Overview of Online Medical Coding & Billing Certificate Programs
Certificate programs in medical coding and billing cover the theory and knowledge needed to master the management of electronic medical records. Some programs are available in fully online formats, while others feature a hybrid format where students complete coursework online and gain practical experience through an on-site internship. Admissions standards for these programs are minimal and applicants will only need a high school diploma. Formal education and/or prior work experience are not required in order to enroll in these programs.
Learning how to manage electronic medical records can lead to a career as a health information technician. Employers for these positions require that candidates have a high school diploma and most jobs also look for the completion of a certificate program. Candidates can also pursue further training through a variety of professional certifications such as the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) or Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credentials, which are not required but can improve job prospects.
Examples of Online Medical Coding & Billing Certificate Programs in New Jersey
In addition to on-campus offerings, many schools in New Jersey also have online options that allow for greater convenience and flexibility. These programs cover the same content as their on-campus counterparts and often contain test preparation for a range of certifications related to electronic medical records.
Camden County College
CCC's Medical Coding certificate teaches students fundamental and advanced topics in coding through a well-rounded curriculum that touches on English composition, human biology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. The program includes a medical coding internship wherein students can gain practical experience in a real-world setting.
County College of Morris
CCM offers an online Medical Billing and Coding certificate program that prepares students for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam with a multidisciplinary course load that focuses on the ethical, legal, and regulatory aspects of medical coding and billing. Specific course topics include medical terminology, healthcare law, health insurance terminology, and pharmacology.
Ocean County College
The Medical Billing Professional certificate program at OCC is available online and in-person and features coursework in essential topics such as medical terminology, computerized billing, billing practices, and electronic medical records. The program also includes coursework specifically targeted towards CEHRS exam preparation to help graduates get ready for the certification exam.
Job Prospects for Graduates with a Certificate in Medical Coding & Billing
After earning a certificate, graduates can seek to enter the workforce directly, as most medical records and health information technician jobs only require a high school diploma and a certificate. Graduates also have the option to pursue further certification or enroll in a degree program. Though not required, the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) certifications can bolster a resume and improve job prospects, while an associate's or bachelor's degree can lead to jobs in healthcare administration.
Employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase at a rate that is much faster than the national average. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job openings should increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028, a rate that would lead to the creation of 23,100 new jobs. The BLS notes that an aging population and more widespread use of electronic medical records are the primary causes of this increase. The BLS also noted that technicians earned a median salary of $40,350 per year, as of May 2018.
Certificate programs in medical billing and coding provide training in fundamental and advanced topics related to electronic medical records. New Jersey has several schools that offer these programs in an online format that allow students with busy schedules to obtain career training without compromising their work schedule.