In Texas, medical billing and coding courses are typically offered at 2-year colleges. They are sometimes included in health information technology associate degree programs, while stand-alone programs in medical billing and coding typically award undergraduate certificates. These programs usually include didactic studies and hands-on training in medical office settings. Their focus is on coding with the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding systems.
Austin Community College District
Students interested in careers in medical billing and coding have two study options at Austin Community College (ACC) in Austin. ACC offers a four-semester medical coding specialist certificate program and a six-semester health information technology (HIT) associate degree program. While the programs are similar, the certificate program focuses on coding, while the degree program includes an expanded selection of health-related courses, including coding.
The certificate program explores insurance coding, health data content and structure, coding classification systems and pathophysiology. Students pursuing the degree learn about coding and reimbursement methodologies, health information systems and health information organization. Both programs require that students complete work-related supervised internships. The final semester of the degree program helps the student prepare for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification exam.
Located in Brenham, Blinn College offers two programs for students interested in careers in medical billing and coding. The four-semester billing and coding specialist program teaches students about coding and classification systems, coding and reimbursement methodologies, medical coding rules and medical billing. Students also learn about health records, documentation requirements and federal regulations regarding payment systems. The HIT degree program includes healthcare courses, general education courses and two 256-hour clinical internships. This two-year program includes two summer semesters.
Collin College in McKinney, part of the Collin County Community College District, offers a 40-credit-hour online program that prepares students for careers in medical coding and billing. To be eligible for this program, students must complete the following prerequisite courses: human anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, healthcare systems and medical terminology. Course topics include basic and advanced medical coding, health data content and structure, medical law and ethics, medical insurance and ambulatory coding. Students spend the final semester reviewing and preparing for the certification exam.
Del Mar College
Corpus Christi-based Del Mar College has a medical insurance billing certificate program that can be completed in two semesters. The 18-semester-hour program includes courses in medical insurance, medical coding, medical terminology and medical administrative support. The business math and keyboarding courses help build the students' office skills. Upon completion, the student earns a certificate of achievement and can join the workforce as a medical biller and coder.
El Centro College
Located in Dallas, El Centro College offers a medical coding and billing program through its continuing education division. Classes, which are held at the college's Center for Allied Health and Nursing, are usually in the evenings and on Saturdays. Interested applicants should be able to read and write English at a tenth-grade level. Anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and pharmacology are some of the healthcare courses students complete in this program. Additional courses include, insurance billing and reimbursement, medical coding and medical law and ethics. This program prepares students to take AACP and AHIMA certification exams.
Houston Community College
Houston Community College, located in Houston, has a medical coding program available through its Southeast College. The 24-credit medical coding certificate program includes coursework in medical terminology, computer applications, medical transcription and coding. The two-semester program prepares students for careers in physicians' offices and healthcare centers.
Lone Star College System
Lone Star College offers a health information technology associate degree program at its North Harris campus in Houston. This AHIMA-accredited program prepares students for careers as health information technicians. The two-year program requires that students complete general education courses, major-related courses and sufficient electives to meet the 66-credit requirement for the degree. In addition to courses in ambulatory coding, coding and classification systems, health care statistics and medical terminology, students obtain hands-on training through a practicum course and clinical education.
Applicants must pass placement tests and provide proof of criminal background checks, drug screening, health insurance and current immunizations, including Hepatitis B and TB tests. Graduates are prepared to sit for various certification exams, including RHIT. Lone Star College also offers a coding certificate program for aspiring medical billers and coders to sit for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) exam.
San Jacinto Community College
San Jacinto Community College, located in Pasadena, has a health information management medical billing and coding certificate program that prepares students to work in medical offices. Students become familiar with billing processes and insurance procedures, while also learning the coding and classification system used in the healthcare industry today. They also learn about third-party reimbursement. This three-term program includes courses in medical terminology, coding and classification systems, medical coding and medical insurance. The final term has the student completing a work experience in a clinical setting. The school also offers a health information management medical coding certificate.
South Texas College
The medical coding specialist program at South Texas College in McAllen prepares students to take the AHIMA certification exam. To complete this three-semester program, students must complete 39 course credits. Course topics include advanced CPT coding-CPT 4, coding and reimbursement methodologies, basic and advanced medical terminology, coding and classification systems, pharmacology and medical office procedures. Students also complete a coding practicum course to obtain experience working in a real medical setting.
Tarrant County College
Fort Worth-based Tarrant County College (TCC) features a three-course medical coding program through its continuing education division. Offered in the spring and fall, this program includes courses in medical terminology, ICD-9 CM coding and advanced coding procedures. Students become familiar with the ICD-9-CM coding system, as well as the rules and guidelines as set by the ICD Clinical Modification Handbook. When students complete these courses, they're prepared to take certification exams to earn the Certified Professional Coder or the Certified Coding Specialist - Physician Based credential.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers generally prefer to hire individuals who have certification. Students can obtain certification through agencies such as the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The ten Texas colleges outlined below offer medical billing and coding programs that prepare students for certification and employment.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Medical Billing and Coding Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Austin Community College District||Two-year, public; large city|| Medical Coding Specialist Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology
|$2,550 in-district; $9,210 in-state; $11,340 out-of-state*|
|Blinn College||Two-year, public; distant town|| Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology
|$2,256 in-district; $3,912 in-state; $5,904 out-of-state*|
|Collin College||Two-year, public; large city||Medical Coding and Billing Certificate||$1,174 in-district; $2,344 in-state; $4,144 out-of-state*|
|Del Mar College||Two-year, public; large city||Medical Insurance Billing Certificate||$2,546 in-district; $3,846 in-state; $4,808 out-of-state*|
|El Centro College||Two-year, public; large city||Medical Coding and Billing||$1,770 in-district; $3,330 in-state; $5,220 out-of-state*|
|Houston Community College||Two-year, public; large city||Medical Coding Certificate||$1,632 in-district; $3,360 in-state; $3,756 out-of-state*|
|Lone Star College System||Two-year, public; small suburb|| Coding Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology
|$1,504 in-district; $3,184 in-state; $3,544 out-of-state*|
|San Jacinto Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Health Information Management Medical Billing and Coding Certificate,
Health Information Management Medical Coding Certificate
|$1,408 in-district; $2,416 in-state; $3,688 out-of-state*|
|South Texas College||Four-year, primarily associate degrees, public; midsize city||Medical Coding Specialist Certificate||$3,486 in-district; $3,770 in-state; $4,440 out-of-state*|
|Tarrant County College||Two-year, public; large city||Medical Coding Program||$1,320 in-district; $2,064 in-state; $4,920 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES School Navigator