am…I spent years witnessing the lack of good schools for Medical Billing and Coding, and I’m now so thrilled to see Preppy available for everyone.
Their program is also completely online and self-paced without textbooks or any additional fees that some schools pile on.
This is a unique thing in the industry, and almost all other programs out there require you to drive to a physical campus every week.
Instead, their online offering means it can accommodate any schedule. You don’t have to quit your current job or change your whole life around…you could wrap it up on the couch in the evenings or from your favorite coffee shop.
- Accredited University
- Multiple Start Dates
- 9 Month Duration
- Higher Cost Likely Requires Aid
Founded in 1900, Rasmussen University is known for their online programs with 50+ career-focused in total. Their Medical Billing and Coding program is completely online along with virtual labs. The curriculum includes all of the necessary skills in coding systems and biling technology as well as information security and general healthcare knowledge. For the classes, some of the examples are “Coding Foundations”, “Health Information Law and Ethics”, and “Medical Billing and Coding Practicum”. Overall, students need to complete 10 courses or 36 credit hours to finish the program. One good thing about this program is there a good learning emphasis on case-studies where students will study real-life coding scenarios and other hands on projects to learn. Overall Rasmussen offers quality curriculum delivered by industry-experienced faculty, and continuously strives to provide flexible and affordable learning options. Students have real-time access to a suite of student support services, such as an academic advisor, library and learning resources, tutors and career services advisors.
Purdue University Global
- Externship Included
- Thorough Coursework
- Longer Program Duration
- High Cost
Purdue Global is part of the well respected Purdue University system. PG’s mission is to provide greater access to affordable education for adults. Their medical billing and coding certificate program is online an offers a comprehensive learning program that requires 44 units of credits to complete. The included coursework will help teach aspiring students how to submit medical claims, the health care reimbursement process, processing bills, another working knowledge of the insurance system. Some sample courses include Medical Terminology, Pharmacology, Diseases Of The Body, and more. Following completion, students will be ready for the various certification examinations. Although the cost and duration are both on the higher side and will likely require one to get some sort of aid, the program has a number of things that we like: it’s online, includes an externship or practicum for experience and is through an accredited university.
Ultimate Medical Academy
- Accredited University
- Thorough Coursework
- Long Program Duration
- Higher Cost
Number 4 on our list for Medical Billing and Coding is Ultimate Medical Academy. UMA a is a longtime provider of online degree programs within the healthcare and medical field since 1994. Their medical billing and coding associate degree program requires 63 credits and 18 months to complete and their diploma program requires 39 credits and approximately 11 months to complete, and includes courses such as: Diagnostic Coding, Introduction To Computers, Introduction To Health Care Communication, Medical Terminology, Medical Law Ethics And Records Management, And Anatomy Physiology And Pathophysiology. UMA is an accredited university, the program is online, is flexible, and does provide good tech support 24/7. We definitely like all those things in addition to their thorough curriculum. But, the program is longer in duration compared to other programs, and does have a higher cost.
- Accredited University
- Thorough Curriculum
- Additional Admission Documents
- Longer Duration Program
- Higher Cost
Drexel University is an accredited institution located in Philadelphia. Their Medical Billing and Coding program is offered through Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions. The online certificate program requires 30 credits, and some sample courses include Medical Terminology, Practical Applications in Healthcare Reimbursement, Pharmacology for Medical Billers & Coders, Pathophysiology for Medical Billers & Coders, Diagnostic Coding, Procedural Coding, and Understanding Insurance, Administration, and the Law for Medical Billers & Coders. It’s a thorough curriculum covering learning principles related to the four main coding manuals – CPT, HCPCS, ICD-10-CM, and ICD-10-PCS, and prepares students for the national certification exams. We like the fact this program is online, with a reputable university, and with a good curriculum, but we don’t like the high cost and the additional admissions requirements.
What Makes a Good School for Medical Billing and Coding?
With the demand for medical billing and coding specialists on the rise, many colleges and universities have begun to offer their own certification programs. Unfortunately, many of these programs are completely insufficient, not only in terms of the curriculum but the overall structure as well.
So what makes an institution the right one and why did we choose the certification programs we did?
Easy. They offer the following:
Online learning has become a popular alternative to traditional on-campus programs, especially for busy adult students. Just what are some of the benefits of online degrees?
- They promote a healthy work-life balance
- You don’t need to relocate for your education
- You have more time to do the things you enjoy
- You can keep working
For many students, becoming certified through an online program just makes sense!
Prepares You for Certification
Perhaps one of the most important things to look for when selecting a school is to choose one that actually prepares you for major certifications, in this case American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) Certified Professional Coder (CPC), and National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS), or AHIMA.
Self-paced learning is efficient and effective. Think about when you were last in school. Wasn’t it pretty obvious that everyone learned at their own pace and in their own way? Online certification programs are superior, in our opinion, because they allow people to study when is most convenient for them.
If you’re a busy working adult, raising a young family, you’re going to have very specific windows of time when you’re available to study. That might be at six in the morning before the kids get up and you go to work, or at 9pm when the kids are in bed and the house is finally quiet. Self-paced learning means you study when you can realistically fit it into your schedule.
There’s another benefit of self-paced learning that people often overlook, and that is that it promotes inductive thinking. When you are allowed to learn at your own pace, you improve memory performance and are able to come to conclusions about the information you’ve taken in. This is invaluable and the way learning should be!
Textbooks are Included
I don’t know if you’ve seen how much textbooks cost, but they can be incredibly expensive! It’s important to look for programs that provide textbooks and other learning materials because you’ll definitely need these to prepare for your certification exams.
An Immersive Learning Experience
While you’ll need textbooks, you should also look for online programs that are led by real professors, as these curriculums are always more immersive and engaging. These lessons can be videotaped so you can watch at any time, and the insights offered by someone who has “been there and done that” are invaluable.
Learning anything new inevitably means having questions. We chose schools that offered a robust support system so students can have their questions answered and get tech help when they need it.
Externships are Part of the Program
We also selected training programs that have collaborated with healthcare institutions to provide necessary externship experience for MBC students following their training.
Why is this so important?
Learning from a textbook or video courses is one thing, but gaining real-life experience is what will help you connect all the dots. Externships let you put your knowledge to the test.
In addition, you can show off this real-life experience on your resume, and that’s really valuable. In a scenario where there are two equally good candidates, the one with the experience (even if it is an externship) could get preference in the eyes of an employer.
The Importance of Medical Billing and Coding Training
The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and demand for medical billing and coding specialists is skyrocketing. While these professionals work in the background of the healthcare industry, they really are the people that tie everything together.
When patients come into a healthcare facility with a chronic disease, a sudden illness or some type of health concern, everything about their care needs to be documented and reported. MBCs assign codes for everything that happens during that visit to categorize what kind of service, procedure, or medication they have received. This ensures that the patient’s insurance company pays for the visit and the healthcare facility is also reimbursed properly. It is the Medical Billing and Coding system that makes the healthcare industry work so seamlessly.
We have spoken to many medical billing and coding professionals over the years who have told us that their job is very gratifying. They understand that they are an integral part of a system that helps people in their greatest time of need.
What Types of Facilities Hire Medical Billing and Coding Specialists?
MBCs are hired in all sorts of healthcare facilities. Many professionals work in hospitals and private clinics, but MBCs are also employed by insurance companies, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies, and even healthcare lawyers. As an added bonus, a career as a medical billing and coding specialist means you may have the opportunity to work from home!
MBCs are proficient in assigning codes, understanding different insurance types and how to submit a claim. They are also well-versed with the major laws, regulations, and guidelines related to medical billing. So essentially, any healthcare facility that needs assistance with any of this will hire a medical billing and coding specialist. That means as far as employment opportunities, the sky is really the limit!
Wow! We’ve just covered a lot of information so let’s recap:
This article is based on our opinion after looking at numerous online certification programs offered for medical billing and coding. As we mentioned earlier, there are quite a few MBC certification programs out there, but they were not all created equal.
We sifted through each curriculum to identify the ones that offered some or all of what we consider the “Must Haves” for any certification program, and prioritized based on the following:
- Online programs
- Comprehensive preparation for certification exams
- Accredited universities over trade schools
- Self-paced learning
- Textbooks and other learning materials are included
- Externships are provided for valuable real-life experience
If you’re interested in a career as a medical billing and coding specialist, you could become certified and begin working in less than a year! What a great opportunity to work in an exciting industry helping people!
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