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Medical billing and coding schools prepare learners for jobs in the field. These professionals process medical information for healthcare providers and insurance companies. Medical billers and coders analyze electronic medical records. They also communicate with healthcare professionals, patients, and insurance companies.

Medical coders translate patients' medical conditions and treatments into codes for insurance companies. Medical billers send medical bills and process payments.

This page lists some of the top medical billing and coding programs. This guide also covers useful skills for medical billing and coding professionals. Read on to learn about schools for medical coding and billing and for insight from a professional medical coder.

Medical Billing and Coding Basics

Many medical billing and coding schools offer one-year certificate programs or two-year associate degrees. Some schools offer accelerated programs that allow learners to graduate sooner. Certificate programs require 30-40 credits and focus on applied, practical courses. Associate programs require 60 credits and include some general education requirements.

Both certificate and associate programs meet education requirements for medical billing and coding professional certification. Learners study medical terms and codes used in claims processing, billing, and payment. Enrollees also explore healthcare data management systems and technologies.

Tuition varies by program. Community college tuition averages $3,400 annually for in-state students, according to Learners who live out of state or attend private schools often pay much more. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Top Medical Billing and Coding Programs

See below for some of the nation's top accredited medical billing and coding schools. These schools provide affordable tuition and online learning options that accommodate working students. Prospective learners should research these and other programs to find the best fit for their career goals.

true Central Maine Community College Public No New England Commission of Higher Education

Concentrations Available: One-year certificate or two-year associate of applied science (AAS) in medical coding and electronic health records

CMCC offers an associate in medical coding and electronic health records. The degree requires 60-62 credits. Learners can complete the program on campus or 100% online. This program prepares enrollees for entry-level careers or for bachelor's programs. Learners may complete a one-year certificate program instead of the associate program. The certificate requires 28-30 credits.

AAS enrollees learn how to code medical information. They also learn how to follow medical coding ethics and health records privacy laws. Learners study various health insurance plans and explore how to calculate reimbursements. Online learners can access research help, academic advising, and online tutoring.

Worthington Foundation Scholarship

true Highland Community College Public Yes Higher Learning Commission

Concentrations Available: Associate of applied science (AAS) in medical coding

HCC's online medical coding program prepares graduates for the American Health Information Management Association's Certified Coding Associate or Certified Coding Specialist professional exams.

Learners can complete the 65-credit program in two years. Students complete 41 credits of courses covering medical billing and coding topics. These include reimbursement methodologies and legal issues in healthcare. Enrollees also take courses on healthcare information compliance.

General education requirements include one social science course and one arts and humanities elective. Enrollees complete 10 credits in communication and computer skills courses. HCC requires a healthcare coding practicum. Enrollees can complete these clinical hours at an approved coding facility.

Applicants need a high school or GED diploma.

R.E. French Family Foundation Scholarship for medical, nursing, or business majors

true Central Texas College Public No Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Concentrations Available: Associate of applied science (AAS) and a certificate program

CTC features online and hybrid versions of its two medical coding and billing programs. The certificate program and the AAS degree prepare graduates for professional certification examinations. The 42-credit medical coding and billing certificate program follows a set curriculum. Learners complete courses in medical terminology, medical insurance, and coding. Enrollees also study anatomy and physiology.

Students who complete their certificate can pursue entry-level careers or stack their credits toward CTC's AAS in medical coding and billing. The 60-credit AAS program includes similar medical coding and billing coursework plus general education requirements and electives.

The CTC Foundation offers about 170 scholarships annually.

Online vs. On-Campus Learning Opportunities

Schools may offer medical billing and coding programs on campus or entirely online. Some programs feature hybrid formats with online and in-person components. Students should consider their learning preferences and lifestyle to choose the best fit. See below for the benefits of both formats.

Online Benefits

Online learning provides flexibility, affordability, and accessibility. Learn about these benefits below.

Many online programs allow enrollees to choose their own pace. Learners can pursue full-time, part-time, or accelerated programs. Online programs often run asynchronously. Enrollees do not attend classes at set times. Instead, they complete coursework around their schedules.

Many schools offer discounted tuition rates to online students. Some schools allow out-of-state online learners to pay in-state tuition rates. By studying from home, online learners save on commuting costs. They also do not pay for campus housing or meal plans.

Online learners can attend the most affordable programs without relocating. They can also study while traveling or vacationing. Students attending online medical and billing schools can access coursework anywhere with internet service.

An online format makes education more accessible for students with different learning styles and abilities. Online learners can pace themselves, spending more time on difficult or new concepts. They can move quicker through easier material. Most online programs provide various visual and auditory learning tools to accommodate student preferences.

On-Campus Benefits

Many students find on-campus learning more engaging. Learners can use campus facilities and participate in school events. On-campus learning also allows for networking with peers and professors. Learn more about these benefits below.

Attending class at set times can help learners stay on track. Some students find that seeing their professors helps them stay accountable. Showing up to class adds structure, which can help students who struggle with self-discipline and motivation.

On-campus learners can meet with professors to discuss questions and goals. Many schools also foster community partnerships with local businesses and organizations. These connections can help students access internships and jobs.

Some learners prefer to move through their courses and programs with an in-person peer cohort. Interaction with peers offers social benefits, including new friendships. On-campus clubs, activities, and programs also provide networking opportunities. These opportunities may support students' social and professional lives.

On-campus students may find it easier to find outside learning opportunities such as internships. Partnerships between schools and local organizations connect on-campus learners to classes, training, and professional experiences. On-campus enrollees can also attend sessions with guest speakers. These relationships can help learners build their professional networks.

Medical Billing and Coding Skills

Studying medical billing and coding builds important skills. Learners can use these skills in various contexts. See below for some of the many skills associated with medical billing and coding.

Medical billers and coders interact with medical providers, patients, and insurance companies. They communicate in person and via phone and email. Medical billers and coders need strong writing and speaking skills. This skill can help them handle accounts and resolve disputes.

Medical records and health information specialists spend their days converting health information into data that insurance companies can process easily. Billers and coders must analyze healthcare and financial data to communicate between insurance companies and patients. Medical billing and coding schools teach students how to manage healthcare financial data.

Teamwork skills help medical billers and coders gather information from patients and medical personnel. Larger medical practices may employ teams of medical billing specialists who collaborate on deadlines, workflow, and assignments.

Medical billing and coding professionals must know common insurance practices and policies. Medical coders convert data into codes that insurance companies use when processing claims. These professionals must also know how government programs such as Medicaid process and pay for patients' medical expenses.

Accurate medical billing and coding relies on careful observation and processing of records, bills, and payments. Billers and coders must check their work carefully to ensure correct entries. Medical practices expect medical billing specialists to detect and correct payment, tax, and bookkeeping errors.

Foundational research skills prove useful in many fields, including medical billing and coding. Medical billing specialists must sometimes research insurance company policies to appeal on patients' behalf. Medical billing and coding students learn how to conduct research. They also learn how to analyze and communicate their findings effectively.

Medical coders convert medical conditions and services into codes for insurance and billing purposes. These professionals must know related medical terms to understand and correctly process medical records and insurance claims. Medical billing and coding schools offer medical terminology courses that can support various healthcare careers.

Strong organizational skills can help professionals in any career, including medical billing and coding. These detail-oriented jobs require efficient practices and technologies for organizing data. Medical billing and coding professionals often need to find information quickly to answer questions over the phone.

Medical billers and coders handle sensitive medical and financial information. These professionals must understand and follow HIPAA regulations that protect patient privacy. Medical billers must also follow information security protocols that protect patients from online fraud and theft.

Expert Advice From a Professional Medical Coder

Q. What Key Qualities Lead to Success as a Medical Coder?

These professionals should be detail-oriented and inquisitive. Medical coding requires investigation. Coders should stay curious about what they are coding. They should want to research and find authoritative sources to support their decisions.

Q. What Should Prospective Students Consider When Looking for a Program?

Students should consider their end goal. Different programs feature different focuses. Some focus on hospital in-patient settings. Others focus on physicians' offices. Crossover exists, but students should know where they want to work.

Q. Can You Describe a Typical Career for a Coder?

The traditional coding position involves deskwork. However, coders can do almost anything. Coders may work as quality reviewers, auditors, consultants, or educators. Some positions involve travel or leading meetings. Coders often want to work from home, leading many hospitals and health systems to allow coders to work remotely.

Q. Is It Important To Have a Specialty?

Coders in specialty areas such as neurosurgery, orthopedics, and gastroenterology are in high demand. Professionals can do well on a broad coding basis. However, specialty coders who really understand the anatomy, terminology, and rules in their specialty are especially needed.

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