Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools: How to succeed as a student?

Studying guidelines and pursuing education in medical billing and coding form the backbone of the administrative framework within the healthcare sector. Medical billing professionals, equipped with certification from reputable schools, play a crucial role in the connection between healthcare providers, insurance companies, and patients. Their responsibility lies in accurately translating the detailed notes and records generated during patient visits into universal medical codes, ensuring standardized and precise healthcare documentation.

By attending dedicated training programs offered by reputable schools, aspiring professionals can acquire in-depth knowledge and practical experience in medical billing and coding. These comprehensive programs cover essential topics such as medical terminology, anatomy, coding systems, billing processes, and healthcare regulations. This specialized education equips individuals with the necessary skills to decode the complex language of medical care into a universally accepted format, contributing to the seamless delivery of healthcare services worldwide.

Key Responsibilities of Medical Billing and Coding Professionals
The key responsibilities of medical billing and coding professionals.

Moreover, obtaining certification through such educational programs provides aspiring professionals with the expertise and confidence required to excel in this important role. Completing a reputable medical billing and coding school not only signifies a strong foundation in the field but also instills a sense of credibility and trust. It demonstrates a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of accuracy and professionalism in medical billing and coding practices.

For those aspiring to embark on a career in medical billing and coding, following these tips can enhance their journey toward success. By diligently studying guidelines, attending a reputable school, and obtaining certification, individuals can position themselves as competent and reliable professionals within the healthcare industry. The combination of specialized education, practical experience, and industry-recognized certification paves the way for a rewarding career path in medical billing and coding, contributing to the efficient and effective functioning of the healthcare sector.

Medical Billing and Coding Certification Courses

The medical billing and coding school curriculum is designed to train students to understand medical linguistics and office administration, enabling them to act as the bridge between healthcare providers, insurance companies, government entities, and patients. Here is a deeper look into the courses covered in medical billing and coding schools.

Medical Billing and Health Insurance Course

Understanding the health insurance reimbursement process is the foundation of the medical billing and coding craft. Students delve into the complexities of coding procedures, payment systems, and fee schedules to prevent coding errors that may lead to claim rejections and subsequent time-consuming resubmissions.

Coding for Hospital Applications Course

This course teaches students to interpret medical data, manage standard hospital billing claim forms, and perform basic coding using multiple coding systems. Students explore widely used strategies such as CPT (Current Procedural Terminology), HCPCS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System), and ICD (International Classification of Diseases) in depth. This deep dive equips them with a shorthand understanding of diseases, conditions, diagnoses, and treatments.

Medical Terminology Course

The cornerstone of medical billing and coding is a firm grasp of medical terminology. Students learn the foundations and origins of medical Latin, also the shorthand used in laboratories and pharmacies. This course covers terms for basic anatomy, body systems, and specific fields like oncology, providing students with the language tools necessary to translate medical services into code.

Medical Contracts, Ethics, and HIPAA Course

Medical billers and coders handle sensitive, private information. Therefore, their education necessarily includes a strong emphasis on ethics. Students learn about care contracts, what constitutes protected health information, and the guidelines for disclosure under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). They also familiarize themselves with the electronic health record incentives offered under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH).

Medical Office Procedures Course

To round out their training, students learn about the various procedures for managing a medical office. This course includes training in handling electronic, telephone, and print mail, business letter writing, logistics planning, and task management.

10 Best Medical Billing and Coding Schools in 2023

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in medical billing and coding, it’s essential to consider the top schools, accredited educational institutes, colleges, and universities that offer comprehensive training. These institutions provide industry-recognized credentials and equip you with the essential skills needed for success in this crucial healthcare field. The accreditation of these programs guarantees a high-quality education, ensuring that you are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of coding systems, healthcare regulations, and a wide range of rewarding career opportunities.

By exploring these top ten accredited programs, you can confidently embark on your journey toward a successful and fulfilling career in medical billing and coding.

1). Minnesota State Community and Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $180.80 per credit
  • Degree Program: Medical coding and insurance diploma
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 88%

2). Keiser University

  • Annual Tuition: $21,008
  • Degree Program: Associate in medical administrative billing and coding
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 71%

3). Northwest Technical College

  • Tuition: $196.55 per credit
  • Degree Program: Medical coding certificate
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 72%

4). Northland Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $187.53 per credit
  • Degree Program: Associate of applied science in medical coding
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 62%

5). Cowley College

  • Annual In-State Tuition: $65-$85 per credit for Kansas and Oklahoma residents, $125 per credit for out-of-state residents
  • Degree Program: Associate of applied science in medical coding
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 63%
best medical billing school
Keiser University has the highest annual Tuition, while Cowley College has varying rates for in-state and out-of-state residents.

6). Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

  • Annual Tuition for Wisconsin residents and online: $143.45 per credit,
  • Annual Tuition for Out-of-state residents: $215.18 per credit
  • Degree Program: Medical coding specialist technical diploma
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 57.31%

7). Hazard Community & Technical College

  • In-state and online Tuition: $182 per credit hour
  • Out-of-state Tuition: $364-$637 per credit hour
  • Degree Programs: Associate in medical coding, associate in medical administration, medical administrative assistant diploma, medical coding certificate
  • Graduation and Transfer-out Rates: 47%

8). Laramie County Community College

  • In-state Tuition: $4,612
  • Out-of-state Tuition: $10,912
  • Degree Program: Associate in health information technology and Management
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 52%

9). Minnesota State College Southeast

  • Annual Tuition: $6,280.20
  • Degree Program: Associate of applied science in the medical administrative assistant
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 53%

10). Dakota College at Bottineau

  • Annual Tuition: $5,693
  • Degree Programs: Associate of Applied Science in medical administrative assistant and coding, a certificate in medical coding
  • Graduation and Transfer Out Rate: 50%
Minnesota State Community and Technical College has the highest graduation and transfer out rate (88%), while Hazard Community & Technical College has the lowest rate (47%).

Accreditation Importance for Medical Coding and Billing Study Programs

Accreditation stands as the keystone in ensuring the excellence and trustworthiness of academic programs, including medical billing and coding schools. But why is this process so crucial? Let’s break it down:

Seamless Credit Transfers

Accredited schools offer smooth credit transfers, allowing students to switch institutions without losing their hard-earned credits.

Access to Federal Financial Aid

Only students at accredited institutions are eligible for federal financial aid. This critical distinction makes education more feasible and affordable for many.

Boosted Employment Prospects

Graduates from accredited schools are more attractive to employers. This stamp of approval communicates that graduates have the necessary knowledge and skills, fostering trust and credibility.

Protection against Scams

Accreditation protects against diploma mills or fraudulent certifications, ensuring students receive a legitimate and worthwhile education.

Program-Specific Accreditations

Program-specific accreditations are significant within the specialized medical billing and coding field. Schools might hold accreditations from renowned professional associations like the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), signaling their program’s alignment with industry standards.

The Best Certification for Medical Billing and Coding

Getting certified in medical billing and coding is a testament to your proficiency in the field and boosts your credibility with potential employers.

Two primary organizations that certify medical billers and coders are AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders) and AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association).

AAPC certifications are often linked with outpatient settings such as doctor’s offices, urgent care, and specialist clinics. In contrast, AHIMA certifications are associated with inpatient settings like long-term care, hospice, and nursing facilities.

Other significant organizations include the National HealthCareer Association and the Practice Management Institute.

Although certification exams cost between $200 and $400 and often don’t have strict education or work experience prerequisites, they all highly recommend a solid education and practical experience in the field.

Basic Credentials

Certified Professional Coder(CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB)

Certifications provided by AAPC are widely recognized in the field, and they can often result in an annual salary between $56,652 and $58,055.

Certified Risk Adjustment Coder(CRC)

Holding a CRC credential from the AAPC can be quite rewarding. It’s known to bring in the highest yearly salary among the “Core Credentials”, around $64,995 on average.

Certified Coding Associate (CCA)

Provided by AHIMA, this certificate enables you to work across various healthcare settings with an average annual salary of $62,804.

Advanced Credentials

Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA)

This advanced certificate from AAPC opens avenues to compliance roles in healthcare, with an average annual salary of $70,320.

Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO)

This certification from AAPC represents one of the highest-paid tiers in the field, commanding an annual salary of around $80,550.

Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner (CDIP)

Offered by AHIMA, this certification, with an earning potential of over $70,000 with five years of experience and nearly $80,000 with ten years of experience, focuses on improving the policies and practices in the medical billing and coding field.

Exploring the Career Prospects in Medical Billing and Coding

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of medical billers and coders will grow 7% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to several factors, including the increasing complexity of the healthcare system, the aging population, and the increasing use of electronic health records.

The BLS also reports that the median annual salary for medical billers and coders was $40,610 in May 2021. The top 10% of earners in this field made more than $62,840. There are several educational programs available for aspiring medical billers and coders. These programs can lead to a certificate, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree in medical billing and coding.

Comparing a Medical Billing and Coding Degree with a Certificate

There are many different educational options available to aspiring medical billers and coders. The most common options are a certificate, an associate degree, and a bachelor’s degree.

  • Certificate programs typically take less than a year to complete. They focus on providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to start working as a medical biller or a coder.
  • Associate degree programs typically take two years to complete and offer a more comprehensive medical billing and coding education.
  • Bachelor’s degree programs typically take four years to complete and provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a career in healthcare administration.
Certificate Program vs Associate Degree vs Bachelor Degree in Medical Billing and Coding Study.
Certificate Program vs Associate Degree vs Bachelor Degree in Medical Billing and Coding Study.

Career Landscape

There are many different career paths available to medical billing and coding specialists. Some of the most common roles include:

  • Medical billers handle patient billing by processing and submitting it to insurance companies, requiring expertise in medical terminology and insurance procedures.
  • Medical coders assign codes to patient records to track care and bill insurance, needing a deep understanding of medical terms and coding procedures.
  • Medical records clerks maintain patient records, which involves filing, retrieving, and transcribing medical reports.

Job Opportunities

Medical billing and coding specialists can find jobs in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Insurance companies
  • Healthcare clearinghouses

Potential Earnings for a Medical Biller and Coder

In 2022, someone working as a medical records specialist made about $55,389 in a year. If they were certified, they made a bit more, about $56,290 on average. But, those without a certificate made around $46,321.

In 2023, things changed quite a lot for those with more than one AAPC certificate.

  • With two certificates, they are making around $66,198 on average.
  • If they have three or more, they’re making even more – about $71,361 on average. Different certificates mean different pay. A Certified Professional Biller (CPB®) is making around $56,981.
  • A Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO®) is making the most – about $81,495.All in all, the average pay across all certificates is about $67,680.
Medical billers and coders salary
A chart comparing average earnings of medical coders and billers in different medical practices.

Employers often offer paid continuing education benefits, which is valuable given the correlation between higher income and additional credentials. Income can also be influenced by other factors such as experience, specialty field, type of employer, and location. In addition, income can also differ significantly based on the region.

The Top-Paying Locations for Medical Coders

According to the AAPC 2022 Salary Survey, the annual income averages for medical records specialists vary significantly across the 50 states and territories, with differences of up to 30.3 percent. California stands out as the state with the highest average income at $67,660, while Indiana has the lowest at $47,176. In terms of hourly wages, this translates to $32.53 in California and $22.68 in Indiana.

medical coder and biller salary chart
2023 salaries of medical billers and coders according to their certifications, source: 2023 AAPC’s yearly salary survey.

Analyzing Salary Trends across Regions

However, it’s important to note that these averages do not consider factors such as experience, credentials, and education level, which can impact earnings.

The income contrast observed can be attributed to variations in state economies. California, for example, has higher employment costs and consumer price indices than Indiana. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights the influence of geographic location on incomes. Workers earn more in large metropolitan areas where higher living costs drive wages upwards.

Regional pay variations in Medical Coding
Regional pay variations in Medical Coding.

Regional Pay Analysis 

The annual salary headway for a medical coder is detailed in AAPC’s yearly salary surveys, which present income trends and show the potential increase in earnings over time with experience and additional certifications.

To evaluate long-term income trends for medical coding or billing specialists, you can reference the yearly details in the AAPC Salary Survey blog posts:

Perks of a Medical Billing and Coding Program

Healthcare billing and coding certifications don’t just prepare you for a rewarding career; it also comes with numerous benefits:

Nationally Recognized Certifications

Most programs prepare you to take certification exams, such as Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), which are nationally recognized and can significantly increase your employability.

Potential Growth

The medical billing and coding field offers room for growth and specialization. With experience, you can advance into managerial roles or specialize in oncology, cardiology, or pediatric coding.


The healthcare industry is relatively recession-proof, making medical billing and coding a stable career choice. The demand for these professionals continues to rise, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting an 8% growth from 2019 to 2029.

Tips for Success in Medical Billing and Coding School

If you are interested in a career in medical billing and coding, here are a few tips for success in school.

  • Take a medical terminology course. This will give you a foundation in the medical terms you need to know.
  • Get certified. Several certification programs are available for medical billing and coding specialists. Getting certified can help you to improve your job prospects and earn a higher salary.
  • Get experience. Internships and volunteer opportunities can give you valuable experience in the field.
  • Stay up-to-date on regulations. As mentioned above, medical billing and coding regulations are constantly changing. It is vital to stay up-to-date on these changes to avoid making mistakes.

Challenges in Medical Billing and Coding Careers

Along with lots of opportunities, some outs lead you towards several challenges that medical billing and coding specialists face, including:

  • Medical billing and coding regulations are constantly changing, making it difficult for specialists to keep up.
  • Medical billing and coding specialists often have to process a high volume of work, which can be stressful.
  • Medical billing and coding specialists must be highly accurate, as even small mistakes can lead to financial losses for healthcare providers.


Boarding on a medical billing and coding career offers a promising blend of healthcare, business, and technology. Medical billing and coding schools play an instrumental role in shaping this future workforce, imparting an in-depth understanding of medical terminologies, coding systems, and regulatory norms. But remember, the learning doesn’t cease at graduation. As this field continually evolves, professionals must stay updated with industry changes to ensure the efficient operation of healthcare facilities. With dedication, you can make a significant impact in the healthcare sector.

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