Free medical billing training may sound appealing, but it comes at a cost!
The idea of free medical billing training is instantly appealing, especially to students on a budget who want to enter a lucrative and interesting career in health care. However, whereas it is relatively easy to find free education, this does not necessarily make free courses a good idea. If you decide to take the free route, you will face a number of disadvantages that can severely hurt your chances of securing a job. Here are a few examples of what you will miss out on.
To work as a medical biller, you should really hold a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) certification. As free courses are of far lower quality than programs offered through schools, you may struggle to understand some of the more complex terms. Some courses even lack certain aspects of the CBCS exam entirely! This means paying out of pocket for an exam that you have a high chance of failing. On the other hand, if you study through an accredited school, you’ll know that you’re prepared. Plus, some programs even cover the cost of the exam within tuition. Southern Careers Institute’s medical billing training programs cover the cost of your first certification, for example.
In addition to the CBCS, it is useful to hold additional, or stacked, certifications, for which you are unlikely to receive adequate preparation through free medical billing training. The combination of certifications that seem to be the most desirable for career opportunities in the medical field, are CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant), CPT (Certified Phlebotomy Technician), & CET (Certified EKG Technician). This specific combination is called “trifecta” certified. In a 2014 study by the National Healthcare Career Association (NHA), professionals that were “trifecta” certified, were 52% more likely to receive a promotion and earned an average of $1650 more per year!
Employers prefer to hire candidates with a reputable educational background, which requires training from an accredited school. If you’re not paying for your training, you can be fairly certain that the business is not accredited.
Free medical billing training courses tend to have high enrollment numbers, which means few instructors to many students. If you find something difficult, you will have no one to turn to for support. In contrast, medical billing programs offered through schools like Southern Careers Institute tend to have small teacher-to-student ratios and may even provide extra tuition services outside of class.
Free courses have much higher dropout rates than accredited programs. In addition to knowing that you are receiving a quality education and receiving support from teachers, simply paying for a course may help you stay motivated through to graduation.
If you would prefer to study online rather than in a traditional school setting, you can do so without all the above disadvantages by taking a distance education course through an accredited school. Plus, there is no need for your training to be expensive — most students are eligible for financial aid, which can cover some or even all your tuition — and you will quickly make a return on your investment once you get a medical billing job after graduation!
Hear how Flor, a medical billing and coding graduate, is thriving now as a certified pro in her field: