Online Medical Billing and Coding Schools: How To Choose

Checkmark ShieldReviewed by

Online Medical Billing and Coding Schools: How To Choose

Obtaining a medical billing and coding certification is beneficial in the long run if you want to establish your career in healthcare. Since paperwork is the backbone of every healthcare system, medical coders must administer data and patient records to create insurance claims.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for medical coders will increase by 9% between 2019 and 2029–almost double the 4% average for all jobs. Online medical billing and coding programs sound more appealing and convenient for potential students. We will discuss the top online courses for medical billing and coding and weigh the pros and cons of each school. 

What Are the Top Medical Billing and Coding Programs? 

Taking a medical billing and coding class online allows you to navigate the decision-making and research process according to your time. In most cases, an online program is preferable for students with a busy schedule. Since online programs offer more flexibility than traditional, on-site courses, students can log into their courses anytime. 

 Online medical billing and coding programs give you more freedom in choosing the program delivery, curriculum, and tuition fees than on-campus programs. Listed below are some of the top online medical coding programs. 

1. American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) 

Online medical billing and coding courses at AAPC are best for those without prior knowledge of medical coding. Founded in 1928 as a quarterly magazine for medical coding industry professionals, AAPC has grown into one of the most renowned billing professional membership organizations that cater to coding beginners. 

Some of the most popular programs among medical billing and coding aspirants are the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and Certified Professional Biller (CPB) courses. Numerous other customizations for the course include online practice exams and free code books that are usually grouped in packages and cost extra.

Here’s what you will learn in the program: 

  • Acquire requisite skills for using three medical code sets- ICD-10-CM, CPT, and HCPCS Level II 
  • Understand cumulative health plans and reimbursement methodologies 
  • Comprehend the intricate process of physician-based insurance claims
  • Analyzing medical reports and other regulatory considerations in healthcare reimbursement and collections

Course Length: The course length for the online course will depend on the type of learning mode. Self-paced learning will take around four to eight months. The instructor-led course will span over 16 weeks from start to completion. 

Program Structure: The online course will be divided into learning modules with successive tests at the end to assess students’ progress. Along with reading assignments, AAPC also provides audio lectures and critical-thinking exercises. 


  • 80% higher pass rate than other medical coding programs 
  • Students with an AAPC membership can save at least $125 for the CPC course 
  • Employment support


  • Extra $349 for certification exam 

2. American Health Information Management Association 

AHIMA is another accreditation organization that prepares potential students for certification exams. Their professional courses allow you to choose a learning mode tailored to your goals. AHIMA offers excellent courses that cover all facets of medical records management, documentation improvement, and privacy and security. 

In AHIMA’s Medical Coding and Reimbursement program, you will learn the following: 

  • Understand the three mode sets 
  • Learn medical coding guidelines
  • AHIMA’s standards of ethical coding 
  • Documentation on code assignment 

Course Length: Self-paced course which lasts 365 days from the date of purchase. 

Program Structure: It consists of a 13-course program, and you receive a certificate of completion after completion. 


  • AHIMA credential is prestigious in the medical industry 
  • Offers self-paced learning programs 
  • The entire bundle is $2993.25; however, you can choose a single course which costs around $299. 


  •  The extra cost of $299 for certification exams

3. Penn Foster Career School

The Online Medical Billing and Coding Career Diploma Program by Penn Foster will prepare you for certificate programs offered by the National Healthcareer Association, AAPC, and AHIMA. With Penn Coster, you can learn at whatever pace is best for most learners. You will need to dedicate a few hours to the coursework. 

Some things you will learn in the online program: 

  • Apply the three coding guidelines to identify diagnoses and patient medical records
  • Interpret medical information to make proper coding decisions
  • Learn the process for patient record reimbursement 
  • Acquire computer and information literacy skills 

Course Length: Average completion time for the course is 15 months. 

Program Structure: To complete the program, you need to do 11 courses under the Online Medical Billing and Coding Program 


  • The cost of the certification exam is included in the program 
  • The affordable price of $899 along with two monthly EMI plans
  • Self-paced course 


  • No additional guidance from professionals 

4. Drexel University 

The Medical Billing and Medical Coding program offered by Drexel University is designed to prepare you for national certifications.  Although students are prepared to take national certification exams, they also continue to take more advanced courses at Drexel University. After completing the medical billing and coding program at Drexel University, students can even opt for a bachelor’s degree. 

Some key learnings of this program: 

  • Understand the main coding manuals- ICD-10-CM, CPT and HCPCS and ICD-10-PCS
  • Get familiar with medical terminology, anatomy, software, and medical billing 
  • Analyze physical and hospital-based medical coding 

Course Length- One year 

Program Structure: Compared to the traditional two-semester system, Drexel university offers a program divided into four 10-week quarters per year. 


  • Flexible 10-course program 
  • Eligible for financial aid 


  • Additional exam fee for certification exam

5. University of Cincinnati 

The online medical billing and coding program offered by the University of Cincinnati is a fully online and accredited program. Students can continue to earn an Associate Degree through the Associate Degree Transfer Program. 

  • Since medical coders ensure that insurance companies are updated with accurate medical codes, this program will offer advanced medical coding using ICD and CPT coding principles
  • Learn the basics of medical terminology 
  • Understand health information ethics 
  • Overview of basic anatomy and physiology 

Course Length: Students can complete the program in less than 12 months with full-time enrollment. 

Program Structure: Since the program takes place online without needing on-campus visits, students can choose six starting dates during the year. Classes usually last seven to fourteen weeks and are completely asynchronous. 


  • Full-time and part-time programs 
  • Students who complete the program can transfer their credits to an Associate’s degree 
  • Graduates are 29% more likely to pass the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam 


  • Expensive tuition fees which start at $3,189 per semester 
  • No self-paced learning 

6. Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

The remote medical coding certification program offered by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is a fully online and accredited program that combines classroom instruction with the technical experience of a healthcare system. If you have a busy schedule, the medical billing and coding program offered by Indiana university is perfect for you. 

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education are two accrediting bodies for the certification exam. Students will learn the following in this course: 

  • Correctly use medical codes for medical procedures and diagnostic coding 
  • Recognized medical terms and communicate effectively in a healthcare environment 
  • Uphold ethical billing practices 
  • Obtain reimbursement for healthcare services from insurance companies

Course Length: The program is completely online, and students can obtain their coding certificate after completing 28 credit hours of the medical billing and coding program. 

Program Structure: You will receive a certificate upon completing the 28-credit hours course. Note that if you do not have prior credit for the course, you will have to complete additional 12 credits of coursework before starting the course. 


  • A fully online program that is available in an asynchronous program 
  • The credits earned during this course can be applied toward a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management, also offered at IUPUI


  • No self-paced path 
  • At $295 per credit hour, the total amount for the course can become a bit pricey 
  • Requires prior credit before starting the course. 

How Will You Choose a Program

To become a Certified Professional Coder, you’ll need to take the medical billing and coding program. When choosing an online program, there are several factors to consider. The best medical billing and coding school for you depends on your preference. 

Hybrid/Fully Online Course 

While some online courses are conducted in the asynchronous mode, others follow a hybrid/blended model. When signing up for a medical billing and coding course, ensure that the information aligns with your personal preferences. 

Some healthcare providers sign up for completely online courses to gain additional knowledge while working on their job. Hybrid classes are usually conducted on campus at least 50% of the time, and the remainder is online. Students who are selecting an out-of-state program that is geographically distant from their home will be unable to fulfill the hybrid course requirements. 

However, if you find on-site learning more effective–especially for certain lab, nursing, and teaching courses but do not want to do the entire course offline, the hybrid mode will work seamlessly for you. 

Learning Pace 

Students enrolled in online programs usually look for flexibility in classes and coursework requirements. Although some programs offer online medical billing and coding schools with self-paced learning, most offer one-on-one sessions with instructors and dedicated tests to record your progress. 

Make sure that your learning style aligns with the course structure. While some students prefer coaching sessions with trained professionals, others prefer an asynchronous mode that allows them to work at their own pace. 

Cost and Financial Aid 

A particular medical billing and coding school's overall cost dictates most students' final verdict. Most online courses are around $1000-$3000, and some exclude the certification exam cost. 

There are online courses that offer financial aid for distinguished students. This will, however, depend on the university and its specific requirements to meet the criteria. 


Before enrolling in an online medical billing program, check the institution's accreditation status. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers prefer candidates that have a professional certification. 

After completing the online program, you can obtain certification by sitting for an online or in-person proctored exam. To earn the Certified Professional Coder credential by AAPC, you’ll need to answer 100 multiple-choice questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I Teach Myself Medical Billing and Coding 

Self-taught medical coding is only possible if you already have a medical field background and prerequisite medical terminology knowledge. 

If you’re someone who does not have any experience in the medical field, it can be difficult to understand coding books without guidance. 

Is Medical Billing and Coding Hard to Earn Online?

Medical billing and coding can be challenging, especially if you’re from a non-medical background. Most online programs offer a rundown of various courses along with practice tests, possible questions, and coaching sessions. 

Like many healthcare careers, getting a medical billing and coding credential will require hard work and dedication. With education and hands-on training modules, you can practically implement your learnings in your job.

How Long Does it Take to Learn Coding and Billing? 

You will complete a course in less than a year, depending on the online program structure. If you’re following a semester-based program, it can take more than a year–more or less 15 months. Students looking for self-learning can avail this program. 

Other online courses follow the course structure, which can be completed within a year. However, this will limit your flexibility, and you will need to meet coursework deadlines. 

More Resources

Is Medical Coding Hard? Insights & Tips for Success
Dive into the complexities of medical coding and billing. Learn what makes it challenging and discover practical tips for mastering this crucial healthcare profession.
AHIMA vs. AAPC: Medical Billing and Coding Organizations Compared
Discover the differences between AAPC and AHIMA. Compare their costs, certifications, and ongoing education to choose the best fit for your health information career goals.
How Long Is Schooling for Medical Billing and Coding?
Explore the various educational paths in medical billing and coding, from swift certificate courses to comprehensive bachelor's degrees. This article provides an in-depth look at the varying durations and requirements of medical billing and coding programs, helping you choose the right educational path for you.
Enter the Medical Billing & Coding Field: Skills, Jobs, & Growth
Dive into the essentials of a medical billing and coding career. Learn about job roles, necessary skills, and start your journey in this in-demand healthcare field.
Program outcomes may vary depending on each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guranteed.