Schools do not offer distance learning master's degrees specifically in medical billing and coding, but if you are interested in pursuing a similar master's degree you can work towards a master's in health information management, which is completely online. Students should know that associate's and certificate programs in medical billing and coding are available online.
Certificate and associate's programs usually require applicants to be high school graduates to be eligible for admission. This is also a standard requirement for bachelor's-level programs, although some schools offering degree completion programs in health information management expect students to have a minimum number of previously earned college credits. Prospective students applying to a master's program must have a bachelor's degree and may have to supply a resume.
Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding
Distance learning medical billing and coding certificate programs train students in the fundamentals needed to complete insurance forms and resolve claim problems for hospitals and private clinics. Completing a certificate program qualifies graduates to sit for national certification exams, including the American Academy of Professional Coders exam and the American Health Information Management Association's Certified Coding Associate exam.
The core curriculum typically covers the three main coding manuals, which are the CPT, ICD-9 and the HCPCS. Coursework may cover the following areas:
- Medical terminology
- Medical billing software
- Chart auditing
- Physician-based medical coding
- Hospital-based medical coding
Associate Degree in Medical Billing and Coding
In an associate's degree program, distance learners develop a solid foundation in medical billing and coding systems and procedures and protocols, as well as coding classifications. Medical billing and coding programs typically feature coursework in medical terminology, physiology, procedure coding and computer software.
Undergraduates can expect to study the following areas:
- Medical ethics and laws
- Medical insurance and finance
- Abstract coding
- Office management
- Medical insurance billing
Bachelor's Degree in Health Information Management
Distance learning health information management bachelor's degree programs explore the practices and principles of collecting, analyzing and protecting health information, including the management and assignment of codes used to classify procedures and diagnosis. Distance learners are expected to complete field work, as well as an internship. In addition to general education courses, distance-learning students complete courses in business and medical recording.
Students also take anatomy and physiology, along with the following:
- Health information management principles
- Strategic planning and organization
- Business management
- Procedural and diagnostic coding
Graduates may pursue such positions as medical coding specialist, health information specialist, medical clerk and medical billing specialist.
Master's Degree in Health Information Management
Tailored toward current health information management professionals, a master's degree program provides the focused study in health care data and management systems needed for career advancement. Advanced study is completed in data management, integrated health care information, clinical data analysis and information systems development.
Courses may cover the following areas:
- Technical communications
- Health informatics
- Health care databases
- Health care environment system security
- Business foundations
Students often complete a capstone course in their final term in order to tie together the knowledge and skills gained throughout the graduate program. These may require completing a research project and comprehensive exams.
Medical billing and coding degrees are available online at the undergraduate level, but not at the graduate level. Students wanting a master's degree in this field can complete a Master's Degree in Health Information Management which consists of coursework that can help with advancement in the field.