Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs 2021

by TBS Staff
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Medical billing and coding degrees help students learn how to keep hospitals running behind the scenes.

Medical billing and coding — the processes used to communicate between healthcare providers and insurance companies, as well as patients — is a rapidly growing field within the healthcare industry. Employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 11% between 2018-2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) — much faster than the average for all other occupations.

Medical billing and coding careers offer excellent pay. With just an associate degree, health information professionals earn a median annual salary of $40,350 per year. According to the BLS, the top 10% of earners bring home more than $66,260.

Dozens of online education programs have emerged to meet demand for skilled health information professionals. Included below is a compilation of the 25 best online accredited medical billing and coding schools. This ranking offers important information for prospective online students, covering curriculum content, course delivery details, and admission requirements.

Top 10 Online Associate in Medical Billing & Coding Programs
#1 Southwest Mississippi Community College Summit, MS
#2 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, GA
#3 West Georgia Technical College Waco, GA
#4 Renton Technical College Renton, WA
#5 Southern Regional Technical College Thomasville, GA
#6 Lincoln Land Community College Springfield, IL
#7 Highland Community College Freeport, IL
#8 Oconee Fall Line Technical College Sandersville, GA
#9 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
#10 Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Johnstown, PA

What Is an Online Associate in Medical Billing and Coding Degree?

An associate degree in medical billing and coding is a two-year technical program designed to prepare students for entry-level careers in the growing field of health information. Online accredited medical billing and coding schools attract a variety of students, including high school graduates pursuing their first career-track jobs and adults looking to change occupations.

Degrees in medical billing and coding prepare students for national coding certification exams and entry-level positions. They do this through a combination of course lectures, readings, and practical assignments.

Throughout the program, students study medical terminology, human anatomy, and insurance plans and regulations, developing skills in medical ethics, patient account management, medical insurance claim processing, and diagnosis and procedure coding.

Choosing an Online Program in Medical Billing and Coding

Deciding to pursue a medical billing and coding degree online may be an easy choice, but finding the right school requires careful consideration of factors like cost, program format, and required in-person components. Take a look at the guide linked below for comprehensive tips regarding online program selection.

What Else Can I Expect From an Associate in Medical Billing and Coding Program?

An online associate degree in medical billing and coding usually consists of 60 credits of coursework, including general education classes, major core classes, and electives. The curriculum prepares students for professional certification through study of medical terminology, procedure coding systems, and software applications in healthcare.

Featured Online Schools for Medical Billing and Coding

Medical Billing and Coding Curriculum

  • Anatomy and Physiology: A course on anatomy and physiology examines the twelve major systems of the human body, including the skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, and lymphatic systems. Students develop an understanding of appropriate medical terminology, cell and tissue structure, and how each system aids in maintaining human health.
  • Health Information Systems: This course introduces students to information management procedures used in American healthcare settings. Topics include filing systems, data storage, electronic health records, and patient confidentiality. Health information management concepts and skills are applied to exercises and assignments throughout the course.
  • Pathology: This course provides students with a better understanding of disease processes and how the human body functions. Coursework introduces research and evidence-based knowledge about common pathologies, diseases, diagnostic testing, and treatments of internal body systems. Students also learn medical terminology they're likely to encounter in the workplace.

Certifications and Licenses

The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is the world's largest training and credentialing organization in the healthcare field, representing more than 190,000 members. Because medical coding regulations, requirements, and standards have become increasingly complex over the years, most employers prefer to hire medical billers and coders with AAPC certification, though they may allow new employees to earn certification shortly after being hired.

AAPC provides gold-standard credentials for medical billing and coding professionals, including the Certified Professional Coder and Certified Professional Biller. Certification exams consist of 150-200 multiple-choice questions that assess proper application of codes and procedures. AAPC recommends an associate degree but requires no specific educational attainment for test takers.

AAPC also offers specialized certification options like Certified Outpatient Coder (COC) and Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P). COC candidates must have at least two years of medical coding experience.

Continuing education is required to maintain AAPC certification.

The Best Online Associate in Medical Billing and Coding Degree Programs


1. Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, FL

Students looking for online accredited medical billing and coding schools should consider the AS in medical administrative billing and coding from Keiser University. The program explores administrative and clerical practices for insurance claims, reimbursement, and compliance.

Students learn how to use medical language and classification systems to accurately code medical diagnoses and procedures and perform administrative duties for healthcare practitioners. The 60-credit degree offers monthly start dates and requires both general education and major credits.

Core courses include introduction to healthcare, computerized medical office management, medical office procedures with insurance, and anatomy and physiology with terminology and disease process. Students also complete a four-credit externship. Graduates qualify for entry-level employment and can take the American Academy of Professional Coders credentialing exam as an apprentice.

Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED. Keiser may accept up to 45 transfer credits earned with a grade of 'C' or better from accredited institutions. Students may also receive credit for life experience, including military and on-the-job training.

  • School Type: Private Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Receiving Loans: 67%

View School Profile



2. Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Fennimore, WI

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College ranks among the top medical billing and coding accredited online schools. The college's associate in health information technology degree offers all coursework online, but students must complete an in-person internship at an approved local site.

The program trains students to perform tasks that are essential for healthcare practitioners. Learners develop critical thinking and communication skills and advanced knowledge of medical terminology. The 61-62-credit degree requires classes like digital literacy for healthcare, health revenue management, intermediate coding, and healthcare law and ethics. The program also requires a paid internship.

The two-year program offers August and January start dates and features sequenced credential training that begins with a medical coding specialist certificate in the first year. SWTC may award credit for prior learning experiences, including past academic work, military training, portfolios, and industry-recognized certifications.

The associate in health information technology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

  • School Type: Public Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Receiving Loans: 49%


3. Pennsylvania Institute of Technology

Media, PA

Pennsylvania Institute of Technology offers a medical billing and coding degree online program that takes two years to complete, though students can earn industry certification in just nine months. The associate of science in healthcare management prepares graduates for entry-level positions in medical billing and coding.

The 65-credit program includes a medical billing and coding academy. Students take classes like medical office administration services, mathematics for healthcare professionals, introduction to anatomy and physiology, and strategic management of healthcare organizations. The program also requires general education credits. Students gain communication, critical thinking, and management skills.

Online students at P.I.T. have access to free tutoring, interview coaching, and portfolio building assistance. Applicants must submit proof of high school graduation or completion of a GED, take an assessment test, and meet with an admission specialist. Students may need to complete additional courses depending on the results of P.I.T.'s placement test.

  • School Type: Private Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Receiving Loans: 87%


4. Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Fergus Falls, MN

Students can earn an accredited medical billing and coding degree online from Minnesota State Community and Technical College. The 64-credit AAS in health information technology and coding explores topics like diagnostic and procedure coding, data management of electronic patient records, and revenue cycle management. The career-relevant curriculum develops communication, leadership, and management skills while building knowledge of medical terminology, pharmacology, computer applications, and anatomy and physiology.

Core courses include essentials of human anatomy and physiology, intermediate procedure coding, healthcare management and analysis, and applied and professional ethics. Students also complete a practicum under the supervision of a qualified health information professional. The program may require additional developmental courses in reading, writing, and math, depending on students' placement test scores.

Applicants must submit academic transcripts. M State awards credit for prior learning, including relevant life, military, academic, and work experience. Distance learners may qualify for financial aid, including scholarships from M State's two foundations.

  • School Type: Public Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Receiving Loans: 57%


5. Northwest Technical College

Bemidji, MN

One of the best medical billing and coding accredited online schools in the country, Northwest Technical College offers an associate of applied science in medical coding. The 60-credit program trains students to use nationally recognized coding systems for classifying medical diagnoses and procedures. The curriculum explores topics like pharmacology, pathophysiology, and the U.S. healthcare system.

Required classes include anatomy and physiology, bioethical issues in contemporary society, medical languages applications, and introduction to computers and medical applications. The program also requires general education coursework in areas like writing, public speaking, and business communications. In addition to courses, students must complete an internship, gaining practical experience in the field. Students may need to take college readiness courses in math, writing, or reading, depending on their Accuplacer scores.

Graduates qualify for entry-level jobs in clinics, insurance companies, hospitals, and government agencies. NTC offers financial aid opportunities, including scholarships, to medical coding majors. All students pay in-state tuition, regardless of where they live. NTC's Student Success Center offers online access to tutoring, library resources, and study areas.

  • School Type: Public Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Receiving Loans: 55%


6. Minnesota State College Southeast

Winona, MN

Students seeking online accredited medical billing and coding schools should consider Minnesota State College Southeast. The school's online medical administrative assistant AAS comprises 60 credits, including 15 general education and 45 technical medical coding credits. In addition to coursework, students complete a practicum to gain experience in the field.

The program develops medical administration, communication, and business skills, preparing students for entry-level medical administrative positions in medical centers, insurance companies, home health agencies, and extended care facilities. Graduates can also continue their education through a bachelor's program.

Online students have access to academic advising and information technology support. They also qualify for the same types of financial aid as their on-campus counterparts, including loans, scholarships, and grants. Applicants can apply in less than 15 minutes. Transfer students must submit transcripts from all previously attended colleges. Both in- and out-of-state online students pay the same tuition rate.

  • School Type: Public Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 41%
  • Receiving Loans: 47%

View School Profile



7. Laramie County Community College

Cheyenne, WY

Laramie County Community College is among the best medical billing and coding accredited online schools. Distance learners can pursue an AAS in health information technology and management through the college's Health Sciences and Wellness Pathway. The program includes classroom instruction, clinical practice, and laboratory experience. Graduates qualify for immediate employment in the medical field. They can also transfer to a bachelor's program.

The curriculum covers medical record management and protection, coding for reimbursement, and health information management systems. Students learn to support staff and clinicians in hospitals, physicians' offices, outpatient clinics, and mental health facilities. The two-year program features stacked certificates, allowing learners to earn initial certification in one semester and complete a medical claims coding certificate over the next three semesters.

The 63-credit AAS requires classes in healthcare quality and performance improvement, medical office procedural skills, computer software for medical office professionals, and health information applications. Students also complete two professional practice experiences: one in coding and the other in health information management. Students with low placement test scores may need to complete developmental courses before enrolling in required classes.

  • School Type: Public Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Receiving Loans: 54%


8. Cowley College

Arkansas City, KS

Students can earn a career-relevant medical billing and coding degree online from Cowley College. The AAS in medical coding prepares students for medical coding positions in physicians' offices, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. The program also prepares students to pursue specialized national certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders.

In this program, students learn how to accurately assign codes to medical diagnoses and procedures. Required courses include introduction to health information, current procedural terminology coding, reimbursement methodologies, and international classification of disease coding. The program offers flexible online classes that follow an asynchronous format.

Applicants must submit proof of a high school diploma or GED, ACT scores (if available), and placement assessment scores. Transfer students must submit official transcripts from all previously attended colleges. Cowley offers scholarships for online medical coding students on a limited basis.

  • School Type: Public Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 34%
  • Receiving Loans: 40%


9. Indian Hills Community College

Ottumwa, IA

Indian Hills Community College offers an online AAS in health information technology that explores revenue cycle management, medical terminology, legal concepts, and official coding guidelines. Students learn how to use common classifications and nomenclatures for coding, validate codes, and use a variety of health information systems. Graduates qualify to take the national certification exam to become registered health information technicians.

The curriculum includes classes in compliance and risk management, essentials of health records, health information e-systems, and legal principles in healthcare. Students also complete three professional experience courses totaling 540 clock hours and three virtual laboratories.

Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 2.0 GPA and submit ACT, SAT, or Accuplacer scores. The program also requires a criminal background check, physical and immunization records, and a drug screen. The college maintains professional liability coverage for health information technology students.

The health information technology AAS is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

  • School Type: Public Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Receiving Loans: 55%


10. Highland Community College

Highland, KS

Established in 1858, Highland Community College was the first college in Kansas and today serves more than 3,000 students annually. HCC students can earn a medical billing and coding degree online that teaches them how to assign codes to medical diagnoses and procedures for insurance and billing purposes.

The fully online, 65-credit associate of applied science in medical coding program includes core classes like introduction to health information, legal and ethical issues in healthcare, healthcare computer applications and electronic encoders, and international classification of disease coding. Students culminate the degree with a capstone class and healthcare coding practicum.

HCC offers credit for prior learning and military training. HCC also has articulation agreements with 11 four-year institutions, which make it easy for graduates to transfer to bachelor's programs. Graduates can also take the certified coding specialist and certified coding associate exams administered by the American Health Information Management Association.

  • School Type: Public Nonprofit
  • Average Net Price: $$$$$
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Receiving Loans: 75%

Online Associate in Medical Billing & Coding Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

Medical Billing and Coding Careers

Medical billing and coding accredited online schools prepare graduates for a number of entry-level careers in the healthcare industry. Prior to pursuing employment, most graduates obtain professional certification from AACP, AMBA, or AHIMA. Job openings can be found in hospitals, physician's offices, or outpatient facilities.

The majority of graduates with a medical billing and coding degree seek employment in billing and coding. However, they may choose to embark on careers as medical assistants, health information technicians, or data analysts. Additional education and certification may be required for upward mobility or placement in advanced positions.

Take a look at three career options for graduates below.

$40,350 Medical Records Technician
Median Salary: $40,350 Projected Job Growth: 11%

Medical records technicians manage and organize patient records and other health information data. Using various classification systems, these professionals code and categorize information, assisting with insurance reimbursements, clinical database upkeep, and maintenance of patients' medical histories. They ensure the accuracy, accessibility, and security of both electronic and hard-copy files.

Education requirements can vary by position, but many employers prefer medical records technicians to hold an associate degree. Certification, such as the Registered Health Information Technician credential, is typically required. To excel in this career, professionals need keen analytical and technical skills, as well as a strong sense of ethics.

$36,860 Billing and Posting Clerk
Median Salary: $36,860 Projected Job Growth: 14%

Billing and posting clerks compile, compute, and record numerical data related to the sale of goods or services. In a healthcare setting, medical billing clerks primarily work to prepare bills and invoices for medical services. The position involves frequent contact with patients to establish and follow up on payment arrangements.

Education requirements for entry-level positions vary, but some employers prefer candidates with a two-year degree and relevant experience in a billing office. Billing and posting clerks in the medical industry need to understand medical terminology and must have excellent communication and computer skills.

$34,800 Medical Assistant
Median Salary: $34,800 Projected Job Growth: 23%

Medical assistants handle a variety of administrative and clinical tasks in healthcare facilities. Tasks may include recording patient history, measuring vital signs, giving injections or medication, and scheduling appointments. In larger practices, these professionals may specialize exclusively in administrative work, providing an ideal career for those with a degree in medical billing and coding.

Employers typically hire medical assistants with an associate degree or postsecondary certificate, though some have only a high school diploma and learn required skills through on-the-job training. These professionals need keen analytical, interpersonal, and technical skills.

Common Questions About Medical Billing and Coding Programs

true How Long Does It Take to Complete an Associate in Medical Billing and Coding Program?

An associate degree in medical billing and coding takes approximately two years of full-time study to complete. Many online programs also allow part-time enrollment, which takes longer.

What Can I Do With an Associate in Medical Billing and Coding?

An associate degree provides students with the knowledge and skills required for entry-level careers in medical billing and coding. Top employers include hospitals and physicians' offices.

How Much Do You Make in Medical Billing and Coding?

According to the BLS, medical records and health information technicians — including medical coders — earn a median salary of $40,350. Wages vary by employer, location, and experience.

What Is Medical Billing and Coding?

Medical billing and coding is the process by which medical providers and an insurance companies communicate. They ensure that healthcare providers are properly paid for their services.

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