Arkansas Medical Billing Online School Options

Numerous Arkansas medical billing online school options, as well as campus based medical billing specialist schools, are available for Natural State residents. Arkansas has over 44 two and four year colleges and universities to choose from,many of which offer programs in medical billing, and many online or distance-learning opportunities as well. Prospective students should research any program to be sure it is of good quality, and that its content will allow them to meet their specific employment goals.

Good medical billing and coding programs cover such topics as medical terminology, administration, insurance coding, and coding for a variety of body systems. In addition, students should be provided opportunities for both manual and electronic simulated insurance form preparation, as well as how to conduct patient interviews and to practice documentation. Some, but not all courses include some form of internship or other actual on-the-job work experience in medical billing.

Starting your own medical billing business has gained popularity in recent years. Besides the appeal of working for yourself, the relatively low start-up costs of running a business from home are attractive. After receiving appropriate training, you will also need the following additional hardware, software, and supplies: a computer system with modem and printer, fax machine, medical billing software, reference materials, HCFA 1500 forms, a phone with voice mail or an answering machine, and office supplies like paper, postage, etc. You will also need to choose a medical billing clearinghouse--a company that receives and transmits claims electronically.

Arkansas Medical Billing Online School Options

The type of program you choose depends on your goals: if you are planning to work for a medical practitioner or start your own medical billing business, a shorter Certificate program may be adequate. If you are planning to concentrate more on medical coding (where detailed knowledge of the specific medical codes assigned to medical procedures and diagnoses is key) you will probably want to enroll in an Associate's Degree program, which is typically what employers expect from medical coders. Certificate programs generally last from 9-12 months, while an Associate's Degree takes approximately two years.

Once you have completed your training at an Arkansas medical billing online school or campus based program, the best places to find employment are in metropolitan areas with a higher concentration of doctors, hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. The U.S. Department of Labor (www.bls.gov) reports that in May of 2014 the mean hourly wage for Arkansas medical billing specialists was $15.70 and the mean annual wage was $32,660. Specific cities and areas of Arkansas reported the following wage data:

Area Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage
Little Rock - North Little Rock - Conway, AR $18.04 $37,530
Pine Bluff, AR $14.88 $30,950
Hot Springs, AR $14.18 $29,480
Jonesboro, AR $15.38 $31,980
Fayetteville - Springdale - Rogers, AR-MO $14.69 $30,560
Fort Smith AR-OK area $13.60 $28,280
Texarkana - Texarkana AR-TX $17.63 $36,680
East Arkansas $13.95 $29,010
South Arkansas $14.06 $29,240
West Arkansas $13.87 $28,860

In comparing the annual wage data between 2012 and the 2014 update, it is interesting to see that some areas of Arkansas went up, while others decreased. Areas with an increase include Little Rock (up 2K), Pine Bluff (up 2K), East Arkansas (up 1K), and West Arkansas (up 3K).  But it was disappointing to see that some areas actually went down, such as Hot Springs (down 3K), Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers (down 3K), and Texarkana (down 3K). 

Long term job prospects in the medical billing field look positive. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Arkansas' population increased by 9.1% in the ten year period between 2000 and 2010. This increase translates into a proportional increase in healthcare needs, and thus for medical billing services, making researching Arkansas medical billing online school options quite attractive.

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