By DeVry University
Medical billing and coding play a vital role in the United States healthcare system. This dynamic field offers people the opportunity to make a tangible impact in the lives of patients and care providers by ensuring that everyone receives the highest possible standard of care at an accurate and reasonable cost. If you've been considering a move into this field, you've probably found yourself wondering how to choose the best online medical billing and coding program for you.
In this article, we'll help you learn about this vital profession and help you choose which online medical billing and coding program is best for you as you explore the following sections:
What Makes a Good Online Medical Billing and Coding Program?
There are several factors that can help you determine whether or not an online medical billing and coding program is high quality. Some of these factors are fixed, like whether or not key topics are thoroughly covered, and others are dependent upon your needs, like flexible scheduling.
In general, there are some basic elements that any program should have. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Knowledgeable professors: While not exclusive to an online medical billing and coding program, having knowledgeable professors goes a long way toward a positive education experience. Ideally, your professors will have experience both teaching the material and working within the field.
- Certification preparation: Many medical billing and coding jobs may require or at least recommend having an industry certification. Three of the most common certifications are the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and Certified Coding Associate (CCA). A good program will include course material that helps you build the knowledge you'll need to prepare for one or more of these exams.
- Comprehensive review of medical terminology basics: Medical billing and coding does not require you to be able to perform a medical procedure, but it does require you to know the terminology. Your program should teach you about the terminology used in medical procedures, pharmacology and anatomy. This will be extremely useful when assigning codes to procedures in a professional setting.
- Review of medical codes: One of the most important aspects of medical billing and coding is having an understanding of the medical codes used for billing patients and insurance companies. A good program should teach you about the different classifications used and how to use and navigate medical billing and coding databases and software.
- Hands-on coursework: Finally, an effective medical billing and coding program will integrate hands-on learning experiences. Even though the program may be online, you should still receive opportunities to utilize the knowledge you've gained and apply it to real-world scenarios.
Of course, these are not the only qualities that can help you determine the best online medical billing and coding program for you. There are several other factors that you'll need to take into account, such as cost, flexibility and admissions standards. Using this list will help you narrow down your list of prospective programs, making your search much faster and easier.
Choosing the Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Program
Now that you know the basics about what constitutes a quality program, it's time to explore how you can choose the best one for you. First, it's important to remember that while input from outside sources is certainly useful for pointing you in the right direction, they are not the last word on your search. The best program is the one that meets your unique needs. That could mean a more affordable program, a faster program or one with a flexible schedule.
While no one can tell you exactly what the best program is for your needs, you should evaluate programs based on the following personal criteria:
- Program cost: The financial cost of a program matters when it comes to your future. You need to find a program that meets the level of quality that you require for a cost that you can afford. As a student pursuing an Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding Program at DeVry University, you may apply and qualify for grants or scholarships which may help you pay for the cost of your program. Visit our Tuition and Financial Aid page for more information.
- Program length: Depending on your reason for enrolling in a medical billing and coding program, you may need to find a program that can be completed more quickly. Be sure to check out the length of the program at the institution you are researching. Keep in mind that program lengths can vary based on how many classes you take at once and if you plan to attend class year-round.
- Program flexibility: If you have a job and need to continue working during your time in an online medical billing and coding program, flexibility should be a priority in your search. Some programs are more rigid, requiring you to take classes on a strict schedule to earn your credential. Other programs allow you to move at your own pace.
- Impact on future education: If you plan on working toward an associate or bachelor's degree in the future, then you'll want to find a program that offers stackable degrees and certificates. A stackable program means that you can leverage the credits earned during your online medical billing and coding undergraduate certificate program toward an associate or bachelor's degree in a related field in the future.
How Much Does an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program Cost?
The cost of a medical billing and coding program can vary based on many factors, such as the school you plan to attend, length of the program and any qualifying transfer credits you may have from previous coursework in this field.
It’s also important to understand the additional tools and resources that may be included in your tuition costs, as those can go a long way in helping you to learn more effectively and efficiently. Evaluating these resources can help you determine which school will offer you the most support for your money. Examples of resources include:
- E-library tools
- Counseling services
- Online student communities
- Networking opportunities
- Resume and job search support
To learn more about the costs of earning an Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding at DeVry, visit our Tuition page.
Online Medical Billing and Coding Program Prerequisites
Oftentimes, medical billing and coding programs are designed for those with little or no experience in the field and therefore do not have an extensive list of prerequisites. For example, our medical billing and coding program at DeVry requires only a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent, such as a GED. For complete admissions requirements, please refer to the academic catalog.
Career Outlook for Medical Billers and Coders
Upon completion of your medical billing and coding program, your ultimate goal is most likely to find a career within the field. Luckily, the field is growing much faster than the average growth rate for all industries in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to increase by 9% by 2030 on a national level1.
Additionally, the healthcare industry as a whole is currently experiencing significant growth. In fact, it is expected to increase its employment by 16% between 2020 and 2030, leading to 2.6 million new jobs on a national level, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics2.
Ready to Enroll in an Online Medical Billing and Coding Program?
If you're interested in a career in medical billing and coding, explore our online Medical Billing and Coding Undergraduate Certificate Program. We’ll help you learn the basics of this growing industry through the use of hands-on labs, support from experienced professors and an in-depth review of medical terminology. We will also help you prepare to take medical billing and coding certification exams with preparation courses for both medical billing and medical coding.
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1Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm
2Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm