The Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs

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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 5 Online Associate in Medical Coding and Billing
School Location Avg Net Price
1. Keiser University Fort Lauderdale, FL $$$$
2. Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WI $
3. Pennsylvania Institute of Technology Media, PA $$$
4. Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN $$
5. Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN $$

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.

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.

How To Choose Your Major

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Medical Billing and Coding Professional Organizations

Membership associations provide a wealth of resources for students and working professionals alike. Common membership benefits include continuing education webinars, networking opportunities, and job search assistance. The three organizations listed below also offer industry-standard certifications that help professionals demonstrate mastery of medical billing, colding, and health information management concepts.

  • American Medical Billing Association For more than 20 years, AMBA has provided professional certification and support to thousands of medical billers across the country. Every month, AMBA hosts at least one free webinar for continuing education. Other membership benefits include Facebook group access, online resources, and professional discounts.
  • American Academy of Professional Coders The largest healthcare training and credentialing organization in the world, AACP represents more than 190,000 members working in medical coding, medical billing, healthcare compliance, and practice management. Membership benefits include networking opportunities, an exclusive job board, and four free webinars each year. Students can join at a reduced cost.
  • American Health Information Management Association By providing knowledge, resources, and tools, AHIMA advances the standards and professional practice of health information. The organization offers industry-standard certification, continuing education opportunities, online library access, and career preparation tools specifically designed for students, including the AHIMA mentor program. Students can join at a reduced cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

The Best Online Associate in Medical Billing and Coding Degree Programs

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Minnesota State Community and Technical College 

Fergus Falls, MN Apply Now

About this school

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.

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Northwest Technical College 

Bemidji, MN Apply Now

About this school

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.

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Minnesota State College Southeast 

Winona, MN Apply Now

About this school

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.

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Laramie County Community College 

Cheyenne, WY Apply Now

About this school

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.

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Cowley College 

Arkansas City, KS Apply Now

About this school

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.

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Indian Hills Community College 

Ottumwa, IA Apply Now

About this school

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).

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Highland Community College 

Highland, KS Apply Now

About this school

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.

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