Putting enough pennies together to attend top medical coding schools can sometimes be a challenge. CNBC reported that today’s college tuition prices are up 163 percent from 30 years ago in 1988. The College Board found that public, two-year institutions have the most affordable average at $3,570 per year. However, picking four-year universities like Purdue Global, Indiana, Alaska Southeast, Grantham, and Herzing for your medical coding training will bring up median costs of $9,970 to $34,740. That’s even before certification expenses, such as the $300 AAPC professional exam, become due. Scholarships are great financial aid tools that bequeath non-repayable money to reduce your out-of-pocket price. Let’s look into nine of the best scholarships for medical coding programs.
AHIMA Foundation Veteran’s Scholarship
Open July 1st to September 30th each year, the Veteran’s Scholarship from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Foundation suits returning, honorably discharged heroes. The $1,000 award is reserved for former active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Maine Corps, Coast Guard, and National Guard members or their spouses who seek associate HIT programs, including medical coding. Please submit two letters of support, DD214 forms, verification of enrollment in 6+ college credits, and a maximum 400-word goals essay.
Health Record Services Endowed Scholarship
Founded by President Wendy Copland-Gould, RHIA, in 2018, the Health Record Services Endowed Scholarship will gift $1,000 on November 30th annually to single working mothers who are pursuing associate-level study in medical coding or health information technology. Eligibility criteria requires having at least one dependent under age 18, entering a CAHIIM-accredited college, taking six or more credits, and holding cumulative GPAs above 3.5. Work experience, leadership skills, life challenges, essay clarity, and dedication to the HIM profession are evaluated.
ASAHP Scholarship of Excellence
Located in Washington, DC, since 1967, the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP) under president Susan Hanrahan is conveying the $1,000 Scholarship of Excellence to entry-level healthcare, including medical coding, majors. Qualified nominees need to have finished one term at one of the 116 member colleges, such as Drexel University, Indiana University, University of Utah, and Bowling Green State University. Four copies of the application, endorsement letter, résumé, and 200-word typewritten personal essay must arrive by June 11th.
Steve Lieber Innovator Scholarship
Worth $5,000, the Steve Lieber Innovator Scholarship is granted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society to current HIMSS members in good standing at accredited undergrad schools of health. Medical coding students entering by September 25th must outline an original idea for using digital technology to revolutionize patient records acquisition. Linked to Smart City Networks, the program requires a 1,000-word project description, two letters of reference, and agreement to attend the HIMSS Annual Conference.
Sarah Bush Lincoln Volunteer Guild Scholarship
Accredited by The Joint Commission, the 129-bed Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center launched the Volunteer Guild Scholarship in 1979 to support the selfless, unpaid service of regional caretakers. This $1,000 prize helps SBL members living in a 19-county area of Illinois afford finishing medical-related community college or university programs with GPAs of 3.5 or greater. Don’t miss the April 15th deadline for submitting the work history, educational budget, one-page personal profile, official transcript, proof of enrollment, and two current references.
Horatio Alger Career & Technical Scholarship
Named for the 1868 Ragged Dick author of the Gilded Age, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc. grants the $2,500 Career & Technical Scholarship to 1,020 U.S. high school graduates or GED holders each year. It’s ideal for individuals under age 30 who’ve overcome hardship and great financial need to attend vocational programs, especially medical coding, at two-year, nonprofit colleges. By June 15th, create an online ID for submitting the adversity statement, support form, transcript, tax return copies, and citizenship proof.
Richard and Louise Varco Scholarship Fund
Managed by Scholarship America, the Richard and Louise Varco Scholarship Fund carries on the St. Paul couple’s legacy by presenting up to $5,000 to high school seniors or displaced workers returning to school. Opening December 15th, the contest could help medical coding majors enrolling full-time at accredited two-year institutions, such as Anoka Technical College or Normandale Community College, in Minnesota with at least a “B-” average. The SPMCF application needs a transcript, personal statement of intent, reference form, and proof of financial need.
OMACCS Workforce Tuition Scholarships
Totaling $40,000 each year, the Ohio-Michigan Association of Career Colleges and Schools (OMACCS) Workforce Tuition Scholarships offer $600 to five certificate, $1,200 to 10 diploma, or $2,500 to 10 degree students in vocational study. Medical coding qualifies if majors live in these Midwest states, enroll at least half-time, have unmet funding, and apply before April 6th. Applications are incomplete without high school attendance records, LEADS! nomination forms, transcripts, two recommendations, and 250-word written merit statements.
George & Lucille Cushnie Scholarship Fund
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) says aloha to $4.5 million in annual financial aid, including the George & Lucille Cushnie Scholarship Fund that caters to healthcare professionals like medical coders. The $1,000 award picks Big Island residents with financial need and minimum 2.7 GPAs who are enrolling in medical curricula full-time at two- or four-year nonprofits. Log into your account before January 31st to send the transcript, Student Aid Report, one recommendation, and 900-word personal statement.
Community college graduates face average debt of $11,384 in the Class of 2018. To avoid over-borrowing loans, it’s important to apply for all types of federal, state, and college aid. The FAFSA application can be submitted until June 30th annually for Federal Pell and FSEOG Grant funds. Look for local grants like the New York Tuition Assistance Program and Florida Resident Access Program. Paychecks twice monthly are possible with Federal Work-Study jobs on campus too. Building up a comprehensive financial assistance package with these and other medical coding scholarships, such as the Coding with Confidence Scholarship, AAPC Hardship Scholarship, Robert D. Kruse Memorial Scholarship, Scott W. Hulstein Scholarship, and Kathleen A. Frawley Scholarship, will help save big.
Work from home medical billing and coding jobs can be the biggest draw to healthcare IT training for adults seeking great work-life balance. Global Workplace Analytics reports that the number of telecommuters has risen by 115 percent to 3.7 million since 2005. Nearly 50 percent of U.S. labor is now suitable for working at home at least half time! That’s especially apparent in healthcare where secured patient records can be sent digitally to medical coders and billers’ own homes. Working remotely can be beneficial for setting one’s own schedules, saving money on childcare, avoiding office politics, wearing comfortable wardrobe, and reducing stress along with pollution. Therefore, we’ve surveyed the work from home openings at top employers like Maxim Health, Aviacode, SourceMed, and Robert Half to outline the four most important qualifications for coders and billers.
Typing up applications for healthcare work from home jobs won’t be very successful with only a high school diploma or GED. Attending a community college or private school for medical coding and billing training is virtually required today. Employers will expect new hires to have spent six to 18 months in a certificate program or two to three years for an associate degree. Some may even require that one’s education be accredited by the CAHIIM for high-quality informatics expertise. Studying medical billing and coding will generally involve six to 20 courses, such as Pathology, Electronic Medical Records, Body Systems, and Insurance Reimbursement. Picking schools with real-world practicum and/or virtual labs is suggested to jumpstart experience. Approved coding programs are usually sufficient to start telecommuting, but some outliers might request a B.S. in Health Information Technology.
In 2017, Medical Billing Advocates of America reported a high error rate of 80 percent that costs 7 million U.S. citizens $1,300 more on average! To fix inaccuracy problems, healthcare companies are seeking coding and billing staff with advanced knowledge of HIT operations. Work from home jobs will require being fluent in the classification codes used to file confidential records. Considering the Becker’s Hospital Review counted 71,924 procedural and 69,823 diagnosis codes in the ICD-10 system, this necessitates plenty of training. Medical billers and coders telecommuting will need basic clinical proficiency to know terminology like dysphasia from dysphagia. Proficiency of high-tech HIT software, including NueMD and Encoder Pro, is expected. Employers also seek work from home candidates with communication skills, ambition, moral integrity, focus, and good critical judgment.
Seeing a medical coding and billing worker’s certification can help convince employers that they’re trained to function without in-office supervision. The majority of work from home opportunities will rely on candidates’ completion of one of two hallmark credentials. First, the American Health Information Management Association has the Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) designation. Eligibility requires a postsecondary certificate or two years of coding-related experience. Hopeful coders submit a $75 application fee to take the 97-question, four-hour exam at Pearson VUE testing centers. Second, the American Association of Professional Coders offers the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) titles. Applicants with college training need to score at least 70 percent on the 150-question, five-hour exam that currently costs members $300.
Healthcare facilities and staffing agencies generally won’t feel comfortable handing out independent, work from home positions to newbies. Most telecommuting jobs for medical billers and coders will stipulate having at least 24 months of relevant résumé experience first. The U.S. Department of Labor shows that HIT operations will stimulate 27,800 new jobs by 2026 for swift 13 percent growth, so one’s job search won’t be long. The AAPC Jobs Board makes finding experience-building healthcare employment simple by keyword or zip code. Updating LinkedIn profiles, job shadowing, joining associations like the Healthcare Business Management Association, and networking at the AMBA National Conference or other events can get feet in doors. Also don’t underestimate the power of medical coding and billing internship programs, such as Project Extern with 200+ approved sites.
Now’s an excellent time to begin training for work from home jobs to make certain patient charts are factually coded for smooth insurance claim processes. Some great schools offering certificates on-site or online include Cape Cod Community College, Joliet Junior College, Phoenix College, Jackson College, St. Catherine University, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, and Delaware County Community College. With more advanced training, work from home medical billing and coding jobs could even lead to health IT careers like cancer registrar, revenue cycle specialist, nurse informaticist, health data analyst, and records technician.
Completing the top medical coding and billing programs online is an inexpensive move with tremendous salary return on investment (or ROI). According to Money magazine, community college remains the cheapest education route with annual mean tuition of $3,520. Two-year associate degrees in medical coding and billing only cost $7,040 on average, less than nine months at most senior universities. Plus, many students qualify for up to $2,500 from the American Opportunity Tax Credit to cover costs. Considering you’ll have little debt, medical coding and billing careers lead to comfortable salaries above the 2016 Census median personal income of $31,099. Let’s dig into specific numbers to discover what you can earn post-graduation as a medical coder or biller.
Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2016 report, it’s determined that the median yearly wage for medical coding and billing professionals is $38,040. The 200,140 U.S. health informatics jobs garnered pay from $12.05 to $30.21 per hour. The bottom 10th percentile earns $25,070 per year, while the top 10th percentile snags $62,840 annually. PayScale showed that medical coding and billing specialists earned bonuses of $184 to $5,135 this year for total pay of $24,562 to $50,508.
Medical coding and billing staff with AAPC membership report a mean salary of $49,872. Non-certified members make $39,956 and certified members bring home $52,588 on average. Entry-level medical coding and billing jobs unsurprisingly earn the lowest average at $35,906. Yet, workers with 30+ years of experience make a typical salary of $67,162. Sixty percent of AAPC survey respondents were satisfied with their job and only 12.3 percent sought better pay.
Salary Expectations by Medical Coding and Billing Workplace
How much you earn after the best medical coding and billing programs online will fluctuate based on your job placement. Most health information technicians (68,820) work in general medical and surgical hospitals for yearly average earnings of $44,160. Medical coding and billing jobs in physician offices make below average at $35,490. On the other hand, those working for specialty hospitals, government agencies, and insurance carriers claim the highest mean salaries at $44,370, $47,520, and $54,620 respectively.
Generally, health care facilities that employ bigger workforces will compensate better. Certified medical coding and billing graduates working in single-specialty practices with one to 10 doctors earn $45,722 on average. Mean health informatics salaries rise to $47,773 at outpatient care centers, $49,452 at large medical groups, and $51,389 at multi-group health systems. Inpatient facilities are also hiring many medical coders and billers for 5.4 percent growth since 2015.
Top-Paying Regions for Medical Coding and Billing Staff
Regional demographics play a pivotal role in determining salaries for medical coding and billing job offers. According to the AAPC 2016 Salary Survey, certified members in the Mid-Atlantic saw a 2.9 percent salary increase to $53,757. Only the Pacific Region pays better with a mean wage of $57,005. Other pay averages include $51,310 in the Mountain States, $48,213 in the Midwest, $49,767 in the Southeast, and $53,504 in New England. Certified medical coders and billers earn the least in the East South-Central Region for $47,587 on average.
Closer looks into income diversity by location show that the best-paid medical coding and billing jobs are in New Jersey for a median wage of $60,000 per year. The BLS crowns Alaska, California, Maryland, and Colorado as runner-ups with mean salaries of $56,920, $48,840, $48,730, and $48,730 respectively on the BLS website. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metro employs the most medical coders and billers (5,790) for average pay of $47,330. However, New Jersey’s Newark Metro provides the highest mean wage of $63,450.
Pay Potential for Different Medical Coding and Billing Jobs
Medical coding and billing has an attractive job outlook that’s expected to create 27,800 new positions by 2026 for faster-than-average growth of 13 percent. That’s partly because the Health IT Dashboard found that 96 percent of hospitals eligible for Medicare and Medicaid have adopted electronic health records (EHRs). Combine this with the fact that the United States’ number of senior citizens will double to 98 million by 2060 and you’ve got a red-hot medical sector. Here are income expectations for several jobs under the medical coding and billing umbrella.
• Inpatient or Outpatient Coder – Using ICD-10 and CPT codes, inpatient or outpatient coders translate complex patient documents for billing with mean pay of $39,953.
• Medical Billing Specialist – Medical billing specialists are compensated $39,055 on average for using coded charts to create patient invoices and insurance claims.
• Medical Scribe – For a mean annual wage of $32,307, medical scribes act as physician’s personal assistants to organize clinical patient data into EHRs during treatment.
• Coding Compliance Specialist – Coding compliance specialists are CPCs who audit medical records to check quality standards for a median wage of $58,192.
• Cancer Registrar – For $41,431 on average, cancer registrars capture essential medical history, diagnosis, and treatment data in EHRs for every oncology patient.
• Medical Records Coding Manager – With 5+ years of experience, medical records coding managers make mean salaries of $66,512 for supervising coders.
• Enrollment & Billing Supervisor – Enrollment & billing supervisors are experienced medical staff who oversee staff responsible for processing claims at $62,958 per year.
Increasing Your Medical Coding and Billing Career Profits
Although wages enlarge naturally with years of experience, there are steps medical coding and billing program graduates can take to spark better revenue. One of the best ways to rack up dollar signs is earning more credentials. One AAPC credential garners a mean salary of $52,605, but three certifications pay off with $66,999. The Certified Documentation Expert Outpatient (CDEO) program gifts the biggest annual earnings at $83,654. Certified Professional Compliance Officers (CPCO) also snare a profitable mean wage of $75,680.
Advancing your education is another smart choice to bolster your income. Coders and billers can attend CAHIIM-accredited bachelor’s degrees to qualify for the RHIA exam that unlocks a median salary of $88,580. Some become full-time community college professors for average pay at $72,470. If you’re tech-saavy, you could pursue training in health IT management and software development for mean wages of $111,500 and $100,690 respectively. Transferring credits from the best medical coding and billing programs online into bachelor’s education may even open HIT executive jobs worth $127,500.
Remote medical coding training programs are short-term, Web-based educational course sequences where students transform into health documentation specialists. These online programs use platforms like Canvas, Blackboard, and Moodle to teach the fundamentals of coding patient records at a distance. Medical coding training helps remote learners master the CPT, ICD-10, and HCPCS methods used to translate complex clinical procedures into ciphers recognized by billers. Registering for remote medical coding training lets adults easily prepare for AAPC credentials, including Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC). Online medical coder programs foster virtual discussions on topics like diagnostic coding and pathophysiology to enter today’s healthcare market where job growth will surpass 21 percent through 2020.
Most remote medical coding training programs will confer a postsecondary certificate in as little as three months after a high school diploma or GED. Accredited online medical coding certificates cover 18 to 42 credits of career-specific basics for entry-level practice without a general education core. Medical coding associate degrees are the next step up for perfecting a wider range of healthcare skills. Requiring 60 to 75 credits, these two-year, full-time remote training programs mix academic subjects like English with career and virtual coding practicum courses. Although rarer, some online degrees can award a Bachelor of Science in Heath Information Management for coders. This four-year, 120-credit remote option would nurture the administrative capabilities for clinical leadership with the esteemed RHIA title.
Eighty percent of today’s coders have attended community colleges or universities for specialized healthcare training. Here are great examples of medical coding programs that are conveniently available in remote formats.
Logging into remote medical coding training programs can happen anytime 24/7 to fit online courses into your off hours. You’ll waste less time and money than commuting to a physical campus, instead accessing digital textbooks, recorded lectures, and Web conferences. Computer-based medical terminology quizzes will provide rapid online feedback for evaluating your progress without grading time. Online medical coding degrees give you the tech skills and self-discipline needed for future remote coding jobs. Healthcare employers usually won’t view remote medical coding training programs as inferior, so your credits will be recognized for job promotions. If your city doesn’t have medical coding training, remote schools also give you more geographic freedom to reach your aspirations.
Top medical billing and coding schools are increasingly catching high school grads’ eyes with attractive tuition prices and short study times. Shaving off 60 credits lets associate students spend up to $80,000 less than the traditional, four-year route. Medical coding and billing certificates are even quicker to finish schooling and enter the profession in months. In this article, we’ll provide an overview on tuition at top medical billing and coding schools to help decide if this health care trade suits you monetarily.
Expected Sticker Price at Top Medical Coding and Billing Schools
The 2015 Digest of Education Statistics reports that average college costs are presently $24,317 at two-year and $37,990 at four-year institutions. Public colleges are more affordable with mean annual tuition and fees at $5,899, while private schools charge $23,328 on average. Residential campuses also add average room and board at $5,296 and $4,256 respectively each year, so online colleges are clearly cheaper. Student Loan Hero shows that tuition has risen by 7.3 percent at two-year and 6.6 percent at four-year colleges overall. By 2033, it’s projected that public colleges will cost $94,800 and private institutions will bill $323,900 total!
Tuition at top medical billing and coding schools varies significantly based on location, delivery method, course length, state residency, and college type, so there’s not a one-size-fits-all figure. For a ballpark, you can usually expect spending $2,000 to $15,000 on medical coding and billing certificates or $10,000 to $35,000 on associate degrees. Let’s take Sullivan University for example. The College of Health Sciences offers a Medical Coding Diploma online that’s estimated to cost $19,740 for 12 months full-time. On the other hand, Highland Community College in Kansas has an A.A.S. in Medical Coding that charges $3,007 in-district annually for total tuition at $6,014.
Great Medical Billing and Coding Programs at Great Prices
Since we can’t specify the exact tuition for all top medical billing and coding schools, let’s look into some of the best bargains. We used the NCES College Navigator to search for medical coding and billing programs that cost less than $10,000 per year. Here are some of the top-notch, accredited schools where your buck goes a long way toward medical billing and coding careers.
• Cowley College – Located in Arkansas City since 1922, Cowley College offers the Medical Coding Certificate or A.A.S. in Medical Coding through the Health & Human Services Department for annual tuition at $3,069 in-state or $4,526 out-of-state.
• Ilisagvik College – Accredited by the NWCCU, Ilisagvik College stands on Alaska’s Arctic North Slope to deliver the Medical Coding Specialist Level I Certificate on-campus or online to rural Alaskan Natives for yearly tuition of $3,820.
• Marion Technical College – Belonging to the University System of Ohio, Marion Technical College awards a Medical Billing & Coding Certificate in eight months through the Healthcare Department for $8,239 in-state and $9,189 out-of-state.
• Mountainland Applied Technology College – Led by President Clay Christensen, Utah’s Mountainland Applied Technology College has a 1,100-hour Medical Billing and Coding Certificate with a $40 registration fee that charges $2,585 total.
Additional Costs for Medical Coding and Billing Certifications
Attending total medical billing and coding schools is only a percentage of your cost to enter this fast-growing allied health job. Employers increasingly expect candidates to list professional certifications on their résumé to prove their ICD-10 expertise. While the upfront fees can be tough, certified medical coding and billing staff see their annual salaries rise by $7,000 on average. We’ve outlined what extra prices you’ll pay to pursue the following certifications.
• Certified Professional Coder – Given by the AAPC to over 105,000 industry employees, the Certified Professional Coder credential involves taking a 150-question, 5.5-hour proctored exam with an open code book. Earning CPC certification presently costs $300 for student members or $380 for non-members with one free retake.
• Certified Billing & Coding Specialist – Founded in 1989 in Leawood, the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) created the Certified Billing & Coding Specialist distinction for members who pass a 100-question, two-hour exam and maintain 10 CEUs annually. The CBCS requires $65 for online study guides and $115 for testing.
• Certified Coding Specialist – At Pearson VUE testing centers, the AHIMA Foundation offers the Certified Coding Specialist exam to applicants who pay the $75 processing fee and have at least one year of coding experience. Taking the 97-question, four-hour exam presently costs $299 for members and $399 for non-members.
Financial aid will also greatly affect the tuition at top medical billing and coding schools. Accredited colleges fulfill Title IV eligibility for federal financial aid, including up to $5,920 from the Pell Grant. Based on your expected family contribution, you could borrow low-interest Perkins, Direct Subsidized, and Direct Unsubsidized loans. Medical coding and billing majors should search for state-based aid, such as the Cal Grant or Pennsylvania State Grant. Campus-based study could come with part-time FWS employment for 10-15 hours weekly. The AHIMA Foundation has several associate-level scholarships like the Jimmy Gamble Merit Scholarship, Margaret Lloyd Memorial Scholarship, and Walter Reed Society Scholarship. Ask your college’s financial aid office for more tips to reduce tuition in top medical billing and coding programs.
Medical coding refers to the job where trained healthcare technicians convert diagnoses and procedures into ICD-10 or CPT codes for bill processing. Medical billing is a similar job focused on turning coded patient records into insurance claims for reimbursement and optimal revenue. Medical coding and billing is one of the hottest healthcare career paths offering a predictable 40-hour weekly work schedule away from the bedside and excellent benefits. According to our research, salary Certified Professional Coders are seeing a $3,000 wage jump from last year for average income of $56,000 to $74,250. Medical coding and billing managers realize even higher pay up to $99,750 annually. Getting your money’s worth from top medical billing and coding programs like those below will maximize your return on educational investment.
Here are some of our selections for the Top Medical Billing and Coding Programs based on the essentials: quality of training, accreditation, cost, time investment, and graduate rates:
Established in 1967 under Chapter 292, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is a public, HLC-accredited community college directed by President Jason Wood to educate 4,144 full- and part-time Chargers from its rural campus off Highway 18 in Fennimore. Graded “A” as America’s #2 best community college on Niche, SWTC was ranked 11th nationally on WalletHub for great value. The Health Occupations Division offers a Medical Coding Specialist Technical Diploma that charges $130 in-state and $195 out-of-state per credit. Undergrads tackle the 23-credit curriculum face-to-face or 100% online for gathering entry-level skills to organize medical documentation with procedural practice.
Chaired by Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College is a public, co-educational two-year institution with HLC accreditation to enroll 28,549 in “Military Friendly” education on its Houston Metro campuses in Pasadena, Webster, and Galena Park, Texas. Honored among the 2017 Aspen Institute College Excellence Award finalists, SJC is ranked the #9 best producer of allied health degrees for minorities by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. The Health Sciences Department offers a three-term Certificate of Technology in Medical Billing and Coding for 26 credits. Aligned to AAPC standards for CPC certification, the program costs just $4,440 in-district and $6,060 out-of-district total.
Affiliated with alumni like Betty McCollum and Carol Ronning Kapsner, St. Catherine University is a private, nonprofit Catholic women’s college endowed for $74.8 million to educate 5,055 Wildcats and employ 337 staff from its 100-acre urban campus in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Ranked the Midwest’s 15th best university by the U.S. News, St. Kate’s was named to the President’s Community Service Honor Roll in 2016. The CAHIIM-accredited Henrietta Schmoll School of Health offers a stand-alone Coding Specialist Certificate for $696 per credit. Taking a hybrid format for online and Twin Cities study, the 36-credit option takes roughly 45 weeks full-time for AAPC certification.
Occupying an 80-acre hilltop campus overlooking the Puget Sound in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines, Washington, Highline College is a public, NWCCU-accredited nonprofit institution tracing back to 1961 that’s now educating 17,134 Thunderbirds. Granted the Insight into Diversity HEED Award four times, Highline is America’s 48th top associate degree producer according to Community College Week. The Healthcare Professions Division confers the 41-credit Professional Coding Certificate in three quarters for $102 in-state and $279 out-of-state per credit. Integrating a job readiness seminar, the program unlocks entry-level jobs with CCA credentialing and transfer options for the AAS in Health IT at Tacoma.
Opened by U.S. Navy commander David Chigos in 1971, National University strives to “Live Through Learning” as a nonprofit, WSCUC-accredited teaching school with 28 campuses operated from San Diego, California, to deliver intensive, four-week courses to 23,909 adults. Ranked 38th nationally by the Institute of International Education, National is lauded for America’s 119th best online undergrad education on the USNWR survey. The Division of Extended Learning bills $660 per course for a six-course Medical Billing and Coding Certificate that’s 100% online. Satisfying the AHIMA’s coding exam requirements, the lock-step program covers procedures for Medicare, BlueCross/BlueShield, Medi-Cal, CHAMPVA, and more.
Belonging to the MNSCU system, Ridgewater College is a public, two-year technical institute directed by President Joseph Opatz that’s grown since its 1996 founding to educate 5,500 Warriors with a 21:1 student-faculty ratio on its Willmar and Hutchinson campuses. Ranked #1 in Minnesota for “Career Preparedness” by ACT, Ridgewater was crowned America’s 19th best community college for 92 percent job placement on Niche. The Career/Technical Division houses a 50-credit Medical Coding Specialist Diploma that costs $8,949 total on average. Delivered fully online for AHIMA certification, the 17-month certificate sharpens coders’ accuracy with 3M software practice and hands-on internships.
Shopping for a medical coding and billing program is a big step to be taken cautiously. Students can use resources like the NCES College Navigator tool to search through certificates and two-year associate degrees. Double check every program you encounter with the U.S. Department of Education accreditation database to ensure regional or national standards for quality. Formal training that’s approved by the AHIMA or CAHIIM will be the most respected by employers. Also weigh crucial factors like tuition, course scheduling, career practicum, class size, for-profit vs. nonprofit, and location. Some more top medical billing and coding programs we approve of include Herzing University, Daymar College, Grays Harbor College, Kaplan University, Virginia College, and Vincennes University.
Medical coding and billing is one of the few well-paid, in-demand healthcare jobs requiring solely a post-secondary certificate or associate degree at most. Good Financial Cents listed medical coder as the 20th “Best Job without a College Degree,” providing an average certified salary of $46,800. Online education is ideal for this digital IT profession that’s focused on the accurate organization of electronic health records. Online courses can train medical coding and billing staff to translate patients’ diagnoses and procedures into alphanumeric codes to file health insurance claims. As the health informatics field expands faster-than-average by 15 percent, the availability of online medical coding and billing options is becoming staggering. In this article, we’ll help point you to six of the best online colleges for tomorrow’s medical IT staff.
Headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, Herzing University is a private, nonprofit HLC-accredited training institute that’s seen enrollment skyrocket by 260 percent since 2001. The U.S. News recognized Herzing for delivering America’s 142nd best online undergrad programs for $550 per credit hour. Adhering to the CAHIIM Academic Competencies, Herzing offers a 44-credit Diploma in Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist online over 12 months for those graduating at normal time. Online courses like diagnosis coding and pathophysiology lead to a four-credit internship or research project and CCSA certification. Herzing undergraduates could also pursue the 61-credit A.A.S. Insurance Billing and Coding or 124-credit B.S. in Health Information Management. You may also find more information about Herzing’s graduation rates, the median debt of those who complete programs at Herzing, and other important facts regarding medical coding and billing programs by reviewing the consumer disclosure statement at Herzing.
Endowed for $1.57 billion, Indiana University is a public, nine-campus teaching system in the APLU that’s regionally accredited to educate around 89,170 undergrad Hoosiers total. Graded America’s 27th “Top Public University” on Niche, IU offers the 54th best online undergraduate programs according to the U.S. News. The School of Informatics and Computing places CCA certification in reach for online learners with the 32-week Medical Coding Certificate. Full- or part-time students join each Fall to audit inpatient and outpatient health records. After the culminating, four-credit coding practicum, students can advance into the B.S. in Informatics – HealthCare Information Technology.
Called the Keiser Institute of Technology until 1986, Keiser University is a private, nonprofit and nonsectarian SACS-accredited institution in Fort Lauderdale that’s educating nearly 18,000 Seahawks at an average net price of $21,129. Deemed America’s 30th “Best Online College” on Niche, Keiser is ranked the South’s 11th top value by the U.S. News. Distance learners could obtain the A.S. in Medical Administrative Billing & Coding, which meets CAHIIM standards. Conducted in English or Español, the 60-credit program features online courses from CPT-4 coding to medical ethics before an externship. Coders also have 100 percent job placement after the A.S. in Health Information Management.
As a public, co-educational CUNY constituent, Hunter College is located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side near Lenox Hill to educate over 15,500 undergrad Hawks on a $99 million endowment. Ranked America’s 86th “Most Liberal College” on Niche, Hunter is the North’s 11th top public university according to the U.S. News. For $4,300 total, students can pursue the five-course Medical Coding & Billing Certificate in 80 hours online. Hunter also as a Combined Certificate in Outpatient and Inpatient Medical Billing for $5,300. Students progress through online modules like medical terminology and ICD-10 coding for CPC credentialing with exam discounts.
Holding SACS and CAHIIM accreditation, St. Petersburg College is a public, four-year member of the Florida College System founded in 1927 that’s serving around 65,000 undergrads from Seminole to Clearwater and online. Crowned America’s 105th “Best Online College” on Niche, SPC ranked among Community College Week’s top 100 associate degree producers. Online learners could prepare for the CCA exam by completing the 37-credit Medical Coder Certificate and its two professional practica. Credits transfer seamlessly into the 70-credit Online Health Information Technology A.S. program, which has a 100 percent RHIT pass rate. There’s even a Health Data Management Advanced Technical Certificate.
Attracting around 12,700 Setters from all 50 states, Pace University is a private, nonsectarian ECAC institution tracing back to 1906 that’s located in Lower Manhattan with extensions in Pleasantville and online. Chosen as America’s 51st “Most Diverse College” on Niche, Pace is recognized by the U.S. News for the 36th best online undergrad offerings. Online students develop their e-portfolio with the asynchronous, nine-month Medical Billing & Coding Certificate program. Registering for the $3,995 program allows high school graduates to qualify for five certifications, including CCS and CPC-P. For taking the CEHRS exam, choose Pace’s seven-month Online Electronic Medical Records Specialist Certificate. Learn more about Medical Billing and Coding Programs at Pace University here.
Separating the good online medical coding and billing programs from the bad isn’t too difficult. Make certain you place accreditation, whether regional or national, at the top of your list to avoid registering at unaccredited diploma mills. Other important factors to search for are CPC certification rates, job placement, financial aid, awards or rankings, online technology, and curricular flexibility. Some honorable mentions to our above list include St. Catherine University, Drexel University, Central Texas College, Kaplan University, and Trident Technical College. The AAPC also offers online medical coding courses that cost members just $2,195 total for mastering ICD-10 classification.
Medical coding and billing is an increasingly popular healthcare major for college students enticed by the flexible career. That’s partly because the projected 10-year job growth is much faster-than-average at 15 percent with 29,000 expected openings. Another common reason is because medical coding and billing offers work from home opportunities for excellent work-life balance. Nonetheless, jobs in medical coding and billing won’t come free since having at least a post-secondary certificate is required. In this article, we’ll discuss what medical coding and billing programs typically cost to help you determine if mastering the field’s ICD-10-CM system is right for you.
Average Tuition for Medical Coding and Billing Programs
There isn’t a clear-cut answer to how much medical coding and billing training costs because tuition varies dramatically by school. According to College Board, the average published price at public, in-district community colleges is currently $3,440 yearly. Santa Barbara City College is recognized for one of America’s most affordable Medical Coding Specialist Certificate at just $46 per unit ($898). However, colleges typically charge between $4,200 and $19,500 for medical coding and billing certificates. Don’t forget that sitting for certification exams will also cost you. The AHIMA’s Certified Coding Associate exam costs $299 and the AAPC Certified Professional Coder exam charges $300 with $125 for membership.
Why Medical Coding and Billing is Worth the Investment
Doing the math may make some prospective students question their enrollment in medical coding and billing programs. Although the training requires an upfront investment, the return over your lifetime career is significant. According to PayScale, the median salary in medical coding and billing is $35,374, or $14 per hour. Earning an accredited education will increase your salary potential while lowering your unemployment risk. The AAPC Salary Survey shows that certified members with one credential make $46,899 on average. Advanced training for 3+ credentials pays off for a mean income of $65,643! Full-time medical coding and billing professionals are also compensated with health insurance and 401(k) retirement plans.
Ways to Afford Medical Coding and Billing Program Costs
Accredited, degree-granting programs in medical coding and billing will qualify students for federal financial aid. After submitting the FAFSA, students could obtain the Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, Perkins Loans, Direct Loans, and other specialty funding like the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. Professional organizations also provide lucrative financial resources for medical coding and billing majors. For example, the AHIMA Foundation sponsors over 50 Merit Scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 each summer. The AAPC offers the Hardship Scholarship to future coders with significant financial need. The Partners Healthcare Medical Coding Loan Forgiveness program can wipe up to $10,000 in debt too.
Medical coding and billing programs are often short, so they’ll cost significantly less than two-year or four-year degrees. Yet the investment is rewarded with in-demand careers like coding specialist, billing coordinator, patient account representative, medical record technician, and cancer registrar. Financial aid can help you afford how much medical coding and billing programs cost for skill-building healthcare training
If you are contemplating a career in medical billing and coding, you may already know how important a sound education and work experience can be. What you may not already know is how to find an accredited program. The first step to finding an accredited medical coding and billing program is understanding what accreditation is. Accreditation is significantly important to all training, diploma and certificate medical coding programs because it ensures that the teaching institution meets the standards of excellence accrediting authorities require. In simpler terms, think of accreditation as a safe guard to both you, the educational institution, and your future employer because medical coding and billing accreditation requires programs to maintain a threshold of educational quality, industry innovations, and consistent improvement as both technology and medicine advance and evolve. The second step to know if a billing and medical coding program is accredited is to check with agencies considered national authorities on medical billing and coding, health information management, and health informatics.
Since we did the research and collected the most up to date information on top medical billing and coding schools, you can be certain the programs we list are not only accredited but great programs certain to provide you with the education, experience, and qualifications you need to succeed as a medical billing and coding professional.
Being stagnant in a desk job can be dull and tiresome for many. Having the flexibility to travel and see the world while earning a steady income isn’t feasible in most careers, except medical coding and billing. Travel coders are certified, experienced professionals who receive short-term assignments in different health facilities. Traveling medical coding and billing jobs allow you to visit various medical offices for collecting, analyzing, monitoring, and recording diagnosis codes. According to AAPC, the job outlook for medical coding and billing is bright as the field grows by 21 percent. If you’re looking for the freedom to flutter around the country, here are some great places to find traveling medical coding and billing jobs.
Maxim Health Information Services
Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, Maxim Health Information Services is a privately held, healthcare staffing company founded in 2001. Employing over 60,000 health professionals nationwide, Maxim is a fast-growing service offering on-site and remote coding support to licensed clinical practices, including VA medical centers. Committed to quality, Maxim won the 2014 Best Practice Award for compliance training from Health Ethics Trust. Current listings for Maxim include travel medical coding and billing jobs. Maxim hires credentialed HIM specialists with at least one year of clinical documentation experience. While visiting cities across the United States, MHIS employees receive competitive salaries and free ICD-10 training.
Established in 2012, Randstad Healthcare is a medical staffing firm located in Woburn, Massachusetts, with over 600 U.S. branches. As part of the $22.9 billion Randstad Holding NV, the company matches qualified health professionals with over 1,400 facilities nationwide. In 2015, Randstad won Inavero’s “Best of Staffing” Award for talent satisfaction. Certified by the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO), Randstad offers travel positions from four to 26 weeks. Travel coders receive competitive benefits packages with housing subsidies, travel reimbursement, 401(k) plans, insurance, and bonuses. Getting hired by Randstad will require CPC certification and at least one year of experience.
With over 10,000 employees, M*Modal is a public clinical documentation company serving healthcare providers nationwide from its headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee. Since 2001, M*Modal has grown to transcribe and code more than 400 million dictation minutes yearly. Last year, M*Modal was among the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Top Tech 50 finalists. The website reports that M*Modal is presently hiring remote and traveling coders. M*Modal has in-house training to prepare employees for applying ICD-10 codes for its 3,800+ clients. Sign-on bonuses, paid holidays, mentoring, and travel reimbursement are included. Holding CCS or CPC credentials and two years of experience is expected.
These are among the best places to find traveling medical coding and billing jobs. Other great companies include Aviacode, SourceMed, and Healthcare Resource Group. For more opportunities, consider joining the AAPC and searching the job board. LinkedIn groups are also available for recruiting talented coding and billing specialists. Being determined in your research can help you leave your cubicle and land a traveling job.