Medical Billing Courses Online
If you’re interested in medical billing or coding but can’t seem to find the time for school, you might want to take a look at a medical billing course online as a viable alternative for your education. Some people find they learn best in a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom because it gives them a structured, rigid set of learning rules. But more and more, students are finding online college is the perfect solution for a busy lifestyle.
Similarities in Classroom and Online Learning
Online college degrees have come a long way in the past few years. Today’s online classes are much the same as traditional schools, except the material and interaction is all online. You’ll have one-on-one interaction with your professor and can ask questions or seek help if you need it. You can also chat with your classmates, set up study groups and exchange ideas and concepts with one another. You’ll have access to a full online library for reference and study, and the workload will be the same: reading assignments, quizzes and tests will be assigned—and you’ll still be expected to submit your work on schedule.
Advantages of Online Medical Billing Courses
The main reason people choose to learn online is the flexibility it has over traditional schools. You don’t have to stick to a rigid class schedule, and can learn when you want and where you want in an online course; the only criteria is having Internet access and turning in your assigned work on time. Online courses are usually less expensive, and you’ll also save money because you won’t have to commute to school. Best of all, if you’re currently employed you can finish your education around your employment schedule.
Schools for Medical Billers and Coders
Many schools offer a medical billing course online; while some offer a short certificate program the norm is an associate’s degree because of the extensive information covered. When choosing a school you should first determine whether or not it’s accredited.
The nationally recognized association that accredits schools is the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). You can check the name of a school on their online database. Another accreditation organization is the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools (ACCSC), which specializes in career-oriented programs and also offers an online database.
Here are the three professional organizations that accredit medical billing courses:
- Advancing the Business of Healthcare (AAPC)
- American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
- Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
Because you’ll want to become certified once you have your diploma and any required experience you should make sure your school of choice is approved by one or more of these organizations.
In addition you should check with the Better Business Bureau and do a quick online search to see what former students have to say about the school you’re interested in.
Online Medical Billing Courses
Your online medical billing associate’s degree course will take two years to complete if you take a full class load, but you can take longer if you need to work around employment or family commitments. Since you’ll be working towards a degree, you’ll take some basic core classes but most will be geared towards the health field, such as physiology and anatomy.
While each school will vary in its specific online program, you’ll learn medical terms and how to interpret them into the codes used for billing, how the insurance billing process works and how to operate the various software programs used in the medical billing and insurance claims fields.
In addition you’ll have an internship position during your second year to gain hands on experience as a medical biller. Here are some sample subjects of your medical billing program:
- Medical terminology
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
- International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
- Specialized coding systems
- Insurance reimbursement
- Computerized accounting
- Office procedures
- Records system management
- Integrated medical office software
- Medical ethics
- Healthcare claim cycle
- Billing and coding applications
Your best bet might be to investigate several online schools and make a pros-and-cons sheet of the advantages, disadvantages and costs of each. That way you can easily narrow down your choices before you’re ready to enroll. We can help you research accredited programs so you’re ready to ask your school’s financial aid office to determine if there are any scholarships and grants you might be eligible for before you commit to enrolling.
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