Online medical billing and coding degrees offer prospective students welcomed opportunities for pursuing careers in a field that is currently in the midst of rapid growth. As medical billing and coding continues to expand, more students are choosing online programs for reasons that range from necessity to convenience to marketability.
Work, children, and school are just some of the most common obstacles that interfere with a would-be billing and coding professional’s education. Online degree programs allow students to manage their time in a way that works for them. Having a busy schedule need no longer be a prohibiting obstacle for students who want to improve their skills and qualifications in a lucrative field. Aside from schedule management, many students choose an online medical billing and coding degree program simply for the convenience of studying at home or in a coffee shop, avoiding traffic jams, long commutes, and parking lots.
Medical billing and coding students also have a wide variety of choice when it comes to specific degrees and certifications offered by online billing and coding programs. An employer may ask that job applicants possess a particular credential. Before the advent of online degree programs this may have posed an insurmountable obstacle. Nowadays this can be overcome with the click of a mouse, and students have the opportunity to earn the most competitive degrees and certifications at their fingertips.
What to Expect from an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program
Online medical billing and coding education programs can result in or lead to a wide variety of degrees and certifications. The following examples are some of the most popular:
- Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
- Associate in Applied Science in Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
- Medical Billing and Coding Diploma
- Registered Health Information Administrator/Technician
- Certified Coding Associate/Specialist
- Medical Coding and Billing Associate of Applied Science
- Certified Professional Coder
- Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist
Online degree and certification programs can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. The educational institutions that sponsor these programs are up-front about what you can expect, and the following information is usually displayed on the main degree or certification page:
- Length of program
- Prerequisites for entry
- Tests and credits required for graduation and program completion
- Resulting credential or degree
- Student reviews
Online Medical Billing and Coding Course Curriculums
The curriculum of online medical billing and coding schools varies according to the specific area of the credential, however there are some common subjects studied across the board:
- ICD-9 and ICD-10 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems)
- Processing medical records and healthcare claims
- State and federal laws pertaining to the billing, coding, and insurance fields
- Anatomy and physiology, basic human biology, and body systems
- Fundamentals of pharmacology
- Billing and coding computer software programs
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
- Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)
- HIPAA Regulations (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)
Once prospective students have located an online medical billing and coding degree or certificate program that looks appealing, the next step will be to check its admission dates and deadlines. Some programs have open or ongoing enrollment, however others have admission cut-offs.