Online Medical Billing & Coding Certificate Programs

Medical coding and billing professionals are similar to translators; they translate a patient’s diagnosis, procedures performed on them, and medicines prescribed. They use an internationally accepted set of codes, so as to properly record health information and compensate healthcare providers.

Each time you visit a doctor, your medical history is noted, along with your symptoms, diagnosis, medicines prescribed, and finally, any procedures performed. A medical coder will translate this interaction into a set of codes. Next, a medical billing agent will prepare a claim for the insurance company based on these codes. Once the claim is evaluated by the company, the biller will verify it and inform the patient of the amount they owe after insurance has been subtracted.

In short, a medical coder and biller work in tandem to ensure that a healthcare provider is reimbursed properly.

There are a few different types of code books that help medical coders and billers do their job, such as the CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) and the ICD-10-CM (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification).

Medical coders are well-versed with anatomy, physiology, and medical procedures, as well as prayer policies and guidelines. To begin a career as a medical coder, one must complete training via a certificate program. A number of these programs are available online. Next, one must acquire certification in the field such as the Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC), and Certified Outpatient Coder (COD).

Certificate programs in medical billing and coding can be completed in one to two years. Students become familiar with medical coding terminology and software, as well as code manuals. Some of the courses include physician-based medical coding, medical billing, medical terminology, sectional anatomy, reimbursement systems, and the legal aspects of healthcare.

The following article lists seven notable schools with certificate programs in medical coding and billing as well as an excellent professor in the field.

Featured Online Medical Billing & Coding Schools

Drexel University

Drexel University offers a completely online medical billing and coding certificate program. The program covers learning principles found in the four main coding manuals: CPT, HCPCS, ICD-10-CM, and ICD-10-PCS. The curriculum has been carefully designed by experts in the field.

Admission requirements for the program include a high school diploma or GED, a completed application, at least one official transcript from either high school or a previously attended college, and if the student has previously attended college outside of the U.S., TOEFL or IELTS scores. An official course-by-course transcript evaluation may be required of applicants with degrees from foreign institutions as well.

​Made up of 30​ credit-hours, the program provides students with an understanding of anatomy, software related to medical billing, and medical coding. Some of the topics students explore include ​sectional anatomy, medical terminology, medical billing, physician-based medical coding, and medical billing software. Furthermore, the 30 credits earned in this certificate program can be applied as free electives toward Drexel University’s fully-online BS in health services administration program.

Upon completing this program, students become eligible to take the associated national certification exams, such as Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CRMS) Board Exam, the Certified Professional Medical Auditor Board Exam, and the Certified Coding Specialist Physician-Based Board Exam. Graduates of the program can pursue roles such as medical coding, medical billing, medical auditing, medical transcription, and medical records.

  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $855 per credit-hour

Shoreline Community College

Shoreline Community College offers an online medical coding and reimbursement specialist certificate program. This program is offered exclusively online and is approved by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The faculty includes industry professionals who ensure that students receive the skills and knowledge necessary for work in this field.

The main admission requirements include a completed online application, transcripts from each U.S. school attended (unofficial transcripts are acceptable), a transfer status verification form for transfer students, and proof of English language proficiency for international students.

Comprised of 60 credit-hours, the curriculum includes courses such as survey of healthcare delivery, hospital and clinic patient records, medical terminology, medical reimbursement systems, legal aspects of healthcare and intermediate medical coding.

Students are taught how to complete medicare, medicaid, and insurance claim forms; use software such as automated accounting systems and electronic health record systems; use computerized (and manual) grouping systems and encoders for determining prospective payment systems; and read and interpret patient medical records.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities in dental and medical offices, medical billing and coding companies, hospitals, insurance companies, and related facilities. They can take up roles such as medical reimbursement specialists, medical coders, coding analysts, billers, patient account representatives, and clinical documentation improvement (CDI) specialists.

Graduates of this program also become eligible to sit for the certification examination offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) as well as related exams.

  • Location: Shoreline, Washington
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
  • Expected Time to Completion: 18 to 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $166.72 per credit-hour

Northwest Technical College

Northwest Technical College offers an online certificate in medical coding. Students learn how to manage and organize medical data such as training materials, medical facility records, medical research reports, and official documents. The program consists of 29​ credit-hours, including courses in medical office procedures, medical billing insurance, medical language applications, inpatient billing, ICD-10-CM, medical terminology, and pathophysiology.

Most of the credits earned in this certificate program can be applied to the 60-credit associate of applied science (AAS) degree or the 42-credit medical coding diploma. Those looking to start a career in the field may find this program ideal for their upskilling needs, and graduates of this program are qualified for positions in healthcare facilities such as clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, dental offices, and home health agencies as well as for roles in government agencies, insurance companies, and public health organizations.

Applicants must complete an online application and submit a high school transcript or GED and official transcripts from all colleges attended.

  • Location: Bemidji, Minnesota
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Expected Time to Completion: Two semesters
  • Estimated Tuition: $5,346 total

Moraine Park Technical College

Moraine Park Technical College offers an online technical diploma in medical coding. All courses in this program are offered online and transferable into Moraine Park Technical College’s associate of applied science degree in health information technology. The program provides students with entry-level coding opportunities.

Graduates of this program become eligible to sit for the national CCA (Clinical Coding Associate) certification exam through the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association). Students can also opt to take the American Health Information Management Association’s CCS (National Clinical Coding Specialist) examination. However, it is recommended that students have at least two years of experience with coding before taking this CCS examination.

Admission requirements include completing the online application, submitting official high school (or college) transcripts, sending ACT scores or taking the Moraine Park Technical College’s placement exam (students with a 3.25 GPA in high school or at least an associate degree can waive this requirement), and proof of proficiency in the English language for international students.

​The program comprises 29​ credit-hours. Some of the topics include medical terminology, human diseases for the health professions, ICD diagnosis coding, basic anatomy, digital literacy for healthcare, intermediate coding, healthcare reimbursement, and CPT coding.

Students become adept at gathering health data, using electronic applications for supporting data collection and coding, reviewing medical documentation provided by healthcare providers, and assigning procedural and diagnostic codes using universally recognized coding systems.

Graduates of the program will be prepared to work as hospital outpatient coders, charge master auditors, ambulatory coders, acute care coders, physician specialty coders, insurance claims clerks, and other positions focused on data analysis or coding.

  • Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $204.75 per credit-hour

Central Maine Community College

Central Maine Community College offers an online associate in applied science degree in medical coding and electronic health records as well as a certificate in medical coding and electronic health records. Both degrees can be completed entirely online.

The associate in applied science in medical coding and electronic health records prepares students to become proficient in coding systems, computing common healthcare statistics, quality improvement standards, and patient privacy issues. The certificate in medical coding and electronic health records trains students to handle specialized classification, record-keeping, and data entry related to treatment, medical diagnostic, insurance documentation, and billing.

Admission requirements for the program include a completed application form, official high school transcripts for all years attended or official GED test scores, official college transcript(s) from all colleges (if attended), documentation of all program prerequisites, and international students are encouraged to submit TOEFL scores.

The AAS degree consists of 62 to 63 credit-hours and the certificate consists of 32 to 33 credit-hours. Courses in the AAS degree include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, health information technology, CPT coding, and ICD coding. The certificate program includes courses such as introduction to computer applications, medical specialties and pathophysiology, CPT coding, ICD coding, and insurance coding/claim processing.

Through these programs, students learn how to apply industry standard coding guidelines to patient medical records, use electronic health records software, recognize factors that affect third-party reimbursement, and outline the responsibilities of a medical coder. The program opens up several opportunities for graduates in hospitals, physician practices, clinics, surgery centers, home health agencies, and long-term healthcare facilities.

  • Location: Auburn, Maine
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: AAS (24 months), certificate (12 months)
  • Estimated Tuition: $94 per credit-hour

Indian Hills Community College

Indian Hills Community College offers a 100 percent online diploma in medical and insurance coding. This has been approved by the PCAP Council (Professional Certificate Approval Program).

Students learn to organize patient care information, analyze and evaluate health information, and assign code related to procedures and diagnoses.

The major admission requirements for the program include completing an IHCC application, submitting high school transcripts or high school equivalency diploma scores, and taking the ACT, SAT or ACCUPLACER test.

​Comprising 45​ credit-hours, the curriculum delves into basic anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, the essentials of health records, health law and ethics, ICD-10 diagnostic coding, reimbursement methods, CPT coding, and practical coding application.

Students learn about official coding guidelines and reimbursement methodologies, medical terminology, disease processes, anatomy and physiology, and signs and symptoms, in addition to the multiple classifications and nomenclatures used in the coding process. Students also become adept at identifying discrepancies between supporting documentation and coded data. At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities in medical offices, hospitals, or other medical facilities.

  • Location: Ottumwa, Iowa
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $11,280 (out-of-state)

Northland Community and Technical College

Northland Community and Technical College offers an online associate in applied science (AAS) in medical coding degree. This medical coding specialist program trains students in procedures related to billing for medical services, including medical insurance claim processing, diagnosis and procedure coding, and patient account management. The program faculty includes dedicated and experienced professionals.

​Consisting of 60​ credit-hours, the program’s curriculum explores topics such as ​medical billing/insurance, CPT/HCPCS coding, ICD coding, medical coding ethics, inpatient billing, medical terminology and pathophysiology.

The program teaches students how to use medical terminology in all healthcare applications, utilize appropriate technologies for healthcare applications, accurately interpret healthcare records, manage and prepare records according to healthcare standards, and perform procedure coding and diagnosis accurately.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates can work in healthcare settings such as clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, and dental offices, as well as in public health organizations, insurance companies, and government agencies. Graduates of this program may be eligible to take one of the national coding certification exams.

Admission requirements for the program include completing and submitting an online application, an official high school transcript or GED, official transcripts from all schools, and an immunization form.

  • Location: Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 18 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $11,940

Professors to Know in Medical Billing & Coding programs

Gloria Anderson teaches health informatics and information management at Shoreline Community College in Washington state. Some of the classes she teaches include the legal aspects of healthcare, basic ICD-10 coding, CPT coding, intermediate medical coding, survey of healthcare delivery, and medical reimbursement systems.

Professor Anderson also brings real-world experience in healthcare settings to the classroom. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) and completed her MEd at Antioch University and her BS at Northeastern University.

Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani Writer

Farheen Gani is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).