Job growth in the medical billing industry is expected to average 2 percent between today and 2018. This means aspiring medical billing professionals can expect the workforce to increase from roughly 172,500 employees to 207,600 in the coming years. Medical billing professionals are responsible for compiling data, computing fees and charges, calculating rates for goods and services, and preparing invoices for billing purposes.
Medical billing professionals must be well-versed in basic and major medical coverage plans. They must also understand the different methods of billing patients and have advanced knowledge of the medical billing industry overall.
Aspiring medical billing professionals can obtain the knowledge and skills needed by enrolling in a certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree program. The different types of certificates available include medical billing, medical coding, and medical transcription.
Associate degrees run the gamut from insurance billing & coding, medical coding & billing, and medical office administration. If you are interested in a bachelor’s degree, a degree in health care management or health care studies with a medical records focus.
While a certificate is perfectly acceptable for entry into the field, most top employers prefer an associate of bachelor’s degree. The level of education will play a huge role in earnings. Bachelor’s degree holders earn an average 35.3 percent more than certificate and associate degree holders. A great way to increase your earning potential after completing a certificate program or associate degree program is to work in the field while earning your bachelor’s degree online.
Many traditional colleges and universities offer online options for medical billing degrees and dozens of online colleges offer both undergraduate and graduate programs in health care. Much like traditional degree programs, not all online medical billing degree programs are accredited. This means when searching for a suitable degree program, you should check the school’s accreditation status as well as the curriculum, and admission requirements.
First, all accredited online degree programs should require a completed application, test scores, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and if applicable, a sample of your work. The following accrediting agencies are just a few agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. It is important to note that, the *Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) accredits many online colleges and online degree programs.
- The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
- The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
- The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
- *The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
The following U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agencies offer regional accreditation:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Online Medical Billing Degree Curriculum
Online medical billing degree curriculums at top online colleges are usually similar to traditional curriculums for top on-campus programs. Core subject areas for medical billing degree programs are as follows:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Terminology
- Health Insurance and Reimbursement
- Medical Billing and Coding
Finding Online Medical Billing Degree Programs
To locate top accredited online medical billing degree programs, check with traditional universities first to see what they have to offer. The online division for each accredited school will list offerings. You may also search through comprehensive online directories such as Online Colleges USA.
Each online degree program will offer information on accreditation status. The list of accrediting agencies mentioned in this article are just a few. For a complete list of recognized accrediting agencies, please visit the U.S. Department of Education website (ED.gov) for details.
Tip: Although internships are not always required to obtain a degree in medical billing from a number of online colleges, most traditional colleges, universities, and career institutes strongly suggest it or require it. Each school (whether online or on-campus) will offer assistance with locating and applying for paralegal internship opportunities.