Are Online Medical Billing and Coding Courses Worth It?
Medical billing and coding is the intersection of technology and healthcare. In this field, you'll use various technology systems to help with the billing and reimbursement procedures that are utilized throughout the healthcare industry. You may also manage billing and electronic health records for your employer.
The medical billing and coding field is vital in healthcare because it provides patient-facing professionals the information they need to provide quality care and help maintain organization in an industry that requires it to function effectively.
Medical billing and coding courses can provide the industry knowledge you need to break into the field or upskill for your career. The skills you’ll learn can unlock new career opportunities and provide career advancement potential, said Catina Flagg, a clinical faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU).
“Medical coding provides you with choices. You can easily work full- or part-time, and you may even be able to work out of the office,” Flagg said. “Some healthcare providers are outsourcing their medical coding and coding work, which means you may be able to work from home — once you’ve gained some experience and credentials.”
What Should You Expect from Medical Billing and Coding Courses?
In medical billing and coding courses, you'll learn what medical billing and coding is, focused on the skills and knowledge required for a career in the field. The essential areas of study include:
- Coding classification systems
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and evaluation management
- Level two of the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS)
- Modifiers and terminologies
- The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM)
These areas of study will prepare you by providing the “necessary medical terminology, the cycle of healthcare claims and the medical coding system,” Flagg said.
The time it takes to complete medical billing and coding courses depends on a couple of factors, such as where and how you take the courses. At SNHU, for example, you can take courses online, which are only eight weeks long. That means you can gain medical billing and coding skills in as little as eight weeks.
Potential benefits of taking medical billing and coding courses include:
- Freelance and contract job options
- Job opportunities that offer flexible work environments
- Working remotely
If a flexible career is something you desire, consider what a career in the medical billing and coding field might offer you.
What Types of Jobs Are Available in the Medical Billing and Coding Field?
The jobs available may vary based on your education level and experience. But the job requirements in this field support various education levels. So, whether you are just getting started or already have a degree, there is a career path for you.
Some roles to consider:
- Health information technologists
- Medical and health service managers
- Medical records specialists
- Medical registrar personnel
The role of medical records specialist is one option if you're just getting started in the field. To be a medical records specialist, you'll typically need at least a postsecondary nondegree award, such as a certificate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median pay for the position in 2021 was $46,660, and jobs are expected to grow 7% in this field through 2031.
There are many websites, such as the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), that offer exams available to those looking to get certified in medical coding, such as:
- Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
- Certified Outpatient Coding (COC)
- Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
- Certified Risk Adjustment Coder (CRC)
Other roles in the industry may require a degree, such as an associate degree. For example, the roles of health information technologists and medical registrars had a median salary of $55,560 in 2021. And they typically have an associate degree education, according to BLS. In addition, the field is expected to grow 17% through 2031 — much faster than average.
There are also career opportunities, such as management positions, for those with a bachelor's degree. For example, medical and health service managers typically hold a bachelor’s degree, and their median pay in 2021 was $101,340, according to BLS. In addition, this field is expected to grow 28% through 2031 — much faster than average.
No matter your education level, there are career options available in this growing field that medical billing and coding courses can help you achieve.
Should You Take Medical Billing and Coding Courses?
Taking medical billing and coding courses allows you to explore the area of study before committing to a full degree program. Although, if the medical billing and coding field interests you, you may wonder what degree options are available. At SNHU, the medical billing and coding course is a part of the health information management (HIM) bachelor’s degree program.
What is HIM? HIM focuses on learning about health data and regulations, clinical systems management, data collection and storage, and evaluating information system applications, among many other subjects.
If you're considering a HIM degree, then medical billing and coding courses are likely included within the program. You may also be able to transfer any credits you earn into a different program of your choosing as well.
Whether you take medical billing and coding courses individually or as part of a degree program, you'll have the benefit of learning “(the) valuable skills and knowledge needed in the many healthcare business and administration roles,” Flagg said.
Discover more about SNHU's online medical billing and coding class: Find out what skills you'll learn and how to request information about the program.
Nicholas Patterson '22 is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.
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About Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.