Online associate degree programs are available in medical billing and coding, and these programs typically use a fully online format. These programs may require access to specialized medical software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a postsecondary educational certificate or an associate's degree is typically required to work in medical coding and billing.
Associate's Degree in Medical Billing and Coding
In an online associate's degree program in medical billing and coding, students learn how to assign standardized codes to medical procedures and diagnoses. Typically, graduates are awarded an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science. A high school diploma or GED is the basic prerequisites for admittance to an associate's degree program in medical billing and coding.
Program Information and Requirements
Often, students complete an online associate's degree program in medical billing and coding in less than two years. Most schools provide technical and career placement assistance, and students in some programs join online groups and organizations. This program can be completed entirely online and prepares graduates to take the Certified Coding Associate exam through the American Health Information Management Association.
Students participate in group projects and seminars and interact with instructors through Web-based platforms and message boards. In some circumstances, students may need to access specific software, such as Medisoft.
Common Medical Coding and Billing Courses
Students enrolled in an online medical coding and billing associate's degree program take courses in anatomy, coding, ethics and billing. Some general education courses in English, computers and math are often required.
Anatomy and Physiology
Students learn about the parts of the body and organ systems. The relationship between organs and organ systems is also discussed.
Electronic Health Records
An examination of the modernization of health records, this course teaches students to efficiently enter data, maintain current electronic health records and input old data into newer systems. Patient confidentiality and quality care are also discussed.
Ethics and Laws
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and how it affects the way medical coding and billing agents do their jobs is covered in this course. Students also discuss decision-making from an ethical standpoint.
Coding and Billing
Students learn about recording patient information, processing data and compiling reports in this course. Specialized software and billing procedures are also discussed.
The BLS expected jobs for medical records and health information technicians to grow 15% - faster than the average job growth for all occupations - between 2014 and 2024, due to an aging population and the growing need for electronic medical records. According to Payscale.com, most medical billing specialists earned between $25,304 to $44,020 annually as of 2016.
Continuing Education Information
According to the BLS, medical records and health information technicians, which include billing and coding specialists, secure higher-level employment by earning bachelor's or master's degrees. Professional organizations offer specialized certification and training to those interested in working in a singular area of the medical field. These organizations include The Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists, the Board of Medical Specialty Coding and the American Academy of Professional Coders.
In online associate's degree programs in medical billing and coding, students learn to code information in medical documents and records. Though many graduates can work as medical records and health information technicians, they may qualify for higher-level employment after completing a bachelor's or master's program.