Not only do medical billers and coders help healthcare organizations get reimbursed, but they serve another critical function as well. By ensuring that the proper billing codes are utilized in patient records, these professionals also enable investigators to identify disease-related trends – including population-wide changes in a condition’s prevalence, noticeable care patterns, and even trends in patient health outcomes.1
If you want to become a medical biller and coder, you may be trying to decide where to take classes. Learning the knowledge and skills needed to perform this role at Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) has several benefits. We’ll get into what those benefits are, but first, let’s talk about what a medical biller and coder does and the job outlook for this important position.
Overview of the Medical Biller and Coder Job Role
Medical billing and coding professionals convert information contained within patient records into universally identifiable codes. These codes are then used to submit the necessary claims for reimbursement to the patient’s insurance provider or other responsible party.
Think of medical codes as a type of shorthand that healthcare companies can use to quickly note and/or identify patient diagnoses and testing or treatment procedures. For example, if a patient attends a face-to-face Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit, that would fall under a specific code. Using this code is quicker and more efficient than having to type out “face-to-face Welcome to Medicare Preventive Visit” each time. The use of codes can also make it easier to use technology when trying to locate information within or analyze trends or changes within an individual’s or a group of patient’s medical information.
While employment in the field of secretaries and administrative assistants is experiencing a 10% decline, the medical secretary and administrative assistant field – which includes the medical billing and coding field – is projected to grow 7% from 2022 to 2032.2 If you’d like to pursue a role in this field, taking classes is a good first step, and taking those classes at UMA offers a variety of benefits.
9 Benefits of Taking Medical Billing and Coding Classes at UMA
While secretaries and administrative assistants in other fields can often learn via on-the-job training, a medical billing and coding professional often needs additional training to learn the terminology used within the healthcare industry.3
When you obtain your medical and billing education at UMA, you enjoy benefits such as:
- You can learn medical billing and coding online.4 Our online medical billing and coding programs enable you to learn from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. You can also complete your coursework at a time that works best for you, whether that’s at 4 a.m. while everyone else in your house is still asleep or at noon when you’re on your lunch break at work.
- Classes start every 2 – 3 weeks. Traditional on-campus classes generally start only two to three times each year: in the fall, spring, and sometimes the summer. UMA’s online medical billing and coding classes start every two to three weeks. This enables you to begin your coursework sooner rather than waiting several months for the next start date. Who wants to wait when you’re ready to pursue your healthcare career now?
- UMA offers a small class size. UMA is committed to giving every student the attention they both need and deserve. One way we do this is by keeping our class sizes smaller, with a max of 25 students. Offering our medical billing and coding programs online also gives you the ability to connect with your instructors easily if you have questions or need help with your schoolwork.
- Two courses focus entirely on your success. Two of the courses in UMA’s medical billing and coding associate degree and diploma program curriculums are designed to help promote your success. One addresses your success as a student while the other covers preparation for your career pursuit.
- We help prepare you to sit for the medical billing and coding certification exam. When you take your classes at UMA, our student support team help you get ready for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam administered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).5 Earning a medical billing and coding certification can help differentiate you from other job applicants who lack this designation.
- Multiple team members are here to support you every step of the way. As a medical billing and coding student, you may face certain challenges. Maybe there are course materials that you don’t understand. Or you might be struggling to balance school and work. UMA team members can help guide you to find solutions to these issues so you can pursue a medical billing and coding career – no matter what obstacles you face.
- UMA is here for you after you graduate as well. Once your course is complete, the next step is to find and apply for medical billing and coding jobs. UMA is proud to provide our graduates with job search assistance. We work with many employer partners who are interested in hiring UMA grads. If you decide that you want to further your healthcare education, we can also get you in touch with one of our partner schools.
- We are accredited. UMA is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES.org), a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Getting accredited is a rigorous process that helps advance health education program quality and accountability.6
- UMA recognizes and celebrates diversity and inclusion. In 2018, UMA established the Diversity & Inclusion Council, adding “Equity” to its title in 2021 to further clarify the goals of this inner organization. UMA leaders have been recognized as being a voice for the LGBTQ+ community, also hosting guest speakers on important DE&I topics including Juneteenth, Asian Pacific Islander Heritage, and National Coming Out Day.
UMA Offers Two Medical Billing and Coding Program Options
If you’d like to enjoy these benefits, UMA offers both a Medical Billing and Coding diploma and associate degree program. The diploma program can be completed in 11 months, and the associate degree program – which also includes some general education courses and a few additional degree requirements – takes approximately 18 months to complete.7
Both the medical billing and coding diploma and associate degree programs help prepare you to work in this field. You learn about medical terminology, the various universal coding systems, claims processing, medical records management, and more. This provides a solid foundation for beginning your career as a medical biller and coder.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about your healthcare education options, contact us today. We’d be glad to help you make the right decision for you by providing the information you need.
In the meantime, check out these resources to learn more about the medical billing and coding healthcare role:
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is medical coding? Medical coding involves converting a patient’s diagnoses, testing procedures, or treatments into universally recognized codes. These codes can then be used for billing purposes or to help investigators identify healthcare trends.
- How do I become a medical coder? Taking a medical billing and coding course provides the education and skills needed to work in this healthcare role.
- Does UMA have a 4-week online course for medical billing and coding? Not at this time. We currently offer medical billing and coding diploma and associate degree programs. Both of these programs are more comprehensive than a 4-week medical billing and coding certificate program, providing you with the information needed to work in this role.
- Do I need medical coder certification? Some employers may require certification to work as a medical biller or coder. UMA helps prepare you to sit for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam, if you qualify.
1 Alhajji M, Kawsara A, Alkhouli M. Validation of Acute Ischemic Stroke Codes Using the International Classification of Diseases Tenth Revision. The American Journal of Cardiology. https://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(20)30009-6/fulltext
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants. Job Outlook. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm#tab-6
3 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants. How to Become a Secretary or Administrative Assistant. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm#tab-4
4 Coursework is online except for on-site externship/practicum. Set schedules required for on-site externship/practicum courses in select programs and coursework deadlines are set by instructors.
5 This certification is considered separate from the career training you receive at UMA and is not required to graduate.
6 Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. https://www.abhes.org/
7 Completion time can vary depending on individual student.