Medical Billing Coding - Help - SO CONFUSED!!!, cpt, codes
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Thread Topic: Help - SO CONFUSED!!!
Topic Originator: Dawn
Post Date July 14, 2005 @ 6:57 PM

July 14, 2005 @ 6:57 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I thought I was set with going to my local Business School to study their Medical Billing Specialist Program and now I am not so sure.  It will cost over $11,000.00 to get my Diploma; I fill sick at the thought of going into such debt to get a job.  I have been researching online programs, which seem to range from $500 to $4000.00's; what do you professionals recommend?  I want the best education for my money and I want to be able to get a job.

I would like to work in one of our local hospitals, but would also consider a Physicians office.  Someday I may want to work from home; but right now I really want to get out of the house and get some work experience.

Please help me figure this out; any and all information would be greatly appreciated.

July 14, 2005 @ 8:08 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Land Sakes that's alot of money!! I would not go to a private business school for this. They make big promises but only teach the bare minimum. I know this from experience. Try a community college or the AMBA web site; AAPC website as well for coding. I know our local college has it for much cheaper and the diploma will mean more to your future employers as your education will be better. You will have completely LEARNED what you need to know, not just scanned over it so you're vaguely familiar with it.

Robin Roach
November 7, 2005 @ 3:32 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

First, the greatest job market growth is and will continue to be in Coding. You will need to have a CPC certification to really be a player. I would suggest going to the CRN Institute for exam preparation. They have great online courses. I am personally enrolled in one now. Paste this entire link into your browser:

Down the right hand side click on CRN Institute Courses. I'm enrolled in the 80 hour CPC prep course.

November 7, 2005 @ 6:11 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hi Dawn,

My name is Mindi I am a CPC and President-Elect of my local AAPC Chapter, as well I am an instructor for a vocational college teaching the Medical Coding and Billing course. I also own CPC Unlimited Practice Management and have over 12years exp in the feild. The fee you mentioned is standard for a voc school, the online courses are great if you have prior experience in the medical feild. With no experience in the medical feild an online course is really not the best way to go the subject matter you will be learning is or should be intensive. You want to make sure that what ever course you choose they offer extensive medical terminology and anatomy, billing and payer issues and coding instruction. If you are interested in coding for a hospital you should know that most states require you be either CPC-H or CCS with 3+ years experience in the coding feild before they will even consider you as a candidate. As with any job you will have to pay your dues meaning you will either need to start out in medical records for hospital or billing for physician. My advice to you is get a job at your local hospital of choice in medical records or admissions go to school at night or online and work your way up.

The reality of getting a job as a coder in a hospital with no expericene or credentaials is slim to none. While this feild is hot and growing most employers are seeing the value in hiring an employee with experience and credentials. The school you choose really dosent matter to a physician or hospital. IF you have any questions I would be happy to answer them for you anytime

Mindi L. Rothans, CPC, CDPMA
CPC Unlimited Practice Management

November 7, 2005 @ 6:40 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hi Dawn,

Did you know that there are much more affordable programs out there and in all probability, they are better programs as well.  The CRN Institute has a program that you can take over the internet that is self paced, but includes a coach to assist you with the program.  It has had many successes, over 900 students and is a terrific program.  Go to to find out more and request an info pack.  I think you will find the program affordable and the courses designed to meet your needs.  Talk to the instructors and ask to speak to former students, get the references you need to get that "warm and fuzzy" feeling about the program.

If you want to speak to one of the senior instructors, you can call them at 609-965-9585 and ask for Laureen at x200.  I think you will like this program.


November 8, 2005 @ 9:44 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

You are only as good as your instructor. I am an instructor at a "career institute" and I teach way more than "the basics". My students have a 95% pass rate on the CPC exam and most get jobs. I say "most" because we live in an area where the job market is tight. Personally, I think online courses are tough and almost impossible for a beginner with no knowledge. The AAPC PMCC program is ok, but again, there are some lousy instructors out there...even the AAPC approved instructors...some have their own adgenda. Good luck.

November 10, 2005 @ 1:55 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I am sure you are confused.  Just to give you a flip side of the coin situation.  I currently am in my 4th year of owning my own medical billing practice from home.  I've never gone to school for medical billing.  All of my experience is hands on.  I started at a Dr.'s office as a receptionist, moved up to billing and eventually office manager.  Luckily, there is always work in the medical field.  Perhaps you should also look for a hands on job that is willing to train.  The pay may not be great to start but you will have skills that will keep you working until you don't want to work anymore.  Part of my situation is luck, but also hard work and the drive to become the best I can be at my job and always be willing to learn whatever anyone is willing to teach and not necessarily from a school.  Good Luck!

November 10, 2005 @ 4:10 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Les, you are right, a lot of on line courses are difficult.  What you need to look for is coaching or some type of one on one assistance and contact with the program.  Because as you said in your posting, it is the teachers that make the difference.  And just an on line course has an impersonal voice and homework at the other end of the internet.  But a well designed on line class, with personal coaching, provides that teaching environment that can be terrific for a student, even a beginner.  It is about what works for the student and the chemistry.  The coaching concept provides the opportunity to go at one's own pace, but at the same time have a person working with you, the best of both worlds.  And, it helps a lot of people in rural areas where classes are not available, or people with children who cannot get out of the home to attend class, etc.  

It is great that we have so many options in this industry.  But you have to be careful, as there are people out there that do not necessarily do a good job teaching and preparing you for the real world.  So, do your homework, interview the teachers and ask for student references!

November 10, 2005 @ 7:13 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

And look, you don't even have to know how to spell "field" to be tops in your "feild!"

November 10, 2005 @ 8:12 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hi Me
Are you always this sarcastic? Apparently I have misspelled "field" I will make sure to pay more attention to my spelling next time "me"! Thanks for finding something negative to point out you sure are a class act! It's people like you who make people like me not want to help or share vital information to those who could benefit from it.
One more thing why hide the identity?

Jacqueline Bordleon
November 11, 2005 @ 9:30 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

Hello Dawn,

Research community colleges in your area that offer medical billing and coding classes.  You will most likely have to take a seperate medical billing class first followed by the coding curriculum.  Private schools will be more expensive because of overhead cost.  After completing these two courses you will be able to determine between an online certification test or a traditional classroom preparation for the coding certification as your next course of action.  Only you will know how comfortable and confident you are in what method you choose for gaining certification.  After completing your coding class your instructor will most likely have names of people in your community who do offer traditional classroom preparation for coding certification and who also administer the certification test.  I also suggest working in the field for a few years to gain "hands on" knowledge you might not be exposed to in any type of classroom setting.  A medical background of any type is also helpful in entering this field.  Your success depends on your actions and decisions only and how driven and deternined you are in achieving your career goals.  Always keep in mind that with a positive outlook and logical decision making skills, your goals can be achieved.  I wish you the best of luck in your new career.

November 16, 2005 @ 1:10 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I wen to this school called National school of Business & Technology. There are schools nation wide. Check out there website to find one near you. The website is They have an excellent program and i think they are reasonable on top of offering some of the best possible chances to get grants and scholorships on top of loans. they also offer a career counsler to help you find that perfect job.

November 20, 2005 @ 7:45 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

The probram at National College of Business and Technology concerns me.  Although they say that they prepare you for the certification exams from the American Academy of Professional Coders, they have a web site link that was changed quite a while ago, like a few years ago.  They have not kept up with the organization they are saying they are preparing you for certification.  This is of concern since the tests have changed, the program, in particular for CPC-H has changed a great deal, etc.  If you are teaching something which is timing critical and for which compliance and passing the exam and being excellent in your field means being informed, one would think that they would know the web site for the Ameriacn Academy of Professional Coders.

November 21, 2005 @ 11:59 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I resent that. I went to National and was fully prepared for my CPC exam. I passed the exam on the first try and I was the first one done. A website is just that a website. The best source of informations is to talk one on one to a person. I think you need to get your facts straight before you talk badly about something.

November 21, 2005 @ 2:49 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I did not mean to offend, Sarah.  Having the web site correct, to me, is an indication that they know what is going on with the certifying body.  This was mt opinion, that was all and in no way reflects on anyone who took the program and passed and was successful as you were.  Way to go!

When did you take the course?  How much experience did you have before taking the course.  

Congratulations on passing and that is great.

November 22, 2005 @ 9:19 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I worked at a Chiropractor's office for only a few months during school and had no idea what coding was before I started school. All National campus' may not be as good as the one I went to and I apologize for getting upset. I got alot out of my education and would not be in the job I am today if not for that and the great personnell at National. I like being a name and face and not just a number.

November 22, 2005 @ 9:56 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top


I wholeheartedly ageee with your point about needing to be a name and face and not a number.  The personal experience in education is important.  That is why I recommend the concept of coaching if one goes with an on line educational experience.  You do not just be another person on the other end of the computer, you want to be a name and have someone else to talk, to ask questions and receive answers.  Education with a personal experience is very importrant.  And education that meets your learning style, (visual, audio, or kinesetic) is also very important.

November 22, 2005 @ 4:39 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I totally agree 100% about the learning style. Some people learn very well with the internet, they are able to read and get something immediatly as well as have the dicipline to keep at it. While some people need the traditional classroom atmosphere to accomplish their goals. The key thing is for people to not just think in terms of loans to pay for their education. They need to apply and apply for grants and scholorships and talk to people who are very knowledgable in all there is to offer. Networking is the key. You will learn so much more and get so much further if you talk to people.

December 29, 2005 @ 11:11 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

I am so confused also.  I was looking at taking a BOCES program for medical billing and coding.  The price with books is about 1200 and i need to go to classes to learn.  Am i making the right decision?

December 30, 2005 @ 9:31 AM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

My advice is to find a program that fits your learning style. Don't just make a compulsive decision about something as important as the rest of your life. Find out the local colleges in your home town. Make an appointment with an admissions advisor as well as a financial advisior. Ask questions about their billing program, ask if they fully prepare you for your certification exam, ask to see a list of classes you need to take and see how long the program takes to finish. See what grants scholorships and loans they offer. All student loans are really easy to get and they default for at least 6 months after you graduate and most payments are around $50/month.
The basic classes you neeed to pass the certification exam are:
Medical Terminology
Anatomy and Physiology
CPT coding
ICD-9 coding
Medical Reimbursments
A Medicare class is helpful to you when you find your career.
I'm not sure what association you plan to go through to take your certification. I went through the American Academy of Professional Coding. Check out their website
Let me know if you have any more questions

July 24, 2006 @ 5:46 PM Reply  |  Email Friend   |  |Print  |  Top

May I recommend that you check out, which has a list of accredited health info tech programs and approved coding programs. AHIMA also offers an online coding program. (I agree with a poster on this discussion that previous work experience is often necessary to be successful in an online program. I teach in online courses in health info tech and coding/billing, and our most successful students already work in health care.)

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