Why This Matters

  • 29,000 MORE MEDICAL CODING PROFESSIONALS ARE NEEDED

    Positions for medical records and health information techs will grow 8% by 2029. The increased demand is projected to add another 29,000 jobs in the field.

  • EARN $4,500 MORE WITH MEDICAL CODING EXPERTISE

    The median annual salary for medical records and health information techs is $44,380. That’s about $4,500 more than the median yearly wages of $39,810 as measured across all occupations.

  • WORK IN MORE THAN A HALF-DOZEN SETTINGS

    Medical coders work in many settings, including hospitals, healthcare consulting services, doctor’s offices, educational institutions, insurance agencies, government agencies, and law firms. They can even work from home.

Our Research

We reviewed many medical coding programs, including both certificates and associate degrees. The list also includes online, hybrid, and traditional programs to offer individuals as much choice as possible.

All of the programs listed have been awarded regional accreditation, and many are also accredited through a national body. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Health Information Management (CAHIIM) are the main national accrediting bodies.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 78 hours to write this article
  • 162 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 286 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Medical and Coding Programs

Best Medical and Coding Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Most medical coding programs offer either a certificate or an associate degree. Associate degrees take longer to finish than certificate programs, but the courses for an associate degree can later be applied to a bachelor’s degree. Consider your ultimate educational and career aspirations as you evaluate which of these two types of programs is right for you.

Online programs can usually be completed remotely, but some might have a brief in-person component. Check for any such component, and make sure it’s compatible with your schedule.

Certification in this field is optional, but almost all medical billers and coders are certified. You’ll have a hard time getting hired if you don’t hold a certification. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the American Health Information Management Agency (AHIMA) are two nationally recognized certifying bodies.

Because certification is so important in the field, many programs will pay for your first certification exam. You’ll likely be responsible for additional attempts if you don’t pass on the first try.

Medical coding and medical billing are different job categories in the healthcare field. Medical coders work for healthcare providers, while medical billers work for insurers. The two professions use essentially the same knowledge, though, and the academic preparation for both jobs is the same.

What’s Next?

As you evaluate medical coding programs, consider these questions:

  • How long does it take to earn this online degree? Associate degrees usually require between 27 and 48 credits to complete. This will generally take two years if you study full-time. Certificates may be measured in courses, credits, or hours, and some can be done in as little as a few hundred hours. A few hundred hours of coursework takes a few weeks to complete at a full-time pace.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Coursework may be synchronous or asynchronous, meaning classes may be attended at a specific time or you may be allowed to do the work on your own schedule. Many programs offer a combination of synchronous classes and asynchronous homework.

When you identify a potential program, find out the required application materials and submission deadlines. You can get this information from a program’s website or by contacting the admissions department directly.

Also consider how you’ll cover the cost of tuition. Depending on the program and your employment situation, you might qualify for financial aid, scholarships, or tuition reimbursement.