Online Medical Billing and Coding Degree

To meet the need, more online schools may offer medical billing and coding degrees. Coders do a new kind of data entry. They often use their tech skills to turn medical records into digits that the health care system depends on. If you enjoy working with software, this field has a bright outlook. Why not tap into the easy to access format of an online coding program?

An online medical billing and coding degree program often studies the tools, tech and medical coding systems used in health care. Many programs cover a range of coding classes. And aim to help you get to know the human body, and its systems. While you may study these areas, you may gain basic analytic and admin skills. Especially ones used in physician’s offices to deal with medical insurance companies. 

When looking into medical billing and coding there are online programs at all levels. Medical coding certificate programs and diplomas are also available at some coding schools. As a rule, online certificates may add onto and / or shave credits off an associate degree.  At each level, you tend to study health information technology. Plus, ways that the healthcare industry uses data.

Associate degree programs aim to prep grads to pursue an entry level medical coder job. In many cases, the course work may serve as a study map for coding certification exams too. Bachelor’s degree programs aim to be practical. They may help you grow a wide range of health IT skills apart from coding. Once you graduate, you might also go for industry certs and seek entry level roles. Master’s degree programs are often more involved. These tend to build skills in data analytics and more to do with systems design and admin.

Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding

An online associate degree in medical billing and coding is often a 2 year degree. It may entail about 65 credits and some kind of virtual practicum. Many online schools award an Associate of Applied Science (AAS). The AAS tends not to be a transfer degree.  Instead, the goal is often to help learners grow certain medical coding skills. Ones they may use to  pursue certs and entry level coder jobs. Along with procedure coding courses come other topics. Among them, medical terminology and the systems of the human body.  

Some AAS programs also talk about the U.S. health care system and medical insurance companies. Also, ways to interact and correspond in a professional way.  As a result, you may gain the skills to work with patient records. And, could perform some of the daily admin tasks that a medical office might expect. To apply into AAS programs, you generally need a high school diploma or GED. Some schools may look at your GPA. Tuition, like admission varies. Per the most recent NCES data, the average total cost of attending a public community college in the academic year 2017-2018 was  $9,400.

Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding 

An online bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding is often a 4 year degree. It may entail about 120 credits, a final project and internship. Many online schools award a Bachelor of Science (BS). You may find these programs labeled health information technology management (HIM). Or informatics.  Many programs cover a full set of coding classes. You are likely to study anatomy, drugs, diseases and the medical procedures related to a code. Along with them you may have a mgmt. core. In these classes, you may study org’al behavior, the billing cycle and workflow. 

Other classes may frame legal issues and ethics. Like privacy rules about patient information. And laws that govern the flow of EHRs. In more technical topics, you might gain a deeper grasp of data. How to collect, store, keep, access and secure it.  If not yet complete, you may have a series of general education classes too. 

To apply, a high school diploma or GED (plus transcripts) are often required. That’s if you don’t already have an associate degree from an accredited school.  Some online schools also look at your GPA, SAT or ACT scores. You might have to submit references and go through a phone interview too. Due to the rules in healthcare, it may be there are schools that run a background check, drug screen, and proof of immunizations. 

In terms of cost, the average tuition at a public school was $14,600 for the 2018-2019 academic year. It is more expensive for private nonprofit schools ($41,100 for the same academic year) and for profit schools ($22,700). Financial aid may be available for to those who qualify. Once you graduate, you may be ready to pursue a career.

Master’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding

A master’s in health informatics is a professional grad degree program. Many programs generally entail 30 to 36 credits and may take from one to two years. Many schools often award a Master of Science (MS). As a rule, they won’t be in medical billing & coding. Rather, in health informatics or HIM. 

At its core, health informatics (also Health Information Systems) uses IT to organize and analyze electronic health records (EHRs). And does this with the goal to improve health care outcomes. MS in health informatics are designed for bachelor’s prepped students. Some may apply straight from college. Others may be working for some time and want more technical IT or mgmt. skills.

Many course plans have you study at the crossroads of a few fields. Health care and health services, business intelligence (BI), info tech (IT) / info systems (IS), and data analytics.  Apart from a bachelor’s degree, when you apply, you must send all transcripts. Some online schools may assess your undergrad major and GPA as well. Plenty of schools do not ask for the GRE, but some do. Along with this material, you may need to submit reference letter(s). Plus other things like your resume and an application essay. An admission interview may be required. Tuition is another factor. The average cost, if at public school, was  $11,617 for the 2018-2019 academic year.

What could I do with an Online Medical Billing and Coding Degree?

This degree may be a gateway to a range of higher growth fields. Health care is shifting even more to EHRs, telemedicine and apps. For entry level coding specialist roles, one tends to need an associate or bachelor’s degree according to the BLS. Apart from a degree it may be useful to hold professional certification. In other kinds of IT jobs, it may be important to know how to lead teams and projects. In this case, some employers prefer to hire workers with a master’s degree. 

1. Medical Secretary

Medical secretaries also go by the title ‘transcriptionist’. They turn a doctor’s voice recording into a range of digital medical reports. To do this takes a solid grasp of medical terms, spelling and grammar skills.   

2. Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Medical records and health information technicians put patient data into software and filing systems. To do this, they need to know the classification systems used to code and categorize patient information.  

3. Medical Biller

Medical billers do behind the scenes accounting for healthcare providers. And if a certified billing specialist, one has NHA tested skills that support coding and billing processes. For instance, knowing how to send invoices, record payments and negotiate with insurance companies.  

4. Certified Coding Specialist

Certified coding specialists are coders who pass AHIMA’s CCS exam. Coding specialists create coded data which many areas of the health care industry use. For e.g, hospitals use it to to get paid back by insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. And both researchers and public health officials use it to check the spread of a disease. 

5. Medical & Health Services Manager

Medical and health services managers take care of the admin side of health care. They make decisions, manage people and projects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master’s degree may be needed. 

6. Database Administrators

Database admins use software to store and organize data. In health care settings, they make sure that data is available to users and secure from unlawful access. Many DBAs have at least a bachelor’s degree and skills in the field they work in.

Is an Online Degree in Medical Billing and Coding worth it?

Expertise in coding may yield flexible skills, prospects and above average earning potential. Jobs that use data skills in health care are growing much faster than average.  This thanks to the many changes taking place in health care. Evolving health care laws, an aging population in need of services, and vast amounts of EHRs are a few.  Per the BLS, if you have strong health information skills, job prospects are positive. They predict current and up and coming jobs for various levels of education and experience. If launching a new career as a coder, medical records and health information technicians are in demand. The number of openings (per the BLS) should rise by 8 % to 2029. These jobs tend to rely on accuracy. Plus the tech skills to use coding and classification software and the electronic health record (EHR) system. 

For those with managerial health IT skills, the future looks bright too. The industry is likely to also need more managers to oversee health IT workers, departments, systems and facilities. Many of these pros help both clinicians and consumers make sense of and manage vast amounts of medical data. So, estimates expect 32% growth to 2029.  One of the things database admins do is back up and restore data to prevent data loss. These skills are in high demand across various sectors. Projected growth averages at 9% but goes up to 11% to 2029 in computer systems design. These systems are still evolving but do include patient portals, telemedicine and practice mgmt software.

Medical Billing and Coding Degree Jobs & Salary

Occupation Median Annual Wage Jobs
Coder $40,350 23,100
Health Information Technician – Hospitals $43,470 23,100
Medical Biller $40,540 72,100
Medical & Health Services Manager $100,980 71,600

Top States for Jobs as a Medical Coder

State Jobs Annual Mean Wage
CA 40,900 $52,580
TX 28,940 $43,760
FL 22,870 $42,350
OH 16,500 $45,330
NY 14,990 $52,540

What classes could I take with an Online Medical Billing and Coding Degree?

An online medical billing and coding degree may draw from a few main areas. Among them could be  health sciences, coding practices and legal issues. Classes in health sciences aim to help you learn about the human body and disease. You may also learn about common medications. And, the categories they fall under. Other classes may go into kinds of coding. These tend to follow manuals from the medical professions, used as guides. A few to know about are:

  • CPT – Current Procedural Terminology
  • HCPCS – Health Care Common Procedure Coding System 
  • ICD 10 – International Classification of Diseases

Many CAHIIM accredited online programs help prepare grads to sit for AHIMA exams. AHIMA is the American Health Information Management Association. They offer a few credentials. One is the Certified Coding Associate (CCA). Another is the RHIT. Or, Registered Health Information Technician. You might also turn to the AAPC for certs. AAPC is the American Academy of Professional Coders. They offer the CPC. That’s short for Certified Professional Coder.

In studying these areas, you might also learn about patient rights. Privacy is a concern, so you may study some of the rules like HIPAA. If you pursue a medical billing and coding degree online you may study these topics and more. But each level of degree is likely to frame this material in a unique way. Below are some of the classes you may find at the associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels. 

Associate’s Degree Courses

Associate degree classes may be quite basic. For one, they entail some general ed classes. Gen ed topics may cover intro level public health, ethics, and health care finance. While you study these areas, you may learn how to write and communicate in a clear way. From there, you often have a series of skills classes. For one, you are likely to use the CPT manual and ICS-10-CM to find medical codes. There are codes for any disease, condition, treatment or surgical procedure.

As you explore medical coding, you may also study the human body and its systems. These classes outline medical terms. Additionally, may include various kinds of injuries, diseases, surgeries etc. that are common to them. Along the way, you may see many real world examples of coding. The program may pair them with coding exercises. And through them, may enhance  your skills in analytical thinking. Once you know these basics, you may often study reimbursement. this class may break down real life coding situations. For e.g., how insurance companies process insurance claims. The following classes may also be part of your program:

Medical Terminology

In this class, you may learn the basics of medical word building. Things like how to categorize suffixes and group prefixes. You might also review some anatomy terms to better grasp medical procedures. 

Intro to Health Information

An intro to careers in medical office settings. It may also cover basic admin stuff. Like word processing, spreadsheet and database mgmt. software. Plus, key aspects of medical billing and coding. 

Inpatient Billing

In this class, you may learn about hospital settings and hospital coding. Some of the themes could be  billing, coding, documents, insurance claim forms and reimbursement. As a result, you might learn about patient records or electronic health records

Healthcare Coding Practicum

This kind of class is often hands on. In it, you get to apply what you know in a virtual physician’s office setting. Often instructor led, it may help you feel at ease with common procedure coding tasks. 

Bachelor’s Degree Courses

Bachelor’s degree classes cover a wide range of topics. You often study the basics of coding, health sciences and gen ed. As you move through these topics, you may gain various skills apart from coding. That’s because there may also be core classes in basic business, accounting and mgmt. Through these, you might come to know more about health care org’s. Things like group dynamics, ways to resolve conflict, power and politics.

Some of the core HIM classes are likely similar to those at the associate level. But you often get into more advanced topics including leadership. For e.g., how to develop teams and manage projects. Another more complex topic you may study is HIM systems. This is likely to cover themes such as security policy, HIPAA, risk assessment, audit and data recovery. Along with your online courses, you may need to take part in internships. These are usually in person (not virtual) experiences that you do in an approved facility. These classes may also be part of your program: 

Basics of Healthcare Law and Ethics

This class is generally an overview of key legal and ethical guides within the health care profession. Some of these are federal health care laws that deal with patient confidentiality. Others relate to content, risk mgmt. and record keeping.

Health Sciences for ICD-10

This kind of course often looks at the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). And, how it links to medical terms, drugs, surgeries, anatomy and physiology. The likely goal is for you to be able to identify body systems and understand ICD-10-CM and PCS codes.

Healthcare Data

As the title suggests, this class is generally about health data and covers it from all sides. Standards, data collection tools, reporting, data mining and quality assurance. You may also learn about National Health Care Information Infrastructure (NHII).

Healthcare Information Management Systems

A class often about the design and uses of info systems for health care data. It may cover data recovery, HIPAA’s security rule, risk and user tracking. While learning about these areas you may come to understand data storage and the systems life cycle.

How long does it take to earn a Medical Billing and Coding Degree online?

The time it takes to earn a medical billing and coding degree online varies. Some of the things that impact length are degree level and course load. An online AAS in medical billing and coding degree often takes two years to earn. If you go for a BS in Health Informatics online, it may take four years. After that, a master’s degree may add another one to two years.

University Level of Degree # of Credits Required Starts Per Year Minimum Months to Complete
Davenport University Associate 69 3 24
Crowley College Associate 65 3 24
Northwest Technical College Associate 60 3 24
Herzing University Bachelor’s 120 3 36
Weber State University Bachelor’s 120 3 48
Purdue University Global Bachelor’s 180 QC 4 24
Drexel University Master’s 45 QC 4 24
Indiana University Master’s 36 3 24
University of Scranton Master’s 33 3 24

15 Schools with Online Medical Billing and Coding Degrees

Many online schools offer medical billing and coding degrees. Here are 15 schools with online degrees in medical billing and coding at all levels. 

  1. Davenport University  
  2. Crowley College 
  3. Northwest Technical College  
  4. Northland Community & Technical College 
  5. Keiser University 
  6. Herzing University 
  7. Weber State University  
  8. Purdue University Global 
  9. Capella University  
  10. Southern New Hampshire University 
  11. Drexel University  
  12. Indiana University  
  13. University of Scranton 
  14. Walden University  
  15. University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

FIND AN ONLINE MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING DEGREE

Let’s take a closer look at the online medical billing and coding degrees that these 15 schools have to offer. 


This program entails 69 credits. It often focuses on the analysis, mgmt. and uses of data and info resources. Apart from online course work you may take part in a virtual lab to practice using software. Once you graduate, you may be eligible to that the RHIT exam through AHIMA. Sample courses might include:

  • ICD Coding 
  • Medical Terminology
  • Health Care Law and Ethics

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $19,338
Grad $14,958
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$8,298

Average Net Price:
$16,061

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
CAHIIM, Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

2

Cowley County Community College

Associate of Applied Science in Medical Coding

Fully Online


This program entails 65 credits. It often studies the skills and knowledge sets needed for coding. First courses frame medical terms, drug types and anatomy. There may be a few classes in coding. Among them, CPT and HCPCS coding (using the manuals). And ICD Coding that you study while learning about disease types. Sample courses might include:

  • Reimbursement Methods  
  • Intro to Health Info
  • Legal & Ethical Issues in Health Care 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $4,890
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,593

Average Net Price:
$7,893

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

3

Northwest Technical College

Associate of Applied Science in Medical Coding

Fully Online


This program entails 60 credits. Or, 42 if you begin with the medical coding diploma. Either way, you may have the opportunity to study a wide range of coding classes. Including advanced versions of CPT, HCPCS and ICD 10 coding. Along with them, you could study the human body and its systems and diseases. Sample courses might include:

  • Medical Billing / Insurance 
  • US Health Care Systems
  • Inpatient Billing 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $5,654 
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,456

Average Net Price:
$11,008

Military Programs:
Credit for military training &, dedicated point of contact.

Accredited:
HLC

4

Northland Community & Technical College

Associate of Applied Science in Medical Coding Specialist

Fully Online


This program entails 60 credits. It generally  takes you through medical terms, human anatomy and diseases. Medical coding uses national coding systems to classify procedures and diagnoses. So, you may also study these codes and insurance claims processes. Sample courses might include:

  • CPT / HCPCS Coding
  • ICD Coding
  • Medical Coding Ethics

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $5,715
Grad N/A
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,809

Average Net Price:
$9,992

Military Programs:
Credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC


This program entails 60 credits. It aims to prep you to assign accurate medical codes for diagnostic tests and services. While studying these areas, the classes often cover clerical & admin duties. Once you graduate, you may qualify to take the AAPC credentialing exam. Sample courses might include:

  • Medical Law & Ethics
  • CPT -4 / HCPCS Coding
  • Basic ICD 10 Coding

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $21,008
Grad $27,162
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$7,015

Average Net Price:
$30,437

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

6


This program entails 124 credits and if eligible, you may transfer in up to 93 approved credits. A goal of the class is to enhance health IT skills. That includes coding and billing, compliance and some mgmt. Once a graduate, you may qualify to take AHIMA’s RHIA certification exam. Sample courses might include:

  • Payroll Accounting
  • Health Info Mgmt.
  • Coding Mgmt. & Compliance

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,200
Grad $10,800
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$5,512

Average Net Price:
$23,908

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

7

Weber State University

Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management

Fully Online


This program entails 120 credits. It often entails core courses in anatomy, medical terms and biostatistics. Plus, a set of coding classes like ICD-10-PC, diagnosis, ambulatory and physician office coding. While you study these areas, you may learn about the health care system in a well rounded way.

  • HR Development
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Care Data Mgmt

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $15,969
Grad $16,656
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$4,809

Average Net Price:
$11,224

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

8

Purdue University Global

Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management

Fully Online


This program entails 180 quarter credits. It often looks at ways to collect, analyze, manage and protect health info in hospitals and health care systems. As such, the course plan weaves topics from medicine, mgmt., finance, IT and law. Sample courses might include:

  • Health Care Admin
  • IT & Systems for Health Care
  • Strategic Planning in Health Care

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,358
Grad $9,768
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$5,289

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HIMSS Partner, HLC

9


This program entails 180 quarter credits. The courses often aim to show you how to manage electronic records. All while staying compliant with patient privacy rules. A more technical program, there may be no coding classes per se. But you could study network / software architecture, JAVA, data bases and IT. Sample courses might include:

  • Info Sec, Privacy & Ethics in Health Care
  • Health Info Systems & Mgmt.
  • Medical Terms

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $14,540
Grad $14,767
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,781

Average Net Price:
$17,368

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

10

Southern New Hampshire University

Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management

Fully Online


This program entails 120 credits.  It generally studies the tech, terms and practical skills needed for an entry level HIM role. Some of the more technical courses may look into health IT hardware and software. There may also be mgmt. classes to help you navigate health care org’s and projects. As a graduate you may be eligible to take the RHIA® exam too. Sample courses might include:

  • Coding & Classification I, II
  • Health Care Delivery Systems
  • Mgmt. of HI Services

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $31,136
Grad $18,810
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,913 

Average Net Price:
$39,743

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
CAHIIM, New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

11

Drexel University 

Master of Science in Health Informatics

Fully Online


This program entails 45 quarter credits. It often focuses on the use electronic health data to improve the quality and safety of patient care. Some of the core topics you may take are about databases, web systems and architecture. You could also get to take electives in areas like cyber security, epidemiology and health research. Sample courses might include:

  • Business of Health Care
  • Advanced Database Mgmt
  • Public Health Informatics

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $54,516
Grad $35,181
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$25,076

Average Net Price:
$38,025

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
CAHIIM, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

12

Indiana University

Master of Science in Health Informatics

Campus/Online Classes


This program entails 36 credits. If you stay at the school for a PhD, 30 of these may transfer over. The MS itself often weaves technical comp sci methods with health informatics and more. You may also study areas like security, bioinformatics and interactive systems. Sample courses might include:

  • Human Centered Research Methods
  • Big Data Apps
  • Informatics Research Rotation

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $36,512
Grad $31,932

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$11,541

Average Net Price:
$13,036

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

13

University of Scranton 

Master of Science in Health Informatics

Fully Online


This program entails 33 credits. It often studies the data and info needs of health care systems through its tools and tech. Looking at informatics, you may also look at risk mgmt., legal, privacy and ethical issues. Woven into the course plan are Jesuit values. Sample courses might include:

  • Comp Sci and Software
  • Database
  • IT for Health Informatics 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $45,790
Grad $11,580 

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$23,854

Average Net Price:
$36,235

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, dedicated point of contact & recognized student vet organization.

Accredited:
MSCHE

14

Walden University

Master of Science in Health Informatics

Fully Online


This program entails 30 credits. It generally focuses on applying IT based innovations to reduce medical costs and boost patient care. The core classes may be technical and about database design and programming. While the classes allotted for HI cover strategy, design of e health tech and mgmt. Sample courses might include:

  • Info Systems Mgmt. 
  • Org and Social Aspects of Info Systems
  • Health Informatics

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,150
Grad $12,039
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,900

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact, recognized student vet organization & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

15

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston 

Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics


This program entails 39 credits and comes with two tracks. One is often a traditional track which covers basic / advanced informatics, research and electives. You may also have a final practicum in which you apply theory into a real time setting. The other is often an applied track which focuses on research. To note, the school may also offer a PhD should you aspire. Sample courses might include:

  • Scientific Writing 
  • Biomedical Information Sciences I,II
  • Medical Imaging & Signal Patterns 

Tuition and Fees:
Undergrad $12,474
Grad $18,095
Special rates available for military students.

Avg Grants & Scholarship Aid:
$3,144

Average Net Price:
N/A

Military Programs:
Yellow Ribbon Program, credit for military training, dedicated point of contact & member of SOC.

Accredited:
HLC

*Unemployment Earnings.  Sources for school stats and data include the NCES and IPEDS.