Degrees

Congratulations on choosing a medical billing and coding degree. You are about to join a rapidly expanding career field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medical billing and coding field is one of the fastest growing occupations today. But before you can start your career, you need to be thoroughly trained for this demanding job. Here are the available medical billing and coding degrees that you may want to consider.

Certificate or Diploma

Certificate or diploma degrees in medical billing and coding can be completed in nine months to one year. Certificate or diploma programs offer few, or no, general educational requirements. Their fast-tracked curriculum focuses only on the skills that you will need to do this job. Career and community colleges generally offer these programs. Certificate or diploma programs are a good choice if you want to start your new career as soon as possible.

Associate’s

Associate’s degrees are 2-year educational programs that go beyond the specifics of the medical billing and coding field. In addition to learning all of the skills that you will need for your new career, you will also have a substantial amount of general (or liberal arts) course credits to fulfill. Career and community colleges also offer associate’s degrees. Your chances of advancing in this field are much greater if you have an associate’s degree or higher. A major benefit to having an associate’s degree is that you can more easily advance your education in the future. If you should decide to pursue a bachelor’s or a master’s degree later, the credits that you earned for your associate’s will apply toward those degrees.

Bachelor’s

Bachelor’s degrees are 4-year programs that are offered by universities and colleges. Many people have used their bachelor’s degrees in health information management or health care administration to enter the medical billing and coding field. Like associate’s degrees, bachelor’s programs give you a much broader educational background. They can also afford you opportunities to advance into management positions in the future.

Before You Register for a Program

Whether you decide on a diploma, a certificate, an associate’s, or a bachelor’s degree program, you must make sure that the program is an accredited one. In order to become certified later—a recommended step—you must have graduated from an accredited medical coding program.

The two agencies responsible for accrediting these programs are the American Academy of Professional Coders and the American Health Information Management Association. Before you register for any medical coding program, make sure that it is accredited by at least one of these two agencies.

Or…

Find out if the school is accredited by one of these six regional agencies:

  • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC)
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NASC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS)

Financing Your Medical Coding Education

If attending a medical coding or billing program is financially burdensome to you, there’s hope.

Most schools offer some type of financial aid or scholarships for their students. In addition, the American Health Information Management Association Foundation of Research and Education (FORE) offer scholarships specifically to exceptional undergraduates enrolled in such programs.

A large percentage of medical coders today got their degrees from a vocational school but medical coding degrees can also be attained by attending a community college, junior college and an online program. The most popular degree held by medical coders is the Associate’s degree from an accredited program which takes about two years to complete. Graduating with an Associate’s degree will put you on the right track towards a Bachelor’s degree if you choose to pursue that route. This takes about four years to complete. In addition to formal degrees, various certification opportunities in medical coding are being offered as online programs. Schooling lasts anywhere from nine months to two years. Achieving certification by sitting for a national exam is also an option. Reputable certification is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). After passing the AAPC exam, you’ll be granted the title of Certified Professional Coder (CPC).

Medical Billing & Coding Degree Programs

Medical billing and coding degree programs are designed to prepare medical billing and coding students with the career skills and background knowledge they need to be competitive in the job market for medical billing and medical coding.

A degree can give medical billing and coding specialists an edge over others who have only on-the-job training. The background knowledge and skills taught in a medical billing degree program can also make medical billing and medical coding specialists more effective and more efficient on the job than specialists with other types of training. Thus, exploring your degree options is a good step to take as you prepare for this high-demand career.

Most medical coders get their medical billing and coding degrees from junior colleges and vocational schools, but degrees can also be attained by attending private and public universities or online degree programs.

Types of Medical Billing and Coding Degree

Associate’s Degree Programs

Associate’s degrees in medical billing and coding are the most common form of education for medical billers and coders. These are 2-year educational programs that go beyond the career basics of medical billing and coding. In addition to learning all of the basic job skills, you will also have a substantial amount of general education course credits to fulfill. A major benefit to having an associate’s medical billing and coding degree is that you can more easily advance your education in the future. If you should decide to pursue a bachelor’s or a master’s degree later, the credits that you earned for your associate’s will apply toward those degrees. Medical billing and coding associate’s degrees can be found at career and community colleges.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Bachelor’s degrees in medical billing and coding are 4-year programs that cover a substantial amount of general education and advanced background knowledge in addition to the basic medical billing and coding job skills. Other bachelor’s degree programs can be helpful in entering this field as well. Many people have used bachelor’s degrees in health information management or health care administration to enter the medical billing and coding field. Like associate’s degrees, bachelor’s medical billing and coding degree programs give you a much broader educational background. They can also afford you opportunities to advance into management positions in the future. Medical billing and coding bachelor’s degrees are offered by universities and colleges.

Before You Enroll in a Degree Program

Whether you decide on an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a certificate or diploma program, you must make sure the program is accredited. This is especially true if you plan to take the highly recommended step of becoming certified later. The two agencies responsible for accrediting these programs are the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Alternatively, a school is still reputable if it is accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies.

Medical Billing and Coding Degree Programs Enrolling Now

Associate’s Degree Programs

[edu-search]associates_degr05.805405205106405e31[/edu-search]

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

[edu-search]bachelors_degre05.805405205106405e31[/edu-search]

Also see:

AllCareerEducationFAQGrantsLocationsMedical Billingmedical codersMedical Coding