Iowa Online Medical Billing School and Campus Based Programs

Many Iowa online medical billing school and campus based programs are available to Hawkeye State residents. Iowa has 3 public universities,15 public two year community colleges, and 29 private colleges and universities, a number of which offer medical billing and coding programs.

Spending time up front researching programs to find the one which best fits your needs is essential to getting the proper education, and it could prevent any unpleasant discoveries after your coursework has started. Because the quality of programs can vary widely, especially those found online, putting in due diligence investigating programs is a must. The following tips can help you separate the good options from the questionable ones:

Iowa Online Medical Billing School

Match your goals to the program. Want to open your own medical billing business from home one day? Make sure your coursework includes setting up a home office, including how to choose the appropriate billing software, how to write a business plan, and how to price your services. Want to be as marketable as possible with more in-depth knowledge of medical coding? Be sure your program includes coding since many general medical billing coursed do not go into depth about coding--and plan on an Associate's Degree to be taken seriously, since most employers tend to expect that level of education. Planning to work in a medical practitioner office? You may not want to get a full Associate's Degree when a 9-12 month certificate program might be adequate.

Don't take a program's claims at face value. All programs, no matter how good (or bad) they are, can sound good up front. Investigate any Iowa online medical billing school or campus based program to be sure you will actually get what you think you will. For example, one woman we know spent several thousand dollars to take an online medical billing program that claimed to offer "career placement assistance". She assumed that someone at the school's headquarters would be assigned to her and help her with her resume and job search, and would act as a career counselor along the way. Not only was a person not assigned to her, but the only "help" she received was a list of medical practitioners in her area, many of whom had no job openings. She now also feels the quality of the instruction was poor, but she did not realize that until almost a year had passed. Discouraged, she has not yet found work in the medical billing field. This could have been avoided by the following tip:

Get a list of references and speak to several students and former students from each Iowa online medical billing school you are considering. This is the best way to ascertain if a program delivers on its promises. Do students feel the instructors are knowledgeable and do they have direct experience in the medical billing field themselves? Do former students feel they were well prepared for a job once the program was complete? Is there a focus on hands-on learning where they actually work with documents which mimic the billing and reimbursement cycle for them to practice on? What kind of career placement assistance is there, and what kind of success rate does the program have in placing students?

In addition, many people have opened successful medical billing businesses from home. Technology makes it possible to work far from the doctors for whom you are billing. If you are planning this avenue, a shorter certificate program or online course may be enough education to enable you to be competent at billing. Income levels when you work for yourself can be significantly more than the averages above, but the key is to sign up that first doctor, which can be difficult. See our "Billing Home Business" Tab on the left for more details about what you will need in order to be successful.

Post Iowa Online Medical Billing School Employment Options

Once you have completed your program at an Iowa online medical billing school or campus based medical billing and coding program, the best opportunities for employment will be found in metropolitan areas which offer greater access to medical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, medical practitioner offices and the like.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reports that the 2014 mean hourly wage of medical billing specialists in Iowa was $17.88 and the mean annual wage was $37,190.

Wage data surveys are conducted every two years.Specific areas of Iowa reported the following wage data, and the change between the last two reporting years (2012 and 2014) are also reported below:

Area Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage +/- Change Since 2012
Cedar Rapids, IA $15.28 $31,780 +4K
Waterloo - Cedar Falls, IA $17.16 $35,680 +4K
Des Moins - West Des Moins, IA $19.16 $39,890 +7K
Davenport - Moline - Rock Island, IA-IL area $13.71 $28,510 +1K
Northwest IA $15.61 $32,460 +4K
Northeast IA $14.69 $30,560 +7K
Southwest IA $15.99 $33,250 +4K
Southeast IA $15.38 $31,980 +1.5K
Omaha - Council Bluffs, NE-IA area $19.10 $39,980 +4K
Sioux City, IA $15.30 $31,820 +2.5K
Dubuque, IA $17.11 $35,580 +4.5K

Medical Billing Specialists in Iowa have fared well over the past few years, with wages increasing across the state. In some cases, wages have made huge gains, most notably in Des Moins, where medical billing professionals gained $7,000 in annual income since 2012. Smaller municipalities in the North East part of the state have made similar 7K gains, which is well above the national average for salary increases.

Other standouts include Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Omaha, Dubuque, and the non-metropolitan areas in the South East where those in the medical coding and billing field gained $4,000-$4,500 in annual income. These gains are all the more exciting since some neighboring states have actually had decreases in some areas of their states

The medical billing and coding field should continue to have a positive long term job outlook for the foreseeable future, making choosing an Iowa online medical billing school or campus based program a good career move. With Iowa's population continuing to grow at a steady rate (4.1% from 2000 to 2010 according to the U.S. Census Bureau), healthcare and the related industry of medical billing should continue to grow as well.

› Iowa Medical Online Medical Billing School

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