How to Get an Online Medical Billing Coding Certificate

Medical billing and coding specialists are an integral part of any successful medical facility. For students, it is an appealing endeavor as these are the two fastest growing jobs in the health sector. According to The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a projected growth in the field of up to 13% by year 2026. With an average pay of up to $40,000 per year, no wonder more and more students are interested in the budding field. We break down the courses, explore how to attain an online certificate in medical billing and coding and finally highlight competitive certification programs available online.

Medical billing and coding professionals review medical records and establish the diagnoses and procedures that a patient had.  Usually, graduates of an online medical billing and coding certificate work with insurance firms, patients or government authorities when dealing with claims or reimbursements. Additionally, they prepare invoices, code medical procedures and send bills out to patients. Coders are tasked with translating medical services into readable codes.

A certificate in medical billing and coding is perfect for individuals interested in joining the fast-paced medical field or those trying to advance their career in the field. Moreover, the online certificate course fits people on the lookout for a quick career change. In normal settings, the certification takes about one year to compete. The self-paced nature of most programs makes it possible for students to complete the course at their convenience.


Even though the application processes for medical billing and coding certificate may differ from institution to institution, you will need to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent with a GPO of 2.0 or higher. An associate degree in a related field may also come in handy. Notably, online certificate programs allow you to send your application just a few weeks before the course starts. Additionally, you may be required to present transcripts from any relevant coursework completed before. Often, you will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee while dropping off the application papers.

Medical billing and coding certification online is often broken down into:

Fundamentals of Human Anatomy and Physiology with Lab

This is the first stop for most online medical billing and coding certificate courses. Students are taken through a comprehensive breakdown of body structures and functions. You should expect to breakdown cell structures and functionality. By the end of this introductory unit, students are able to understand the different relationships among body systems.


Here, a student is equipped with knowledge of common human diseases and they get to explore the various therapies used to treat these. There’s emphasis on the disease etiology and symptoms. Students also learn diagnostic measures where dosage is also explained.

International Classification of Diseases

Students go through the principals, guidelines, definitions of terms used in the international classification of diseases. Students go through the anatomy and code structure of body systems. Moderators usually introduce coding references and ethics at this point.

Current Procedural Terminology Coding with Lab

This section builds up on the classification systems. Students are taken through CPT -4 and older versions of procedural terminologies.

Types of Medical Billing and Coding Certification Available Online

Certified Professional Coder (CPC)

This is the most recognized medical coding certification currently. This comprises understanding code sets used in the healthcare industry.

Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)

Emphasis here is on understanding terminologies, payment methodologies and codes used in the outpatient setup. Specialists with this certification are set to work in surgical centers, coding departments and outpatient billing departments.

Certified Professional Biller (CPB)

Emphasis is on understanding the overall revenue cycle. Training is intended to get specialists to hone their reimbursement filing skills.

Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA)

Certification here means the specialist understands the record and documentation guidelines. They aim at ensuring the health care facility where they work not only complies to the medical standards when it comes to coding and billing but also that the establishment remains profitable.

Certified Physician Practice Manger (CPPM)

Specialists with this certificate are well-versed in medical reforms, medical office accounting and facets of physical practice management.

Certified Professional Compliance Officer (CPCO)

Those holding this certificate ensure compliance of healthcare regulations and prevention of Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Tips for choosing where to get your certificate

  • Ensure that the course is accredited. Quality is of concern for anyone looking to pursue any online course. Check whether the certificate course is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIM).
  • Go for institutions that will equip you in CPT, ICD-9 and HCPCS manuals by the end of the program.
  • Look for an online course that will prepare you to sit for the Certified Professional Coder from American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

With advancement in the field, medical billing and coding certificate has not only become lucrative but also the standards have become progressively complex. Hopefully, this will help guide you on how to get a medical billing and coding certificate online and choosing an online certificate that will equip you to deal with treatment records, assign codes to diagnose patients and work with insurance companies on claims.