With the busy schedules and the active lives most of us lead, online education has become a very popular way to earn a degree in health care professions. Many aspiring medical professionals find promising opportunities at the intersection of online classes and medical billing and coding, a career that offers the options of working in a medical facility or at home.
How Do Online Classes Work?
Online classes are taught through distance learning. All you really need is a computer and Internet access. As an online student, you’ll learn through interactive videos, reading materials, lectures, and DVDs. Although an online program may require occasional class participation in which you’ll have to be online at a certain time, they usually allow you to do work at your convenience. The flexibility of doing schoolwork based on your schedule is what usually makes online classes such a popular option.
Will Online Classes Prepare Me for Certification?
Medically billing and coding classes generally prepare you for certification in the same way as on-campus programs. The two most commonly used organizations that offer certification for medical coders and billers are the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Each of these organizations has different certification requirements. The AHIMA recommends that you complete an AHIMA-accredited program but does not require it. All you have to do is pass the exam.
The AAPC requires candidates to have some work experience to take the coding certification exam but does not require this for the billing exam. The organization offers an apprentice status that allows you to gain on-the-job training and still take the certification exams. The AAPC also offers an online medical billing and coding program on their website, ensuring that its students receive the training necessary to prepare them for certification.
How Do I Choose a Training Program?
When choosing online medical billing and coding classes, the most important consideration is choosing classes that will prepare you for this career and the certification exam. Being hired as a medical billing and coding specialist is often more contingent on having certification than completing any specific program.
Although finding online classes or programs that are AAPC- or AHIMA-accredited is not a necessity, it is often recommended. Both the AAPC and the AHIMA offer information on what’s on their respective certification exams, so it would be beneficial to research this when choosing any specific online classes.
What are the Time and Financial Commitments?
Online classes are often chosen by people who have busy schedules and can’t take classes at conventional times. The time it takes to complete the classes depends on the time you’re willing to commit to your studies. Online billing and coding classes are generally less expensive those taken in a traditional college setting. They also allow you to take individual classes. The only downside is that online classes may not be eligible for financial aid.