May 8, 2012 by Staff Writers
How Can I Tell if a Medical Billing and Coding School is Accredited?
Deciding to go back to school for medical billing and coding can be a great career opportunity. But before selecting a school to attend, it is important to verify that the institution is properly accredited. Without this, your degree might not provide you the value you need to progress in your medical billing and coding career. Accreditation means your school meets certain standards, as do your fellow students. It is also a condition a school must meet in order for its students to have access to federal financial aid options and the ability to transfer credits to another institution.
Accredited medical billing and coding schools have to meet certain standards, both in their programs of study and in the quality of their students’ performance. For both the schools and the students, this ensures that the medical billing and coding program is consistently striving to improve and keep up with changes in the industry. Additionally, for future employers, a degree from an accredited school means that they can expect a certain caliber of employee: someone who will be up-to-date on the latest in electronic health records and all other aspects of medical billing and coding.
National Organizations Relevant to Billers and Coders
Two nationally known accreditation organizations that focus on medical billing and coding include: the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), which accredits general programs, including medical billing and coding, and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), which provides certification for medical coders, and lists courses that prepare students for credentialing exams. Accredited medical billing and coding schools should have one or both of these organizations listed on their website or printed information. However, always be sure to cross-reference the schools claims with the actual organization’s records to verify accreditation.
Regional Agencies That Grant Institutional Accreditation
In addition to the two national organizations mentioned above, six regional agencies accredit higher education institutions as a whole (not merely their medical billing and coding programs). They are:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NASC)
- Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges (NASC)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)