If you’re considering a career in medical billing, the question of where you’ll get your education has no doubt occurred to you. Though the educational institutions that offer medical billing training can be considered “medical billing schools,” they are usually parts of larger educational institutions. There are a number of different options for medical billing education. How do you choose the one that’s right? This post will go over some approaches and considerations involved in finding medical billing schools to attend.
Medical billing courses are offered at all sorts of institutions – ordinary colleges, community colleges, vocational schools, career schools, and so on.
What exactly is medical billing?
Medical billing is the skill and process of dealing with billing generated by medical offices of all sizes. Medical billing specialists are hired by these institutions to fill out medical billing forms, assess costs of various medical services like procedures and prescriptions, send bills to patients and insurance companies, and handle a variety of other financially related functions. A medical biller may work directly in the office of, say, a clinic, private physician practice, or hospital. Alternatively, such a professional may be employed by a medical billing service – a company that handles billing for medical establishments. The latter is even sometimes “outsourced” and done remotely
How soon do you want to start working?
Since there are educational programs of different lengths, one of the first considerations is how soon you want to get finished with school and start working in medical billing. The shortest programs are certificate programs that last about a year. These programs may be enough to get you started working if that is a high priority. You should however use caution when considering these programs, because some are not accredited or have poor reputations. Some of these medical billing schools use promises of quick money as ways to hook people and get them to enroll so they can turn a profit. Others may be more reputable. The point is just to use good judgment and investigate a school before enrolling.
The next step up time wise are various medical billing schools that offer Associate degree programs. These programs are usually two years in length and go fairly in depth. They yield Associate degrees. They generally cover more than just billing – they often cover medical coding as well. Medical coding is a convention for representing various medical procedures, diagnoses, and prescriptions on medical bills and other documents.
Finally, there are Bachelor’s degree programs, and these almost always go more in depth than simply covering billing itself. They often cover coding and transcription along with billing as well as a variety of other aspects of the medical office administration field. So if you have four years to spend, this kind of degree can be a good choice and qualify you for a diverse range of positions, including supervisory ones.
How focused do you want to get?
If you want to simply focus on billing itself, certificate programs may be fine. These programs are often a year or so in length, and thus they can be conducted at focused medical billing schools that primarily offer education solely in that part of the field.
However, if you wish to branch out and explore other areas of the medical information/administration industry, you’re better off going with Associate or Bachelor’s degrees. Not only do these types of programs cover more, but their corresponding degrees also look better on resumes and can thus qualify you for more diverse and better paying positions.
Simple convenience is also a factor of course. You’ll want to find schools in your area to which you can commute easily. These may be community colleges or nearby career schools. Keep in mind as well that if you find a medical billing school that you especially want to attend, you can consider relocating in order to be within easy reach of it.
One other option to consider is that of online medical billing schools. This is also called distance learning. This field is quite amenable to online instruction, dealing as it does primarily with forms and written content. So if you really don’t have time to go to classes at a physical location, this is an option to consider.
It helps to start out with the specifications and requirements concerning a medical billing school that relate to your particular situation. This will give you a working set of criteria to then apply to the various lists of schools you encounter either online or elsewhere. Make large lists and then whittle them down based on these criteria. Then go and visit these schools and otherwise get more specific information on them. Soon you should have a fairly good sense of which few medical billing schools are potentially the ones for you.