How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing and Coding
Do you have a strong desire for working in the medical field, but also torn because you love the idea of working at home and making your own hours? While medical billing and coding is a career that is often overlooked, it is actually one that is growing progressively over the years. By getting an associate’s degree in the field, you will be one step closer toward starting a career that will allow you to immerse in the healthcare profession while having the freedom to work from home if you want.
As the Baby Boomers get older, the medical industry is expected to grow tremendously over the years. Because people need to regularly get physical check-ups or see a doctor due to illness, there is always a constant need for the healthcare industry. With that said, there is no better time to get into medical billing and coding.
Now, you might be wondering what exactly medical billers and coders do on a daily basis. In short, they are responsible for making sure that your doctor’s appointment actually gets billed to the insurance provider, and that they pay the right amount for the right procedure. Because this position essentially bridges the gap between doctors and hospitals to the insurance industry, it is a very important one. Doctors depend on medical billers to get reimbursed for their time and work.
Getting a degree in this subject is not mandatory, but like most careers these days, having one surely helps. The associate’s degree typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. However, if you choose to earn your credential online, you may be able to complete it earlier. Depending on how many classes you can take per quarter/semester, you may be able to finish a lot quicker.
Common Associate’s in Medical Billing and Coding Curriculum
By committing to an associate’s degree in medical billing and coding, you can expect to learn a plethora of things in the medical field and more. With so much to learn, it is unlikely that you will get bored with your studies.
For example, you might take coursework in the following subjects:
- Medical terminology
- Health care organization
- Disease processes
- Diagnostic coding
- Procedural coding
- Medical law
- Time management
The list goes on, but this should give you a pretty good idea of what you can expect to learn at the associate’s level.
In addition to medical billing and coding related courses, you will also be required to take some electives and general education classes before graduating. These classes will help you develop a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in understanding real-life situations and succeeding in your job in the future. For example, you might take introductory classes in art, math, science, history, language, and more. Many of these general education course requirements can be waived if you took AP classes and passed their respective exams in high school. If this sounds like it might be you, we recommend checking with your college counselor to see which classes you might not have to retake.
Associate’s in Medical Billing and Coding Careers
Once you’ve earned your medical billing and coding associate’s degree, you can expect to find work at private practices, hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies. If you have always wanted the freedom and comfort that comes with working from home, you can do that too! This is what many people do these days since the Internet has made it much more convenient and practical to do so.
If you don’t like interacting with others face-to-face and prefer to work behind a computer all day, you will love that this career is one of the few that do not require direct interaction with patients. Instead, you may converse with patients, doctors, and insurance companies by phone. Mostly, you will be sitting at a desk with a computer all day working with billing and coding data.
The salary for a medical billing and coding professional will depend on your education, location, and experience. You can earn anywhere from $25,000 to $45,000 a year in this industry. Since this field is growing over the years, students can expect the salary to go up as demand increases.
"...in the big picture, people with associate degrees make more than people with high school diplomas. "
"Many students enroll in a 2-year college with the intention of transferring to a 4-year college and obtaining a bachelor’s degree."
"...the more degreed-education you have, the less likely you are to be unemployed."