As an instructor in the field of medical billing courses and coding I am frequently asked if one should get a 2-year college degree in medical coding/billing. My answer is two-fold. I am a strong advocate of education and take the stance that one can never learn too many new things in life. Many disciplines require a college degree to enter the field. For example, one cannot be a teacher or nurse without a college degree. Other careers simply do not carry that requirement. In the medical coding and billing industry, usually career vocational training (including online programs) are sufficient training to enter the career field. Employers are wanting to know if you can do the job or not. Also, having certifications within the industry shows your professionalism and dedication.
College Degree versus Vocational Training | Medical Billing Courses
For example, if an employer was wanting to hire a new medical coder/biller for an office, they may be impressed by someone who had a 2-year degree in it, but if another applicant had career vocational training and a high-level certification such as through AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders), then the certified coder would definitely be in the running for the available job. In the medical coding and billing industry what nets the job is experience, certification, and knowing what you are doing. Many companies will hire new graduates just out of school to do the job. Going into a job interview with confidence, a well-written resume, and having passed a nationally-known certification exam such as AAPC’s or AHIMA’s credentials will definitely give you a competitive edge.
Career vocational training gets a person working faster. Having said that, I’m not against higher education. If a person has a lot of time to do a degree program and truly wants the extra courses in English, Math, electives, etc., then it’s not a bad idea. Education is always a good thing. The medical coding and billing career field seems to attract people who enjoy learning because there are always new laws, rules, regulations, updates, etc. that need to be understood in order to do the job correctly and expertly.
By: Dawn Moreno, PhD, CBCS, CMAA, MTC. Lives in the beautiful Southwest United States and has been an instructor for medical coding/billing for the past 7 years. Interested in quality medical billing training?