Medical Billing Coding Training Options

Medical Billing Coding Training. A look at the spectrum of training options such as Associate, Diploma, and Certificate programs, their costs, and how long to complete. We also discuss your career goals to help you determine the best training options for you.

What kind of Medical Billing and Coding Training do I need to get a Good job or Start a Business?
If you’re going for a corporate job, generally the more medical billing coding training the better. Even if you’re planning to stay strictly in medical billing, having some coding training looks good on a resume. A good knowledge of coding makes you more valuable to an employer and justifies asking for more $.

But unless you have rich parents or large savings account, you probably want to know how to get the most training for the least dollars.

What’s Your Goal?

The amount of training you need depends on your goals – getting a good job at a hospital, large practice, or insurance company – or starting a medical billing business.

Smaller practices will usually not be as stringent for certification or training. The downside is they probably aren’t going to pay as well or have the benefits of a larger employer.

One of the nice things about a smaller practice is they tend to be more informal. A couple of my practices close down on Friday afternoons. You usually can’t do that working at a larger employer.

I’m sure if you’ve done an online search for medical billing coding training you’ll find an almost overwhelming response. There are good programs available both locally and via distance learning (or online) from vocational schools and community colleges.

How Much Does it Cost and How Long Will it Take?

Medical billing coding training can run the whole spectrum from associate’s degree to do-it-yourself. Here’s a general summary of the range of options. Course offerings will vary depending on the school but this gives you an idea of the spectrum of courses offered by most vocational and community colleges.

Associates Program

On the longer end is an associate’s degree in Healthcare Reimbursement. Some schools may describe this degree slightly differently. This is the most comprehensive medical billing coding training.

Time to complete: 18 months to 2 years

Estimated cost: $12,000 to $15,000

The curricula would typically cover:

  • Basic keyboard skills
  • Human anatomy
  • Career planning
  • CPT, ICD, & HCPCS coding
  • Billing and insurance reimbursement
  • Medical terminology
  • Advanced billing and reimbursement
  • Office procedures
  • Medical ethics and law
  • Communications
  • Fine arts or humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Social Sciences

The associates program would prepare a student to take a certification exam by either American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). If certification is important or necessary for your career goals, this is the way to go.

Diploma Program

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

The curricula would typically cover:

  • Basic keyboard skills
  • Human anatomy
  • CPT, ICD, & HCPCS coding
  • Billing and insurance reimbursement
  • Medical terminology
  • Office procedures
  • Medical ethics and law

Certificate Program

Basic medical billing 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

Typically curricula covered:

  • Keyboarding skills
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical office procedures
  • Billing and insurance reimbursement
  • Basic coding
  • Medical law and ethics

If you purchase a medical billing coding training course or package, make sure it comes from a reputable source that has been around a while. The material should be written by someone with extensive experience in the field. You should also receive a Certified Medical Billing Professional certificate upon successful completion.

Watch Out For Scams

When I started a medical billing career, I wanted to know what training was needed and how much it was going to cost. Silly me thought the more you spend, the better the training.

After shelling out a lot of money for what was basically junk, I still didn’t know much about medical billing or coding. This was basically general information on medical billing that you could find on the internet. I know now I could have gotten much better training for a fraction of the cost.

Medical billing and coding is not rocket science, but it is important to have a good understanding of reimbursement and coding basics and to keep abreast of industry trends and regulatory guidelines.

Affordable Options

As I’ve learned the hard way, you really don’t have to spend a lot to get a good background in medical billing. When I got started I bought a course in medical billing for about $800. They had a fancy web site and the sales pitch was so convincing.

After I forked over my money I got a notebook full of pretty much useless information I could have found on the internet for free. With some hokey “marketing materials.” Oh – and I wont even mention what I spent on software.

My point is you don’t have to spend a ton on training to be successful. A good course on the fundamentals of medical billing is all you need to get started.

Here’s an excellent economical alternative to the more traditional and expensive medical billing coding training. The online Medical Billing Fundamentals Course is a very affordable way to learn the important concepts of billing and coding.

If you’re planning to start a medical billing business checkout our Medical Billing Business Books page.

This package combined with Understanding Health Insurance from Amazon for about $65 (or get a used copy for less) is a hard combination to beat for the money.

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 recommended will teach you everything you need to know to get started in medical billing for a very reasonable price.

We’ve also put together an introduction to medical billing and coding topics based on the fundamentals course here.

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