Medical billing and medical coding are two closely related jobs in the healthcare administration field, and often they are performed by the same person. Due to an aging North American demographic and accordingly, an increased demand on the healthcare system, the need for healthcare administrative technicians continues to grow. Additionally, medical billing and coding is one of the few healthcare careers that one can gain access to relatively quickly ” sometimes, appropriate schooling can be obtained in less than a year. At the same time, these jobs do offer both opportunity for advancement and long term job security; two things that are in short supply these days.
So what are your options for school if you’re interested in medical billing and coding?
There are two; typical campus based courses where you learn in a “traditional” classroom setting, and online schooling which provides you with a home study course. These days, online medical billing and coding programs are often the most practical and cost effective. Even well-known respected institutions are moving their medical and billing programs to an online format.
Pros and Cons of Campus Schools Vs. Online Schools
For many of us, traditional classroom based learning is what we are used to, and perhaps, the most preferred method of education. You have an instructor right on hand to ask questions and explain things, you have the camaraderie of your classmates, and perhaps most importantly, you have structure and regimen; you have to be at class regularly if you intend to graduate from the program.
On the other hand, traditional classroom based learning has its “cons” too; transportation to and from school can be costly, especially if you don’t live nearby, you have to deal with weather, traffic, parking and an inflexible schedule. If you are already in the workforce and are interested in obtaining training to become a medical billing and coding specialist, it is going to be awfully difficult to attend class and keep your current job. And even if it’s physically possible, it’s likely you’ll be so exhausted you may not be able to sustain the pace for the length of the entire course.
Alternatively, online schools that offer home study courses (or traditional campus-based institutions that offer their medical billing and coding classes online) are the perfect alternative for people who want to earn their diploma from home in their spare time. You don’t need to worry about commuting, about parking, about the weather, about anything! Just fire up your computer and get to work.
Of course, there are “cons” to online medical billing and courses too. For one, this sort of program will only work for highly motivated, regimented and disciplined individuals who can learn well without the direct oversight of a teacher or instructor. No one is going to force you to do the work each and every day. You’ll be surrounded by the daily distractions of being at home; laundry that needs to be done, kids that need to be picked up from the mall, supper that needs to be prepared and so on. These things can eat into your time so at the end of the day you get very little accomplished.
Additionally, you have to be especially careful when selecting an appropriate online medical billing and coding school, as not all are properly accredited. Should you obtain a degree with an unaccredited school, you will have wasted your time and your money, as prospective employers will not accept your degree as proof of competence in this field. Luckily, with a research you can easily determine whether or not your chosen institution is properly accredited by the appropriate associations.
At the end of the day it’s up to you to take an assessment of your personal situation as well as your strengths and weaknesses and make a decision whether to go with an online school or campus based institution for your medical billing and coding classes.