The healthcare industry has experienced significant changes over the last few years.
This, coupled with a rise in our aging population and the digitization of medical records, has resulted in an increased demand for healthcare workers.
This need isn’t limited to medical professionals but also extends to health information technicians, including medical coding and billing specialists.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that medical coding and billing is one of the fastest-growing professions in the healthcare industry.
In fact, the Bureau has projected a growth of 8% by 2026.
This is higher than the national average for all U.S. occupations.
How Much Does it Cost to Complete Medical Billing and Coding Training?
The cost to complete medical billing and coding training varies depending upon a number of factors.
These factors include location, level of education, type of program, and which certification you choose.
While not a requirement, many individuals elect to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a 4-year college or university.
Should you choose this path, you will need to complete all required prerequisites before focusing on your specific major.
Most medical billing and coders with a bachelor’s degree major in health care administration or health information management.
The average annual cost to complete a bachelor’s degree ranges from $26,000 to over $108,000, depending on whether you attend a public university in-state or out-of-state.
Nonprofit and private universities cost between $55,500 and $223,000 annually.
While a bachelor’s degree can help with career advancement and potential earnings, it is not a requirement.
Most medical billing and coding professionals choose to fast-track their careers by attending a certificate program.
Most medical coding and billing certificate programs offer students more control and flexibility over their education.
Students can choose between an online program, instructor-led courses, or a combination of both.
The cost to complete the program ranges from $1,200 to $5,500, depending on the school, location, and structure of the program.
Programs can be completed in as little as 16 weeks and can take as long as one year.
Most institutions offer financial aid and scholarships to help offset the cost of the program.
Additional Costs After Completion of Medical Billing and Coding Training?
After completing the necessary coursework, it’s time to consider which certification you want to pursue.
While certification isn’t required by all employers, it can significantly impact the positions you qualify for and your annual income.
There are three certifications you’ll want to consider.
1. Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) Certification
Offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the CBCS is ideal for individuals new to the field.
It validates the student’s foundational medical billing and coding knowledge, ensuring they have the skills to work in the field.
The cost of the exam is $160.
2. Certified Professional Coder (CPC) Certification
The most sought-after certification is the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification, which is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
Outpatient coding across the entire healthcare industry is the primary focus of this certification.
The cost of the exam is $299.
To obtain this certification, you must also become a member of the AAPC.
Annual membership fees are $140 for students and $205 for individuals.
3. Certified Coding Associate (CCA) Certification
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certification.
This certification focuses on coding skills and procedures, covering everything from compliance to recordkeeping and confidentiality.
The cost of the exam is $199 for members and $299 for non-members.
Is Medical Coding and Billing a Good Career Investment?
Medical billers and coders play a critical role in the healthcare system.
As a medical biller, you would be responsible for insurance-related tasks, including confirming eligibility, obtaining test and treatment authorization, and processing claims.
Medical coders translate all documentation into medical codes, ensure insurance and government compliance, and review records for accuracy.
As a medical coding and billing professional, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a variety of employers including private medical facilities, insurance companies, research practices, and hospitals.
Many positions offer the flexibility of working remotely as a freelance medical biller and coder.
Additional benefits of obtaining Medical billing and coding certification include:
Competitive pay – Industry professionals earn an annual salary of between $47,400 and $62,000.
The profession’s median salary is $53,900.
Industry demand and job stability – With projected annual growth of 8% and an increase in health care needs, the demand for qualified medical billing and coding professionals stands to increase over the next decade.
Quick entry into the profession – Many programs can be completed in less than 6 months.
This makes entry into the industry faster than more healthcare professions.
Advancement opportunities – There is much room for advancement in this profession.
Many medical billing and coding specialists go on to become auditors, consultants, compliance officers, or supervisors.
Rewarding career – In addition to being intellectually stimulating, medical billers and coders play a pivotal role in the healthcare industry.
Their work directly impacts the health and financial stability of both providers and patients.