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