Online Medical Billing Schools

by Meg

Gina,


Your web site has been so helpful to me. I am wondering what you think about on line to get a certificate.

Thanks,
Meg

Response

Meg,

As I’m sure you already know, the biggest advantage of online training is the convenience of being able to do it at your own pace, and the cost is typically cheaper. I think there are good and reputable online medical billing schools available that will give you a good foundation in billing and coding. But I do think there are some overpriced online training you have to be aware of. It shouldn’t require a year to complete and several thousand dollars - unless you are getting deep into coding also and working towards certification. You should be able to complete an online course within 3 to 6 months max.

But a lot of people think that once they complete an online medical billing course, they all ready to get a job. Unfortunately a lot of employers are looking for more than just completing an online course - they really want to see some practical experience. If you look at ads in your local paper or any of the job search sites like Indeed Jobs, look at the requirements in the posting. They usually ask for a minimum of 1 to 3 years of experience. I know from my experience, I preferred hiring someone with experience versus hiring someone who completed an online course, but had no practical experience - because I still had to spend a lot of time training them in our processes.

Don’t get me wrong, an online course is very helpful in establishing a foundation in medical billing, but it really complements your education as as opposed to completing it. We get so many submissions to the site from people who have completed a certificate, or diploma, or associate's degree in billing and/or coding but are having a tough time getting a job. These credentials are great - and will prove very useful when changing jobs or career advancement, but entry level it’s a challenge to get a foot in the door. I tell everyone I can to get any practical experience you can - even if it means offering to work for free for a short time, kind of an internship. Just consider it part of your training - that you don’t have to pay for.

When I first got into medical billing, I knew someone who owned a medical billing business and ran it out of her home. She commented on how busy she was so I offered to help her work for free just to get some experience and learn the medical billing business. Fortunately she didn’t take me up on it and offered to pay me to work on insurance aging. I really learned a lot. I actually purchased a training program from a website - this was before the actual online training courses. What they sent us was a big notebook full of very general info on medical billing and how to start a medical billing business. It cost about $700 and I could have gotten a good medical billing and coding reference book on Amazon for less than $100 that had better info - which is what I eventually did. A book called “Understanding Health Insurance” by Michelle Green is a great reference into the whole reimbursement process - and you can probably get a used one on Amazon for under $30!

I hope I haven’t scared or discouraged you any - but I’m just trying to be real and honest about getting into the field. It’s a great occupation to be in and there’s always someone who needs a good medical billing and coding specialist - so it’s got good job security. And for people who are really good there’s good opportunities offering consulting and specialized services like insurance credentialing to practices that don’t have the time or expertise for these functions.

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