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.