What to Look for In a Program for Medical Billing and Coding

If your attending school for the first time or are interested in making a career switch, continue to read for helpful information on what to look for in a medical billing and coding program.

When looking for your program, items to consider are your preferred learning environment, costs, and program delivery. In some cases, an online program might be a better fit for your schedule than an on-campus program.

Before beginning your education, you first need to decide whether you are pursuing a certificate program, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree.

Choose an Accredited Program

As you are researching medical billing and coding programs, make to verify the institution’s accreditations. Colleges, universities, and individual programs that meet specific academic standards receive accreditation.

Many employers include academic accreditation in their hiring requirements because it verifies that a potential employee holds a degree or certificate from a reputable institution.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) compromises an association of accrediting bodies and institutions. CHEA maintains the databases of these institutions and individually accredited programs. These databases can be an excellent resource when seeking a school or program, such as medical billing and coding programs like UMA.

Program Type

Your goals will drive your decisions in pursuing which degree level. For example, if you hope to land an entry-level medical billing and coding job upon completing your program. You will more than likely be interested in a certificate program or associate degree. However, if your career goals drive you towards management roles, you would want to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Research medical billing and coding programs for details on degree levels, salary outlook, and related careers. Below Is more information on education options:

  • A diploma or Certificate Program can be completed in a year or less and prepare students for professional certification in medical billing and coding, compliance, auditing, and documentation.
  • An Associate Degree can take up to two years to complete and includes general academic courses, including math and writing, medical billing, and coding. Students learn the most popular coding manuals and the medical terminology, and insurance compliance standards.
  • Bachelor’s Degree is a four-year program that is not usually offered as medical billing and coding majors but focuses on health information management. Programs cover data management, operations, leadership, and human resources.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Medical Billing and Coding Program

Blended Learning

Some courses are entirely online, where others might be a blended learning model, which requires students to attend class on campus for at least 50% of the time, with the other 50% of coursework completed online.  The blended learning programs provide students with learning opportunities and experiences that are not available in a completely online program, especially for lab work, nursing, or teaching courses. Review course requirements before choosing a medical billing and coding program to make sure you understand the on-campus components, if there are any.

Asynchronous or Synchronous Learning

Both of these learning models allow students to participate in coursework online. Still, synchronous learning requires students to log into their courses at specific times to participate in “live” courses on campus. They are allowing full engagement in class discussions, presentations, and group work.

Generally, students’ schedules can prevent participation in synchronous classes, so you might consider looking for asynchronous classes when you select your programs. Asynchronous studying makes it possible for students to log in to their courses at their convenience, making lessons more flexible.

Learning Style

If you choose an online program, you need to work independently and communicate effectively with students and instructors in a virtual environment. Typically students who are self-starters, motivated and disciplined excel in an online environment. You will need to work within a structure, including meeting deadlines, managing time, and logging into courses.

Determine your learning style before choosing a medical billing and coding program. If you review your learning style, you might decide that in-person courses work best for you or be most successful in online instructions.

Cost of Medical Billing and Coding Program

A medical billing and coding program’s cost will play a significant factor in which school and program you select. Costs vary for programs depending on the degree level and whether you are pursuing your education part-time or full-time. Additional costs to consider are books, materials, lab and technology fees, health insurance and immunization records, and certification fees.