Online Medical Clerk Associate's Degree Program Info

Individuals seeking a position as a medical clerk or secretary can complete an associate's degree in medical billing and coding. Distance learners can take advantage of online programs and hybrid programs offered at several 2-year colleges.

Essential Information

Medical clerks handle business affairs in a healthcare provider's office. Associate degree programs in medical billing and coding are available totally online; many are also offered as combinations of online and on-campus learning. The programs usually require two years of study. Graduates are prepared to work in occupations including medical secretary or clerk, medical claims analyst, billing controller, claims assistant and patient account representative.

Courses in these programs include billing codes, medical terminology, office procedures and anatomy. While certification is not required, many employers prefer to hire someone who holds credentials from a professional organization. Getting certified may require only graduation from an accredited training program, or it may call for passing a competency exam. Maintaining a certification may require completion of continuing education programs in the field.

Online Associate Degree in Medical Billing and Coding

Online learners are trained in the confidential keeping and transmitting of medical records between patients and doctors. Additionally, students learn basic office administration and computer technology.

Online courses and lectures are viewed using online course management platforms and communications tools, such as e-mail, discussion forums and live chat. Accessing online learning tools requires the use of a computer, meeting the schools hardware and software requirements, and a reliable Internet connection. A headset, webcam and audio equipment may also be necessary to participate in real-time lectures and discussions.

List of Common Courses in Medical Coding and Billing

Courses at the associate level prepare students for a specialized career in the handling, transferring and organizing of medical files. Prospective medical clerks gain a comprehensive knowledge of useful medical and legal terminology, federal and state regulations, coding techniques and word processing.

The Language of the Medical Field Course

In this course, students learn medical terminology, which is the complex language used in the medical field. Online learners are trained in word roots, suffixes and prefixes as they relate to diseases, various medical specialties and medical procedures. Additionally, online learners gain hands-on experience in medical specialty procedures.

Basics of Billing with Computers Course

Students get practice using specialized computer software for medical billing and coding. Inputting of patient information, processing of patient transactions, producing reports and processing of claims are all topics of focus in this course.

Basics of Laws and Ethics in Medical Information

This course covers the legal and ethical aspects of working with private patient information. Students study specific state and federal laws concerning the handling of patient information and procedures for confidential communication. It also covers medical and legal terminology.

Career Info

Generally, medical clerks with formal office education can find positions in hospitals, doctor's offices and clinics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate for receptionists and information clerks, including medical clerks, is expected to grow faster than average at 15% from 2008-2018 ( The BLS also projected mean annual wages for receptionists and information clerks in physicians' offices of $26,440 in May 2009.

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