Medical Billing and Coding Schools

Prospective medical billers and coders will find that tuition rates and program durations are very similar between the two career fields. Many community colleges and trade schools merge the billing and coding specialties into a single certificate or professional diploma program. However some schools, like the ones profiled below, offer programs exclusive to medical billing or coding. While these specializations maintain different course requirements, professionals in both fields are expected to study federal coding standards.


Certification Options

Medical Billing Medical Coding
Enroll in a medical billing postsecondary certificate program Enroll in a medical coding postsecondary certificate program
Prepare for, schedule and take an exam for one of the following billing credentials: Prepare for, schedule and take an exam for one of the following coding credentials:

Curriculum Comparison

Medical Billing Curriculum Medical Coding Curriculum
Medical Terminology: Billers often work as liaisons between insurance companies and patients. They must have strong communication skills in order to lucidly explain treatment codes to both parties. Billers with a strong grasp of medical vocabulary can help insurance companies identify the health services covered by a plan. This terminology also helps billers explain financial responsibilities to patients. Anatomy Courses: Since coders primarily work with physicians and other healthcare providers to classify ailments and medical services, they are often expected to have a basic understanding of human physiology.
Medical Insurance Principles: Billers must learn how to navigate the insurance claim submission process so that carriers can cover health services. Billers learn how to comply with federal HIPAA standards regarding electronic claim submissions. Pharmacology: Coders engage with pharmacists and doctors to classify prescription treatments that patients receive. Pharmacology courses generally cover specialty codes and terminology used for pharmaceuticals.
Medical Reception: Billers often interact directly with patients to collect their medical history and explain financial obligations when services are not covered by their insurance. These courses generally cover the customer service skills billers need during patient interactions. Medical billers may also learn how to perform other reception desk tasks, such as scheduling appointments and contacting referral services in order to collect records. Medical Office Procedures: In order to accurately classify the services patients receive from physicians, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals, coders must have a thorough understanding of procedure types offered in these environments. Some examples include x-rays, physical therapy, and diagnostic tests.
Medical Billing Technology: Billers must learn the basics of data entry and electronic claims forms to accurately perform their duties. These processes must be performed in compliance with HIPAA regulations that protect patient confidentiality. Medical Records: Coding students will learn how to navigate popular Electronic Medical Record and Electronic Health Record software in order to obtain patient charts and medical histories. These records help coders determine the procedures, treatments, and products administered to patients. The corresponding codes are then entered into patient records.

Shared Curriculum Requirements

Medical Billing and Coding
Current Procedural Terminology (CPT): Medical billers and coders work extensively with codes regulated and standardized by the American Medical Association (AMA). Coders work with healthcare service providers to determine the types of medical services patients have received and strive to represent these services accurately through CPT codes.
ICD 10 Clinical Modification: Professionals in both fields must also be familiar with this set of coding standards, which are issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These codes allow healthcare professionals and insurers to identify and classify the diseases and disorders that affect patients receiving medical services.
Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS): This coding system is used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to classify a wide array of medical services and supplies. The HCPCS is divided into two levels. Level One consists of the CPT codes issued by the American Medical Association. Level Two codes cover services and supplies used outside of a healthcare professional’s office, such as home care medical supplies and ambulance rides.
Medical Ethics: Billers and coders are often held to the same medical ethics standards regarding health data information and records. Students enrolled in these courses will learn how to adhere to the ethical standards set forth by insurance providers, billing and coding credential agencies, and laws. Billing and coding practices should accurately represent the health care services and products received by patients. Additionally, billers and coders are obligated to maintain the confidentiality of protected patient records.

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