Medical billers and coders convert patient treatment and diagnostic information into numerical codes used by government agencies and insurance companies to reimburse medical providers.
Medical billing training programs teach students the required clerical topics to ensure claims are processed correctly and manage patient records at medical facilities.
One of the primary benefits of becoming a medical billing specialist is that you can work at any medical location, from hospitals to dental offices and specialty clinics.
Medical billers work in an administrative role at the front end of the house.
Becoming a medical billing and coding specialist is an excellent steppingstone to start a medical career.
A training program is necessary to start, so keep reading to learn more about the best online medical billing and coding programs!
Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Training Programs
Many online medical billing and coding training programs exist, so finding the best option for your career objectives is essential.
The following are some of the top programs in the country:
Central Georgia Technical College
The Medical Coding Technical Certificate offered by CGTC is an entirely online program. Created as a 24-credit hour medical billing and coding advanced training option, this program is ideal for those seeking to advance their healthcare role.
Tuition for this program is $3,000 inclusive of all materials and fees.
The curriculum also prepares students for the national certified professional coder examinations.
Program topics include:
- Medical records
- Medical billing and coding
- Medical procedural coding skills
- Medical documentation
- Structure and function of the human body
- Human diseases
- Physicians’ procedural coding skills
The school also offers a certificate program to current high school students that provides an introduction to the field.
This 10-hour program grants graduates a Medical Coding Essentials Certificate and has four courses:
Human Diseases, Introduction to Keyboarding, Medical Insurance Management, and Medical Terminology for Allied Health Services.
Central Maine Community College
CMCC is one of the seven Maine Community College system colleges in Auburn.
The school has a small student population of over 3,000 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1.
This smaller ratio allows for a more personalized education due to smaller class sizes.
CMCC offers an associate in applied science degree program, which requires a two-year commitment.
As one of the top accredited online medical billing programs on this list, the curriculum was crafted to prepare students for entry-level roles within this professional medical field or to pursue a bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding.
The program also helps students respond to the increased demand for skilled coding specialists.
The program requires 28 to 30 credits to graduate, all of which can be completed online or in a hybrid format.
CMCC also has a one-year online certificate program, an excellent option for those who want to enter the field quickly.
Tuition is $3,864 annually, including all books, materials, and fees.
Cosumnes River College
Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California, has two educational paths: a Medical Insurance Billing Certificate and a Health Information Coding Specialist Certificate.
The Medical Insurance Billing Certificate program is a self-paced, online offering that requires 16.5 credit hours for graduation.
The certificate prepares students for entry-level work in insurance billing by providing foundational courses covering human diseases, proper coding, procedures, and medical language.
The Health Information Coding Specialist Certificate requires 36 credit hours to earn, leading to more advanced career opportunities within the industry.
The curriculum prepares students for national certification exams like the Certified Professional Coder exam.
The program covers the same topics as the Billing Certificate but expands to computer information science, statistics and probability, healthcare information technology, quality improvement, and legal and ethical issues.
The Specialist Certificate also requires an internship to provide firsthand experience in a medical setting—all-inclusive tuition costs around $1,300.
Cowley County Community College
Headquartered in Arkansas City, Kansas, a two-year communication college, CCCC has two online, self-paced medical billing and coding paths: a Medical Coding Vocational Certificate and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Coding.
Both programs are taught by professors with industry experience.
The Medical Coding Vocational Certificate prepares students as entry-level medical coders through this 35-credit program, which requires a one-year time commitment.
The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Medical Coding builds on the certificate curriculum by adding word processing, communication, database management, and other valuable professional skills that apply to any medical facility.
This path awards a two-year associate degree after 35 credit hours.
Some of the courses in the program include Medical Terminology, Bioethics, Ethical and Legal Issues, Healthcare Coding, the International Classification of Disease, Reimbursement Methodologies, and Pharmacology.
Tuition for both programs costs $3,420, including all fees, materials, and books.
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
GPTC in Clarkston, Georgia, is a two-year public college that services around 2,500 students across 180 programs and an incredible student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1.
The school has a 22-credit hour Medical Billing Clerk Technical Certificate, which was developed to teach students standard operating procedures within the position.
The program is a helpful balance of business and occupational lessons, including:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Healthcare Coding
- Medical Documentation Production
- Introduction to Computer Literacy
- Medical and Legal Terminology
- Web Page Design
- Personal Effectiveness
- Medical Records Management
- Introduction to Business Culture
- Computer Graphics and Design
- Office Management
The all-inclusive tuition cost is $3,178, and the school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Kirtland Community College
KCC is a small public community college in Michigan with around 1,500 students.
Despite the small size, the school has 38 programs, including Medical Billing and Coding.
This certificate program is a self-paced, online format, meaning students can select the course load right for their lifestyle.
While most of the program is online, there are some on-campus requirements, so students must be a traveling distance to enroll.
The program gives students the skills to complete insurance claims, properly code diagnosis and treatment, issue collections, follow proper medical administrative procedures, and perform all required medical billing functions.
Tuition is $4,500, including books, fees, and other materials.
Madison Area Technical College
In Madison, Wisconsin, MATC is a large institution serving 12,000 students across 180 programs.
The school has two distinguished medical billing and coding paths.
The Medical Coding Specialist program leads to a technical diploma after completing the 35 credit hour requirement.
The typical completion time is a year-and-a-half, and students can choose an entirely online or hybrid format.
The curriculum prepares students for coding positions in all healthcare environments.
The Medical Billing Program is a one-year training resulting in a technical diploma.
The program requires 28 credit hours and prepares students for varying professional roles within the medical billing industry.
Graduates of both paths are prepared to sit for different professional exams costing $4,600.
Santa Barbara City College
SBCC is a two-year public community college in Santa Barbara, California.
As one of the oldest community colleges in California, the school has managed to maintain a high level of technology implementation into different curricula and invested in online program infrastructure.
In addition to being the oldest, it’s one of the most affordable programs on this list.
SBCC has a self-paced, entirely online Medical Coding Specialist Certificate program, which prepares students for the Certified Coding Associate exam, which prepares graduates for entry-level positions in all medical environments.
The program was also developed to prepare students for additional exams like Certified Coding Specialist, Certified Coding Specialist – Physician Based, and Certified Professional Coder.
The program has a strong reputation for aiding in minority student success, boosting its national recognition.
The asynchronous format is ideal for those working full-time or with other personal obligations, allowing them to continue their education online.
Lessons in this program cover legal and ethical aspects, pharmacology, coding processes and diagnostics, insurance and reimbursement, the human body, and information management.
As one of the least expensive on this list, the program’s tuition is only $1,200.
What Courses Are in an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program?
Different programs have varying course requirements based on the level of education you wish to pursue, which can be grouped into the following general topics:
- Disease and treatment classification
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Insurance policies
- Legal and ethical issues
- Medical terminology
- Quality improvement
- Various coding types
An associate degree covers the same topics in certificate programs but expands to include the following:
- Business communication
- Digital literacy
- Electronic medical records
- Health information management
- Management of coding services
- Medical Specialties
Can You Earn a Medical Billing and Coding Certification Completely Online?
An online medical billing and coding certification can be completed online.
It’s important to note that some programs require externships while others do not.
Regardless of the requirement, it’s highly beneficial to partake in an externship during or after the program as it can help you network and lead to a permanent position.
Also, it gives you in-field knowledge that cannot be gained in the classroom and boosts your credentials to potential employers.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Medical Billing and Coding Certification Online?
The online medical billing and coding certification time commitment depends on your educational goals.
For those who wish to enter the workforce as fast as possible, a program can be completed in six months without an externship.
An online medical billing and coding diploma typically takes one year to complete.
Associate’s and bachelor’s degrees usually take two and four years because they more closely follow the semester system, which has class completion time limits.
The only way to shorten these time requirements is through core class transfer credits from another program or school.
How Much Does an Online Medical Billing and Coding Certification Cost?
The least expensive online medical billing and coding certification on this list is $1,200, which is a bargain considering it is one of the best schools in the industry.
While a correlation between time and cost exists, it doesn’t necessarily make a school better or worse than another.
Price is critical in choosing which school you want to attend, but it’s not the only consideration.
Other factors include:
Every student has a different learning style, so understanding your learning approach is a great way to start eliminating schools from your list.
You want to find a program that best aligns with your learning type to maximize productivity and material retention.
Online Curriculum Design
During COVID, many traditional schools converted classes and programs into an online format without considering the design.
Given the lack of in-person discussion, online programs must be engaging and personalized to keep you interested in the material and pursuit of knowledge.
Therefore, there may be better options than schools that record live lectures or only have videos.
Reputation as an Online School
Like any business, some schools have a reputation for excellent online learning facilities, while others do not.
During your search, you want to learn more about the school’s online platform, curriculum design, online student engagement, and best online educational practices before deciding on a program.
School and Program Accreditation
A school and program accreditation is vital in choosing an online medical billing and coding certification program.
Accreditation allows students to apply for federal funding and ensures the quality of education based on professional reviews.
In some medical fields, those who attended an unaccredited school may not be able to become licensed.
While this isn’t the case for billing and coding, there could be negative repercussions if you plan to continue in the medical industry.
Faculty and staff quality are always a significant consideration when searching for online schools.
Plenty of professor reviews exist online for current and former students, so it’s crucial to know the education quality and how each school can meet your schooling and career goals.
The most important aspects to look for are how they engage and support students throughout each class and program.
A training program is required to become a medical coding and billing professional.
Finding the best option to meet your needs has many considerations, including learning atmosphere, online curriculum design, reputation, accreditation, and staff quality.
The schools on this list, which includes Santa Barbara City College, Cosumnes River College, Central Georgia Technical College, Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Cowley County Community College, Central Maine Community College, Kirtland Community College, and Madison Area Technical College, all check those boxes!