Can You Get a Degree in Medical Billing Online?

Medical Billing DegreeThe health care industry is always growing, and you can get to work in this field quickly when you get a degree in medical billing online. Medical billing specialists are the ones responsible for ensuring that medical facilities bill patients properly and that insurance companies and patients receive bills. You can get a job in this field with either a certificate or a degree, but you will want to learn more about billing specialists, what they do and how much they make.

What Billing Specialists Do

Medical billing specialists work in a variety of medical settings, including independent doctors’ offices and hospitals. They generally work inside the billing department of those facilities. When a patient comes in for treatment, the doctor will make notations on the file and send a copy of the record to the billing department. The billing specialist will use the codes and data on the form to create a detailed record that shows each service rendered and the cost of each service. Billing specialists send detailed records to patients and the insurers of those patients.

Job Salary and Outlook

While you can get a degree in medical billing online, you may want to think about how much you can make and what the outlook for the future looks like. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median wage of medical records and health information technicians is $35,900 a year or $17.26 an hour. As with other professions in the health care industry, the BLS estimates that this field will grow at a faster than average rate. Between 2014 and 2024, this field will grow by 15%, which means it will add around 29,000 new billing and technician jobs.

Studying Online

Some positions in the health care industry require on the job training or fieldwork before employees actually go to work. Nursing students spend months working with patients, and doctors spend years working in hospitals before they begin really working. Billing specialists can go to work without any practical experience with just a college degree. You can earn a degree or a certificate in this field online and take all necessary classes from your home computer. Certificate programs usually last for one year or less, but degree programs will last for up to two years. Those with an associate’s degree can often earn more than those with a certificate.

Students Beware

While you can get a degree in medical billing online, you should be carefully when signing up for a program. Always make sure that the college you attend has regional accreditation from a major organization and that you can get financial help from the government. Programs without accreditation offer little support to students and may not prepare you well for actually working in the field. When searching for a degree program, look for those that offer courses in medical terminology, medical coding, accounting and other subjects that give you skills you’ll actually need when working later.

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Medical billing specialists translate records produced by doctors and create bills that medical facilities send to patients and their ensurers. You need to have a good grasp of medical terminology, good bookkeeping skills and the ability to work independently. You can get a degree in medical billing online or earn a certificate before you begin working.