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Medical Billing and Coding Schools

Entering a medical billing or coding career is fraught with challenges, not the least of which is choosing a good school to obtain your degree from. With so many medical billing and coding schools available online and offline, how do you choose the best one? There are several different things you should look for in a college or university offering a medical coding or medical billing degree. Here are five tips for finding a high-quality school that offers the education you need to be successful in the medical billing industry.

The College Should Be Accredited

Employers need to know that a student has been trained according to industry standards, which is why they only accept people that earn degrees from an accredited school or program. Accreditation ensures that the program meets or exceeds educational standards and that a governing body is making sure the school or program remains in compliance. When shopping around for a medical billing or coding program, check that it is accredited by a reputable accreditation agency. Usually this information is posted on the school’s website, but you may need to call the admission office to obtain the name of the accrediting body. Use the Internet to double check that the accreditation is legitimate.

The Medical Billing School Should Offer Hands-On Experience

If you have watched any amount of daytime television, then you most likely have seen numerous commercials for medical billing schools that claim to offer hands-on training. However, it is important to visit the school in person to confirm that students are actually receiving practical experience. It is one thing to read about medical billing and coding in a book and quite another to actually do it. Getting hands-on training increases your confidence and helps lock in the knowledge you obtain through studying. In addition to classroom experience, look for schools that offer internship and/or externship opportunities.

Look for a Medical Billing Program that Fits Your Timetable

Medical billing and coding degrees can be earned in as little as nine months. This allows you to enter the industry quickly. While shorter programs offer many benefits including lower tuition and quicker graduation, it may be worth the effort to complete a longer program. Medical billing degrees can be earned at the associate and bachelor degree levels. In addition to obtaining a more comprehensive education, higher degrees often open doors to better employment opportunities and higher wages. However, consider the amount of time available to you and choose the program that best fits in with your goals.

Interview Current and Previous Students and Instructors

Advertisements and brochures are designed to present a medical billing or medical coding program in the best light. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is better to speak to current and previous students and teachers at the school to get true idea of what the school is like. Ask students whether the program prepared them to work in the field, if there is study help available, and what the teachers are like. Ask instructors about their experience in the medical billing and coding industry, about the curriculum, and how long they have been teaching. Ask both about the quality of the school and whether earning a degree from there will really help you with your career goals.

See What Is Available at the Career Placement Center

Getting a job after graduation will be challenging, especially if you have no relevant work experience. A career placement center can help you find and secure employment at a local physician’s office, medical facility, or agency. Make sure the school you want to attend has a job placement department. If it does, talk to the staff to see what they do to help students find work after graduation. While no school can guarantee that you will get a job, they should provide some type job search assistance.

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Finding the right school will take time and effort, but these five tips can make the process a little easier. It is understandable that you would want to get a job or change careers quickly. However, it is important to take the time to thoroughly vet the school you plan to attend. Doing so will ensure you receive the education you are paying for and increase your chances of landing a personally and financially fulfilling job after you graduate.