Health information technology is an expanding facet of the healthcare industry that is creating new job opportunities in the coming decade. Training students to understand medical codes and implement healthcare reimbursement procedures, online medical billing and coding programs prepare graduates for careers as medical billers and coders in a variety of healthcare settings. If you do not think you have the time to pursue a degree, because you have a full-time job or small children, consider attending a medical billing and coding school online. Study from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace.
Types of Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs
Online schools for medical billing and coding offer short-term certificates, diplomas, and two-year associate’s degrees. Health information technology degrees are also offered at the associate’s level and will often have a closely related curriculum. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees are available in health information management, which is designed for those who are seeking supervisory positions in the field of health information technology.
Curriculum of Online Schools for Medical Billing and Coding
Joining a postsecondary medical billing and coding program will require you have a high school diploma or GED. Most medical billing and coding specialists have at least a one-year certificate or associate’s degree. In an online medical coding program, you will become familiar with Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), as well as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) terminology.
Medical Billing and Coding Online Courses
Online medical billing and coding classes that you may be required to take include:
- Medical report writing
- Anatomy & physiology
- Medical insurance
- English grammar
- Health data requirements
- Clinical classifications & coding systems
- Healthcare reimbursement methods
- Database security & management
- Medical terminology
- Legal issues in health professions
Some employers prefer hiring applicants who have also passed credentialing exams, such as the American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA’s) Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam, among others.
Career Outlook for Medical Billing and Coding
Medical coding specialties translate medical procedures into standardized codes that are used for insurance purposes and medical records. Medical billing specialists act as a liaison between the patients, doctors, and medical insurance providers to ensure that the coded procedures are properly billed. Often in smaller enterprises, the same individual will be responsible for both coding and billing.
Medical billing and coding specialists typically work in an office environment for healthcare management organizations, doctor’s offices, dental offices, clinics, and insurance companies. They usually work during normal business hours. However, some healthcare facilities are open 24/7, which may require you to work in the evenings and weekends.
Employment Outlook and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the jobs for all medical records and health information technicians (including medical coders) are expected to increase at a faster than average rate of 22% from 2012 to 2022. Due to the aging baby boomer population, there is expected to be a surge in healthcare procedures in the coming decade. In 2013, the median annual salary for medical records and health information technicians was $34,970. The bottom 10% earned $22,700, and the top 10% earned $57,320.
You can advance your career by obtaining a master’s degree and becoming a health information manager. You can also obtain advanced specialty certifications in order to broaden your career prospects. Those with strong knowledge of computers and technology will likely have access to the best job opportunities.
Deciding on the School for You
Medical billing, coding, and transcription specialists have an immense responsibility, as they are trusted with sensitive patient medical and financial information. Explore the educational options available in the field. Once you decide which path is right for you, start exploring medical billing and coding schools online to launch a rewarding career in this steadily growing industry.