Medical billing and coding online schools are currently being advertised in every corner of the internet as well as in medical trade journals, on television, and in the career sections of major newspapers. The jury seems to be out as to whether online training is as comprehensive and as valuable in terms of marketability as their in classroom college and university counterparts. My conclusion is that there are quality variances in both and the onus is on the the prospective students to perform their due diligence prior to to making a financial and time commitment to either.
Billing and coding schools online are often an extension of an accredited college or university and offer programs which essentially echo the curriculum which they provide within the classroom setting. These programs are generally developed with a community atmosphere in mind, and in turn making the student feel as though they are part of a group with the same educational goals, even though colleagues and fellow students may be thousands of miles away. They achieve this through new technologies by creating private chat rooms and forums, as well as providing toll-free and email support.
Prior to evaluating the medical billing and coding online schools, the prospective student must perform a thorough evaluation of themselves. Here, it is important to take a good hard look at where they are at in terms of skill level, education, as well as practical work experience, and in turn identify short and long term career goals. This is where a person can determine whether they have a desire to focus on medical billing, medical coding, or a combination of both. Many educational institutions offer a Medical Billing and Coding Specialist accreditation which provides the best of both worlds.
Once this is complete, the next step is to compile a list of schools providing online billing and coding training. The fastest and easiest method is to search the internet and copy and paste the URL’s into a notepad on the computer. Next start viewing the websites of each online educational institution with the intent of locating medical billing and coding programs which match the career goals previously established. While doing this copy and paste to your notepad pertinent information which tends to stand out as well as toll-free numbers and email addresses which can be easily accessed later in the process.
Some of the things to look for are educational and work experience prerequisites, certifications offered, post graduate placement services, course length, price, financing options, and naturally course curriculum. In addition, look for any short term incentives such as a free laptop computer or no interest financing. The goal here is to identify 3-4 schools which seem to be in line with your own personal situation, career goals, and aspirations.
Now for each of the medical billing and coding online schools, list all of the pros, cons, and most importantly any questions which arose during research process. Set aside a few hours and begin calling the toll-free numbers. A program representative will likely answer the telephone and be available to address all of your questions.
Take special note of the level of professionalism, knowledge of the programs offered, and overall attitude about the school. Remember that the program representatives act as the main marketing arm of the school, and if you do not have a good positive feeling after speaking with them, it will likely reflect the level of commitment and service you will receive after enrollment.
A quick word about price. The lowest price is not necessarily the best option and the highest price does not always provide the most value. It is extremely important to look at the entire package, the overall picture if you will.
If for example, a particular school has gained a good reputation within the medical billing and coding industry, and has strong factual statistics indicating that their graduate students obtain the highest paying jobs quickly, it is worth paying a premium as the additional cost will be recouped very quickly. With a certification from a school which is not recognized within the industry may take much longer to find a suitable position.
Finally, analyze all of the information gathered during the research phase and choose the medical billing and coding online school which best suits your own unique situation and addresses your specific needs. If question are still unanswered, contact the schools again and ensure you get the answers you want. If you are torn between two online schools, go with your gut feeling. Make the decision and give it your all. It will truly be the basis for a long, prosperous, and exciting career in the ever expanding field of medical billing and coding.