Online Medical Billing School - 8 Questions to Ask when selecting Medical Billing Coding Online Schools. There are alternatives to online medical billing coding schools that can save you a lot of money as you'll see below.
Online Medical Billing School - So many choices - vocational, community, online (distance) learning. You can spend from $3,000 to $15,000 for training from a reputable accredited school. Or if you’re starting a business you probably want to take the fastest and most affordable route and get started with your business.
If you’ve done an online search you’ll find an almost overwhelming response for online medical billing coding schools. Reputable schools are available both locally and via distance learning (or online). But be careful - there are also a lot of bad schools – better known as “diploma mills.”
Online Medical Billing School - 8 Questions to Ask
1. Accreditation – If you’re going to invest in a one of the more comprehensive programs, make sure the school is accredited by a reputable organization so your diploma means something.
Many online programs are offered now by established “brick and mortar” schools and are an extension of their traditional courses. These schools usually don't have an issue with accreditation.
Check out the online medical billing school accreditation before paying anything. A reputable online medical billing school will be accredited. This means the school’s curriculum has been reviewed by an independent agency.
This independent agency should be reputable recognized organization such as the Better Business Bureau or the Distance Education Training Council (DETC) which accredits many online schools.
Accreditation is desired by employers because it gives them an assurance an employee has received legitimate training.
Watch out for “diploma mills” that have low standards and don’t require the students to do anything meaningful. Their accreditation agencies have impressive official sounding names but are usually created by the bogus school themselves.
2. Reputation – Don’t rely just on the website or their marketing. See if there is any independent news on the internet about the school. What do alumni have to say about it? See if the Better Business Bureau has any records or reports on the school.
3. How established is the school - Usually the longer the school has been around, the better. Chances are if they have existed a long time, they are reputable. Otherwise their reputation would catch up to them.
4. Graduation rate – A higher graduation rate is a result of a successful program.
5. Tuition - Any hidden or questionable fees. Make sure they don’t try to sneak in any fees or long term commitments if you want out. An artificially “to-good-to-be-true” tuition should raise a red flag and raise suspicions about accreditation.
6. Textbooks - Are textbooks included in tuition cost? If not find out what textbooks are required and what the cost will be. Books can be a big expense.
7. Availability - Look for a physical address. You should be able to get in touch with the instructor easily. Will they respond promptly? Check out any online info (forum's or blogs) from former student experiences.
8. Student/Teacher Ratio – Too many students makes it hard to get help. Remember you’re paying for a good education so you deserve access to the teacher when you have questions.
If you're pursuing a medical billing job in a more corporate setting such as a hospital or insurance company, a certificate or degree that prepares you for coding certification is a big plus. This is the coding certification exam offered by either American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Generally the more training and credentials you have, the more your income potential.
How much and how long
Here's a very general summary of the general range of options for an online medical billing school. Course offerings will vary depending on the school and how it’s delivered (classroom or online) but this give you an idea of the spectrum of courses offered by most vocational and community colleges.
On the longer end is an associate’s degree in Healthcare Reimbursement. Some online medical billing coding schools may describe this degree slightly differently. This is the most comprehensive medical billing and coding training
Time to complete: 18 months to 2 years
Estimated cost: $12,000 to $15,000
This is a more abbreviated medical billing and coding training compared to an associate program. This type of program would include more detailed training in procedures and the nuances of healthcare billing. Approximately twice as many courses as a certificate program.
Time to complete: 9 months to 1 year
Approximate cost: $6000
Basic medical billing and coding training for those with no previous medical experience. Establishes a basic foundation in medical billing necessary for an entry level job.
Time to complete: 6 to 9 months
Approximate cost: $3000.
If you want to start a medical billing business or just learn the basics and not have to commit time and money to a more formal and expensive school. As I've learned, you don't have to spend a ton on training to be successful.
MedicalBillingCourse.com is a good reputable online medical billing course starting for around $500 and no more than $700. They also have an active forum of users that provides a great support system. This is a great alternative to a more expensive and lengthy online medical billing school.
Starting A Business?
If you're planning to start a business, a good medical billing resource are the collection of books and materials called Medical Billing Home Business in a Box!. It's written by Alice Scott & Michele Redmond, two successful medical billing business owners. If I could have purchased this when I started it would have saved me a lot of grief and money!
I’ve purchased several of their books and found Michele and Alice's advice to be right on the money. These practical books are based on their experience operating a growing and successful business over the last 15 years. These are the same keys to a successful medical billing business that I've learned over the years written in a detailed - easy to read & understand format. If you want to be successful – learn from those who are.
If you want to start your own business, there’s no program or book that will make you successful – that comes from you. Your drive, passion, and perseverance will make you successful. However these less expensive options will teach you everything you need to know to get started in medical billing for a very reasonable price.
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