Medical billing and coding is one of the most accessible ways to start a career in healthcare without spending years upon years in school. With just a year or two of training for your certification, you will be ready to start your career in America’s fastest growing job industry. But choosing the right medical billing and coding course can be the difference between an easy transition into a fulfilling job or a useless waste of time. Instead of wasting your time, energy and money, follow these steps to choose the right course for your personal needs.
Certificate or College Degree?
The main consideration to decide is whether you want to complete a professional certificate training program or a college-level course for a degree. Certificate programs can be found online, at technical and vocational schools, and at other types of workforce development programs. The differences between the two types of courses are huge. In terms of cost, time, and employment opportunities, there are some important distinctions to keep in mind when making your decision.
The cost of a certification training program will most often be cheaper than a college degree. These programs are run by small private companies in most cases and specialize in providing the training that you need to get a job. Because they focus only on what is absolutely necessary, they can offer training at a reduced rate. College degrees are slightly more expensive, but pay off in the long run. Two-year associate degrees are the most common type of college degree offered for medical billing and coding students.
Training programs average 9-12 months, but an associate degree takes two years. Community colleges require students to complete some general education requirements in order to finish their degrees, so the training period is slightly longer. In some cases, students can accidently choose a fraudulent certificate program to save time or money. Because you must pass a certification test sponsored by an accredited association for medical billing and coding, a fraudulent program will not qualify you for your certification test. When this happens, the attempt to save time and money on a too-good-to-be-true program actually costs much more in the long run.
Employment Opportunities –
Generally speaking, employers favor candidates that have a college degree. While it is still common for workers with medical billing and coding certifications but no college degree to find jobs, these opportunities will be for less pay and less favorable working conditions. Community colleges also provide extremely helpful with employment counseling services, which can make it much easier to find a great job at a fulfilling workplace. Certificate programs also offer these services, but more rarely than colleges. Overall, there is more support from colleges, as well as larger professional networks