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Carrington College Blog

What Will I Learn: Medical Billing and Coding

September 28, 2016

Everybody’s been to the doctor or dentist, so you’re probably pretty familiar with what a medical assistant or dental assistant does…but have you ever gotten a sneak peek behind the scenes of the office?

To get the inside scoop on what goes on, we spoke with students from Carrington College’s Medical Billing and Coding program [1] to find out what the program is all about.


Why Medical Billing & Coding?

Why do students choose a back office health care program like MBC? Student Dona says that all the jobs she was going for wanted her to have coding knowledge. Student Daniella picked MBC because she likes to do administrative work. Does that sound like your kind of gig? Medical Billing and Coding Program Director Linda explains who’s typically a good fit for the program.

“It’s a variety of students; usually it’s someone who wants to go into the medical field, but doesn’t want to deal with body fluids, needles, blood pressure – things like that.”

If you love solving problems, enjoy working with numbers and want to work in health care, then Medical Billing and Coding could be something you’d be into.

Biller or Coder – what’s the difference?

When you visit the doctor, they’ll take notes about your health and make a diagnosis if you’re sick so you can get the treatment and medication you need to feel better. That info is shared with your insurance company to make sure the doctor’s office gets paid. Billers and coders are the people who make sure all that info ends up where it should. Here’s how Linda explains it;

“A medical biller deals more with the patient side – insurance, eligibility, charges, and payments. A coder deals more with the documentation side, making sure that the code is right for the documentation the doctor completed.”

So what will I learn?

ICD-10 is a something you’ll hear about A LOT in the MBC program. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is the standard diagnostic tool for the industry – it makes sure everyone is on the same page. MBC student Jasmine explains more;

“We’re just getting into ICD-10 codes; it’s pretty cool, they’re the diagnosis codes – basically what’s wrong with you!  They have codes for everything, they even have codes for car accidents!”

Medical codes for everything…who knew!? So what else will you learn? On the day we caught up with the class, they were learning how to enter patient demographics… wait now… patient demo-what? Daniella is who’s two weeks away from going to her externship tells us more in a language we’ll get!

“We’re learning to gather all the information that we need – the patient’s name, address, date of birth…”

Ahhh okay – patient demographics, so basically their personal details. It’s super important to get all that stuff right.

Btw, the externship that Daniella is heading to is super-exciting! She’ll be completing 180 hours at an orthopedic facility (where they deal with bones, joints and muscles). The best part of each externship is that it’s all real world, hands-on experience. Daniella will be working with real patient records, real insurance issues, and real codes!  Think about it…that could be you one day!

Other things you’ll learn about on the program are anatomy and physiology; you need to understand a little about the body to become a billing and coding rock star! So you’ll learn about a body part, then learn how to code that body system. It sounds tough, but Linda, explains how students figure it out;

“It is definitely a challenge, but if they take it a piece at a time they do just fine.”

Daniella says that the most interesting thing they’ve learned is how to break down words. That sounds like a good thing because some of those medical words are monsters! Linda says a lot of the words have a prefix, suffix and combining forms. MBC student Dona…please give us an example!

“Like hematology – ‘ology’ means ‘the study of’ and ‘hema’ is blood!”

That makes a lot of sense. So how does it feel knowing what all those big words mean? MBC student Dynasty says “it makes her feel smart!” Students in this class, and every MBC class have every right to feel smart and proud of themselves, they’ve really accomplished something!

So what are you waiting for?

Click here to learn more about the Medical Billing and Coding program at Carrington College.


[1] For comprehensive consumer information, visit

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