Medical Billing and Coding Training

What is Medical Billing and Coding Training?

Medical billing and coding training programs cover how to work with health data. You’ll study everything from medical terminology to coding systems. And, you’ll learn how to record, submit, and track patient information.

You may need to pursue a medical billing and coding program for roles like Medical Coder. These professionals assign codes to patient data, often for insurance billing. So, they need to understand how healthcare systems and payment processes work. Training programs cover that, plus other skill areas in this growing occupation.

Certificate in Medical Coding and BillingMedical Administrative Assistant Certificate
This program covers billing and coding skill areas, plus health science basics. You’ll learn professional standards and prepare to pursue certification. Students also complete a virtual Professional Practice Experience.

This program covers medical office procedures and how to work with health records. You’ll learn how the healthcare system works and the role medical secretaries play.

Courses include:

  • Anatomy/Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology

Courses include:

  • Technology Today for Medical Administration
  • Customer Service in Healthcare
  • Foundations of Medical Administration
No specific program accreditationNo specific program accreditation

Online Medical Billing and Coding Training Programs

Online medical billing and coding training programs vary in scope. You could earn a Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding, which covers the foundations of the field. Some Health Information Technicians earn an Associate’s degree. This typically includes general education courses along with your medical billing and coding courses.

Either way, expect to study how the healthcare system functions, and how to work with patient data. You could explore everything from pharmacology to the ethical concerns of handling health records. You’ll learn the terms for medical procedures and diagnoses. And, you’ll learn how to classify and code medical data for different purposes – like billing.

You could take medical billing and coding courses like:

  • U.S. Health Care Systems
  • Basic Medical Terminology
  • Health Data Management
  • Medical Billing Software
  • Physician-Based Medical Coding
  • Hospital-Based Medical Coding
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Health Insurance and Reimbursement

Many programs are designed to help students prep for national certification exams. They may teach the three main billing and coding manuals: CPT, ICD-9-CM, and HCPCS. Online labs could offer a chance to practice with actual medical records.

Medical Administrative Assistant Programs

Medical Secretaries may also need some knowledge of medical billing and coding. But, these professionals do a lot more…like prepare reports and put together case histories.

Medical Administrative Assistant programs cover the knowledge needed to keep medical offices running smoothly. That includes communications, professional ethics, and how health insurance works. You’ll even dive into topics like medical terminology and pharmacology.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Medical Billing and Coding Training Program?

An online Associate’s in Medical Billing and Coding program calls for about 60 to 65 credits. Earning the degree may take about two years, for full-time students.

An online certificate program calls for around 24 to 38 credits, give or take a few. Earning a certificate in medical billing and coding often takes less than one year.

Online Medical Billing and Coding Training Programs That Could be Completed in 12 Months or Less

SchoolDegree Level# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Rasmussen CollegeCertificate38Multiple9 months
Trident University InternationalCertificate36Multiple12 months

The Average Cost of an Online Medical Billing and Coding Training Program

Last check, NCES reported the average tuition for a public, two-year college as $9,939. Private and for-profit two-year schools cost more, at $24,367. Compare tuition costs for other online medical billing and coding programs:

SchoolDegree Level# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tuition
Trident University InternationalCertificate36$1,158 (per 3-credit course$13,900
Rasmussen CollegeCertificate38N/A$9,867

Top Schools for Medical Billing and Coding Training

According to NCES, 468 institutions offered health information technology programs. (Medical billing and coding falls under that category.)

From those schools, 10,879 degrees were awarded to students. Most (97.9%) of these were Associate’s degrees.

School2016 Degrees Awarded2018/19 Tuition (Out of State Unless**)
University of Phoenix-Arizona1,350$9,552**
Devry University-Illionis655$17,509**
Miller-Motte College-Wilmington232$24,160**
St. Petersburg College188$9,286
Kaplan University-Davenport Campus186N/A
Rasmussen College-Florida137$10,935**
Central Oregon Community College118$10,575
Rasmussen College-Minnesota116$10,935**
Cuyahoga Community College District111$8,136
Miami Dade College107$9,661

*Estimated for full-time, beginning undergraduate students

What is a Certified Coding Associate?

Certified Coding Associates (CCAs) have earned certification from AHIMA. This proves you have coding skills for both hospitals and physician practices. To qualify, you must have a high school diploma and pass an exam.

Why get certified? Most employers wish to hire health information technicians with this credential. Or, they may want employees to get certified after they’ve been hired. Several organizations besides AHIMA award certification. They include:

  • AAPC Medical Billing and Coding Certification. AAPC has several certification programs. The Certified Professional Biller (CPB) credential requires passing an exam that covers billing regulations, insurance, and more. The Certified Professional Coder (CPC) calls for at least two years of coding experience, plus an exam. An associate’s degree is recommended for pursuing either certification.
  • AMBA Medical Billing and Coding Certification. The American Medical Billing Association (AMBA) awards two certifications. To become a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS), you must be an AMBA member and pass an exam. To become a Certified Medical Coding Specialist (CMCS), you must meet the above requirements. Plus, you must have either experience or education in coding.
  • NCRA Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR). CTR certification is for Cancer Registrars – workers who handle health data related to cancer. There are several paths to qualifying for the CTR exam. For instance, you could earn an NCRA-accredited Associate’s degree and complete a clinical practicum.

Once you earn your certification, you may need to renew it regularly. That often means taking continuing education courses to keep your knowledge up to date!

Getting a Job After a Medical Billing and Coding Training Program

Per the most recent census data, the workforce included 3.98 million health information technology graduates. That number includes grads who studied medical billing and coding.

As a whole, this field is growing. Health Information Technician jobs (including Medical Coders) are predicted to grow by 13% by 2026. That’s faster than average for all careers.

So, do you fit into the medical billing and coding profession? 92% of graduates in this field were female. And, the average age of a graduate in the workforce was 43.2 years old.

Top Salaries by State for Medical Billing and Coding Training Program Graduates

This salary information is for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians. These professionals include Medical Coders and Cancer Registrars.

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
New Jersey2,640$54,020
District of Columbia470$53,430

Becoming a Registered Health Information Technician

Most employers wish to hire certified health information technicians. You can earn certification through several different organizations, like AHIMA. Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) is a common one. 

RHIT certification helps make sure technicians know the skills needed for their jobs. These skills include inputting health records, using computer applications, and coding data. The RHIT credential may also help technicians prepare for new opportunities, like management.

Requirements to become certified are:

  • Education – Your education must be at the associate’s degree level. You must fulfill the requirements of a Health Information Management (HIM) program. And, your program must be CAHIIM-accredited.
  • Exam – You must pass an exam that tests your professional knowledge.

Once you earn the RHIT certification, remember to recertify every two years. You’ll need to complete 20 continuing education units (CEUs) for each two-year cycle.

For medical coders, AHIMA also offers Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certification. The CCA exam tests coding skills in any setting. There are also specific exams for coders in hospitals or physician practices.

To earn CCA certification, you must have at least a high school diploma. It’s also recommended that you pursue formal training or coding experience.

Careers in the Medical Billing and Coding Field


Medical Billing Specialists

Medical Billing Specialists put together data, calculate charges, and prepare invoices. They need to be familiar with medical software, plus other office equipment and procedures. They typically work in physicians’ offices and hospitals. But, some work for other healthcare employers.

  • Median Salary: $36,860 per year
  • Job Growth Through 2026: 10 to 14% (Faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education:High school diploma or Associate's degree

Medical Coders

Medical Coders are a type of health information technician. They assign clinical codes to different aspects of patient care. That includes procedures, diagnoses, and preexisting conditions. They often serve as a link between medical providers and billing offices.

  • Median Salary: $40,350 per year
  • Job Growth Through 2026: 13% (Faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Postsecondary Nondegree Award

Medical Secretaries

Medical Secretaries perform tasks that keep medical offices running smoothly. That includes billing patients, scheduling appointments, and handling correspondence. They also need knowledge of medical terminology and procedures. Most work for hospitals or doctors’ and dentists’ offices.

  • Median Salary: $34,610 per year
  • Job Growth Through 2026: 15% (Much faster than average)
  • Typical Entry-level Education: Some college or a postsecondary certificate