If you’re one of those conscientious people who are highly organized and achievement oriented, you could put those valued skills to work in any number of health care specialties.
But why not select an area that anticipates a 15 percent growth rate through 2024? As a medical biller and coder, that’s the industry growth figure you’ll be looking at, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Even better, if you’re currently working or have family obligations but want to go back to school or start a new career, you could earn your diploma, certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree from online medical billing classes.
About the Industry
Medical billers and coders are integral to the health care industry as they ensure that doctors are paid by the insurance companies, and that patient records are properly coded under a universally-recognized system. As a medical biller, you’ll need to keep up on changes in the field and have as much adaptability as detail-orientation. Here are just some of your future job duties:
- Assigning codes to specific illnesses, injuries and medical procedures
- Ensuring compliance with federal regulations and insurance requirements
- Maintaining precise and accurate patient records
Online Medical Billing Program Options
Your current personal responsibilities will inform which type of online degree program you’ll want to undertake, but the good news is you have every option available to you. If you’d like to move into an administration or management role in the future, a bachelor’s degree is a must. Those of you who want to move into the field quickly can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and be ready to begin your search for work in as little as nine months.
|Online Degree Program||Time to Completion||Average Tuition*|
|Certificate or Diploma||9 months to 18 months||$2,860 – $6,120|
|Associate's degree||2 years||$6,428|
|Bachelor's degree||4 years||$35,572|
A couple of things to stress while you search for your online school are the importance of choosing a school that’s been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the American Health Information Management Association. You’ll find that most employers will prefer to hire candidates that have graduated from an accredited program.
Also, if meeting the tuition for your online program presents a problem, you’ll be glad to hear that financial aid may be available for online school.
What You’ll Learn in Your Online Course
By the time you graduate from your accredited online medical billing program you should be prepared to move into your new profession with confidence. Not that it will be easy going. Your studies will include some rigorous course work, and just because your classes are online doesn’t mean they’ll be easier than those at a traditional school. Here’s a small sampling of your curriculum:
- Insurance claim filing procedures
- Insurance fraud
- Medical coding, including Current Procedural Technology, International Classification of Diseases and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System
- Basic office administration
- Medical office terminology
- Medical terminology
Salaries for Graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for medical records and health information technicians is $35,900. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
With so many options and online medical billing and coding programs available from top accredited schools, it’s time to pursue your dreams to advance your career—or begin a new career chapter entirely.
*Based on in-state tuition from accredited public schools.
Source: College Board's Trends in College Pricing 2013, collegeboard.org