The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

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Updated January 25, 2023

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Interested in medical coding? Learn to code diagnoses and procedures in the digital shorthand shared by hospitals, insurance companies, and government.

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Medical billers and coders transform patient diagnosis and treatment information into numerical codes that insurance companies and government agencies use to reimburse healthcare providers. Medical billing schools teach the clinical and clerical topics necessary to manage patient records and ensure claims are processed accurately.

If this career interests you, you can get an associate or bachelor's degree in medical billing and coding, healthcare administration, or health information management. You can also get started in a matter of months by earning a certificate, available at community colleges and medical billing and coding schools.

Why Attend a Medical Billing and Coding Program?

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Does Accreditation Matter for Medical Billing and Coding Schools?

Accreditation means that a recognized independent body has verified a school's academic programs and determined it provides a strong education on par with that of similar programs at other institutions.

This stamp of approval is important for the value of your credentials. Accreditation ensures that your credits can transfer between schools, that you can receive federal financial aid, and that employers will recognize your education. It also confirms you aren't enrolling at a scam “diploma mill."

Most colleges hold regional accreditation, administered by educational organizations in their part of the country. Schools offering specialized programs, such as medical billing and coding, may hold specialized programmatic accreditation.

Two of the trade associations that certify individuals in medical billing and coding — the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) — also accredit medical billing and coding schools.

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#1 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Black Hawk College

  • Moline, IL
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In State | $164-$265

Out of State | $270

Program Length: Two years

Black Hawk College's medical coding specialist certificate prepares you to work in healthcare information management. For this certificate, you'll take courses on medical terminology, diagnosis coding, and medical ethics. In your fourth and final semester, you will complete 240 hours of an internship.

This certificate prepares you for the role of medical coding specialist, as well as internet coding. BHC maintains an open-door admissions policy for anyone with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$7,650
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,743
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
71% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Central Maine Community College

  • Auburn, ME
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In State | $96

Out of State | $288

Program Length: 1-2 years

The medical coding and electronic health records program at Central Maine Community College is a flexible program that prepares you to work at clinics, hospitals, computer software companies, and government agencies. After completing the program, you can choose to enter the workforce immediately or transfer to a four-year college.

You can earn an associate degree or a certificate and may complete coursework 100% online or on campus. Prospective students must submit high school or college transcripts to apply.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,880
Out-of-state
$5,760
Retention Rate
52%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,115
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
74% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Washtenaw Community College

  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In District | $95

Out of District, In State | $169

Out of State | $239

Program Length: 1.5 years

Washtenaw Community College's certificate in medical billing and coding can strengthen your skills in classifying, reporting, and managing medical data. The program prepares you for roles such as clinical data manager, medical transcriptionist, and health information technologist.

After completing the program, you may be eligible to take certain medical coding exams. To meet admission requirements, you must earn at least a C in BIO 109 or BIO 111 and in medical terminology (HSC 124).

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,936
Out-of-state
$5,448
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,140
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Phoenix College

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Avg. Cost per Credit:

Maricopa County Residents | $85

Out of County, In State | $472

Out of State | $241-$326

Program Length: Two years

Phoenix College's medical billing and coding program prepares you to work as a medical biller and coder in a number of settings. You can earn your certificate in physician-based medical billing and coding or in hospital-based medical coding.

You must formally apply and get accepted into the medical billing certificate program you wish to enroll in. You must also get an Arizona Department of Public Safety Level One Fingerprint Clearance Card and fulfill all background check requirements.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,040
Out-of-state
$7,824
Retention Rate
55%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,538
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Delaware County Community College

  • Media, PA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In State | $260

Out of State | $390

Program Length: One semester to two years

Delaware County Community College's medical coding and billing program has AHIMA's Approved Coding Certificate Program designation. You can choose between a certificate in medical billing or a certificate in medical coding and billing. You can also choose to pursue an associate degree in medical coding and billing.

Both the associate degree and certificate in medical coding and billing qualify you to sit for certification exams. You must submit SAT or ACT scores or complete the college's placement test to meet admission requirements.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$11,250
Retention Rate
55%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,989
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#6 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Butler County Community College

  • Butler, PA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Avg. Cost per Credit:

Butler County Residents | $177-$202

Out of County, In State | $280-$305

Out of State | $380

Program Length: One year

The medical coding and billing specialist certificate from Butler Community Community College qualifies you for licensure in the state of Pennsylvania and allows you to sit for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam. The program teaches you how to perform administrative and billing procedures and use coding systems in medical documentation.

In your final semester, you'll take a course that prepares you for medical coding certification. First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and take any necessary placement tests.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,690
Out-of-state
$9,690
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,984
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#7 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Rowan College at Burlington County

  • Mount Laurel, NJ
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Avg. Cost per Credit:

Burlington County Residents | $142

Out of County, In State | $159

Out of State | $224

Program Length: One year

The medical billing specialist certificate at Rowan College at Burlington County helps you learn the skills needed to pass the Certified Professional Biller (CfPB) exam. Coursework focuses on coding, medical terminology, human anatomy, and billing and claims processing.

RCBC has an open-enrollment policy and accepts all applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. This certificate program may be completed 100% online.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,806
Out-of-state
$5,548
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,316
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#8 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Georgia Piedmont Technical College

  • Clarkston, GA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In State | $100

Out of State | $200

Program Length: One year

Georgia Piedmont Technical College's medical billing clerk technical certificate teaches you about medical insurance, billing, and reimbursement. In this program, you'll take courses in computer literacy and medical documentation.

You can also take electives in typing, web design, and office management, or you can complete an internship to meet elective requirements. First-year students must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores with their applications.

Average Tuition
In-state
$2,400
Out-of-state
$4,800
Retention Rate
51%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,615
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Montgomery County Community College

  • Blue Bell, PA
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In County | $148

Out of County, In State | $296

Out of State | $444

Program Length: 1-5 semesters

The medical coding certificate from Montgomery County Community College goes over how to apply medical codes accurately, use reimbursement and payments systems, and comply with HIPAA standards. This program equips you with the skills needed to work as a medical coder in a variety of healthcare settings.

You'll also be qualified to sit for the CPC exam. Students must submit official transcripts to apply.

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,640
Out-of-state
$12,960
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
9,827
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
91% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#10 The 10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools of 2023

Flathead Valley Community College

  • Kalispell, MT
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Avg. Cost per Credit:

In District | $138

Out of District, In State | $189

Out of State | $400

Program Length: Two years

This associate of applied science in medical coding degree from Flathead Valley Community College teaches you how to find the appropriate codes for different medical terms and how to abstract code data from medical records. Coursework emphasizes the math and technical skills needed to succeed as a medical coder. You can also fulfill program requirements by completing an internship.

First-year applicants must complete placement testing and submit transcripts. Some courses are only offered online.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,376
Out-of-state
$10,800
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,049
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Which Medical Billing and Coding Certification Is Best?

Medical billing and coding certification — awarded by certifying bodies rather than schools — verifies your skills and tells employers you're up to the job. Many medical coders have certifications from both AAPC and AHIMA.

AAPC is associated with outpatient settings, like doctor's offices, urgent care, and specialist clinics. AHIMA is associated with inpatient settings — long-term care, hospice, and nursing facilities. Other big names include the National Healthcareer Association and Practice Management Institute.

There's a long list of certifications you can get. Earning certification means taking a multi-hour, open-book exam that costs between $200 and $400.

While many billing and coding certification exams don't have strict education or work experience requirements, all strongly recommend first receiving an education and spending time on the job. Higher levels of certification frequently require continuing education.

Basic Credentials

  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB): These certificates from AAPC are widely recognized. Certified professionals can earn salaries between $56,652 and $58,055, according to a 2022 survey. Candidates may opt for either the coding or billing certificate or earn dual certification for greater employment potential.
  • Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC): This certificate from AAPC commands the highest salary among the organization's "Core Credentials" — $64,995 as of 2022. CRCs' competitive wages derive from the value they provide to employers by accurately coding high-risk patients.
  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA): This certificate from AHIMA allows you to work across a spectrum of healthcare settings for an annual salary of $62,804, according to ZipRecruiter. After earning this entry-level certification, CCAs may advance their careers by taking the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) or Certified Coding Specialist–Physician-based (CCS-P) exams.

Advanced Credentials

  • Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA): This certificate from AAPC enables billers and coders to advance their careers by stepping into compliance roles earning an average annual salary of $70,320. Medical auditors ensure that a healthcare provider's coding and documentation practices avoid liability and secure correct reimbursement.
  • Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO): This certificate from AAPC represents the highest-paid cadre of billers and coders certified by that organization, with an annual salary of $80,550. These compliance officers ensure that a healthcare system's billing and coding practices cohere with changing laws and guidelines.
  • Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner (CDIP): This certificate from AHIMA holds the highest earning potential of the organization's certificates — over $70,000 with five years of experience and nearly $80,000 with 10 years of experience. CDIPs work to improve the policies and practices of the medical billing and coding field.

How Much Can You Make as a Medical Biller and Coder?

Salaries vary for medical billers and coders based on role, employer, location, and certification. Taking exams to earn higher credentials from medical billing and coding associations garners higher salaries.

Among the certificates awarded by AAPC, the entry-level Certified Professional Billers credential earns over $55,000 per year. The highest-paid, the Certified Professional Compliance Officer credential, earns over $80,000.

While the exams do not have education or work experience requirements, credentials with higher earning potential recommend more of both — a minimum of an associate degree in healthcare and two years of relevant experience.

Median Annual Salary 2022 by Certification

  • Certified Professional Biller (CPB®): $56,650
  • Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC®): $57,940
  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC®): $58,060
  • Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P™): $60,750
  • Certified Outpatient Coder (COC®): $62,850
  • Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC®): $65,000
  • Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA®): $70,320
  • Certified Professional Practice Manager (CPPM®): $70,900
  • Certified Documentation Expert-Outpatient (CDEO®): $73,720
  • Certified Professional Coder-Instructor (CPC-I™): $74,820
  • Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO®): $80,550

Source: American Academy of Professional Coders

Where Do Medical Coders Get Paid the Most?

Medical billers and coders hold in-demand skills in the vast and ever-growing healthcare industry. These skills earn good pay coast to coast, but just how good varies by up to 53%, according to the AAPC.

The AAPC's 2022 survey revealed that medical billers and coders make the most in Washington, D.C. (where the average salary is $70,840), and the least in Mississippi (with an average salary of $46,250). Regional differences in salaries reflect regional differences in economies. Across the country, billing and coding professionals earn an average of $54,800 annually.

What Courses Do You Take in a Medical Billing and Coding School?

Student billers and coders take hybrid courses in medical and clerical matters. Medical subjects focus on language — both the medical Latin and curt shorthand of hospital settings — and how to translate those terms into thousands of codes. Office administration skills focus on the billing communications between healthcare providers, insurance, government agencies, and patients.

  • Medical Billing and Health Insurance

    The core skills of the medical billing and coding trade center on the reimbursement processes of health insurance and government agencies, like Medicare and Medicaid. Because improperly coded claims are regularly rejected, requiring time-consuming resubmission, students need a solid understanding of coding procedures, payment systems, and fee schedules.
  • Coding for Hospital Applications/Medical Office Applications

    Students learn to submit and manage standard hospital billing claim forms, interpret medical data, and perform basic coding with two or more coding systems. Widely used systems such as CPT, ICD-9, and ICD-10 provide a shorthand for diseases, conditions, sicknesses, diagnoses, and treatments.
  • Medical Terminology

    Translating medical services to code requires familiarity with medical terms, from the names of obscure ailments to surgical jargon. Student medical billers learn the origin and fundamentals of medical Latin, alongside the terminology and shorthand of laboratories and pharmacies. Courses cover words for basic anatomy, body systems, and major fields like oncology.
  • Medical Contracts, Ethics, and HIPAA

    Because medical billers and coders handle private information, their education includes training in ethics. Topics include care contracts, protected health information and disclosure under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and electronic health record incentives offered under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.
  • Medical Office Procedures

    Medical office administration includes managing electronic, telephone, and print mail, business letter writing, logistics planning, and task management.

Medical Billing and Coding Degree vs. Certificate

There's a wide array of educational options available to aspiring medical billers and coders. You can enter billing and coding quickly through fast-paced certification. Those who want more career paths open to them in healthcare administration should consider an associate or bachelor's degree.

In most fields, college degrees command significantly higher salaries, but medical billing and coding bucks that trend. Professional billers and coders earn similar salaries (between $50,000 and $60,000) whether they have received no college education, some college education, an associate degree, or a bachelor's degree. It takes a master's degree to see a significant uptick in income, cresting toward $70,000.

Q&A With a Real Medical Billing and Coding Specialist



Q: Is there a lot of technical change to keep up on in the medical billing and coding field? What is the continuing education experience like?


"[In medical billing,] every year we receive new and/or updated ICD-10 Diagnosis code changes October 1 and new or updated CPT changes January 1, so every year you will need to have new manuals. … There are also continual CMS (Medicare) updated guidelines throughout the year. In addition, you would need to earn CEUs yearly to renew your certification. In my case, it's 36 CEUs every two years for a Certified Professional Coder with the AAPC. This can be done with conferences, webinars, local meetings, etc."

 — Julie Muniz, CPC

Q: In your experience, what are the most valuable credentials a medical biller and coder can receive?


"I would say the CPC for professional coding and the CPB for professional billing. Certification already starts you off at a higher salary level and, of course, any experience you have before your certification will also add to your compensation. There are many other certifications if you are interested in other areas, such as in-patient hospitals, risk management, auditing, and compliance. There are also specialty certifications within the medical coding field that can increase your compensation and promotion."

 — Julie M., CPC

Q: What are the most rewarding aspects of medical billing and coding?


"The appreciation of the physician group that I work for with employee acknowledgments throughout the year. Also, the opportunity to work from home is huge."

 — Julie M., CPC

Q: What are the most challenging aspects of medical billing and coding?


"In my day-to-day, it's staying focused reading operative reports and deciphering the procedure(s) that the physician performed. Insurance company appeals can be very challenging when a code is denied. And also staying up to date on coding guidelines."

 — Julie M., CPC

Q: What advice would you give someone looking to enter the field?


"Definitely get your basic certification to get your foot in the door. Many employers will not hire without having at least a CPC designation. I have many co-workers who left other fields to learn medical coding and love it. It's a great field to get into."

 — Julie M., CPC

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Billing and Coding

Can you do medical coding without a degree?

Yes. Medical billers and coders frequently learn their trade on the job. That said, employment and compensation potential can be fast-tracked — and maximized — by getting an education that enables you to pass challenging exams the first time.

How long does it take to become a medical coder?

Most medical billing and coding programs can be completed in under a year. After receiving an education, billing and coding certification exams, which may be completed online, take a few hours.

Is it hard to learn to be a medical coder?

Getting the hang of billing, coding, and software essentials, as well as medical terminology, can be challenging, but the knowledge and skills of a medical coder are readily attainable. Attending a quality program can help flatten the learning curve.

Where do medical billers and coders work?

A growing share of medical billers and coders work for large health systems — more than half as of 2022 — while a shrinking number work for small physician practices. This trend impacts the average income of professional billers and coders, as large healthcare employers pay more than private practitioners.

Should you go to medical billing and coding school online?

Online education in medical billing and coding is readily available, but it is not always cheaper than local in-person options. Be sure to check the pricing for classes and materials. That said, if you are interested in the medical billing and coding field's potential for remote work, online education offers the same perks as working from home.


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