What is medical coding?

Medical coding is the process of translating medical diagnoses and patient treatment information into numeric codes that insurance companies use to pay medical claims.

What should I look for in an online medical coding school?

The best online medical coding schools should possess either regional or national accreditation from an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition, you can often recognize top online medical coding schools based on:

  • The school's name and status
  • The school's history
  • Teacher credentials
  • Alumni network
In choosing the best online medical coding school for you, you should consider the following factors:
  • Admission requirements
  • Residency requirements
  • Class and teaching style
  • Testing methods used
  • Course content and presentation
  • Program length
  • Class size
  • Student-teacher interaction
  • Technology use
  • Tuition and financial aid
  • Transferability of credits
  • Availability of a dedicated administration team and resources

What levels of online medical coding programs are available?

The following levels of medical coding degree online programs are available:

  • Online Medical Coding Certificate Programs
  • Online Associates in Medical Coding
  • Online Bachelor in Medical Coding

How long does it take to get an online medical coding degree?

The amount of time it takes a student to earn an accredited online medical coding degree depends on the level of medical coding degree being pursued and the pace of the student.

Typically, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Online Medical Coding Certification Programs - 6 months to 1 year
  • Online Medical Coding Associates Degree - 2 years
  • Online Medical Coding Bachelor Degree - 4 years

What are some examples of online medical coding courses?

Top online medical coding degree programs offer practical training in the skills of medical record keeping, billing, and coding. Some courses include:

  • Introduction to Medical Recordkeeping
    This course is one foundation for the process of how to keep accurate, up-to-date, confidential medical records and how to coordinate coding systems with physician's notes about diagnosis and treatment.
  • Anatomy
    This is one of several courses that helps familiarize medical coders with the medical terminology and procedures that doctors commonly use to ensure accurate recording and coding.
  • Pharmacology
    This required course in pharmacology will supply medical coding students with information about prescriptions, common medical drugs, and technical and generic pharmaceutical brands to aid in coding patients' treatment medications.
  • Basic Coding Language
    Basic and advanced coding language classes teach students the main coding terminology, coding language systems such as ICD-9 and CPT-4 and how to accurately record medical codes on patient charts for billing and administrative purposes.
  • Medical Billing Administration
    Medical billing is a related subject often combined with medical coding in online degree programs. For online medical coding school students, learning office management and the administrative billing process puts the skills of medical coding into the professional office context.

What areas of medical coding specialization are available?

Although medical coding is itself a specialization within health care administration services, top online medical coding degree programs allow students to concentrate their studies in:

  • Emergency Room Coding
  • General Hospital Coding
  • Cancer/Tumor Registry
  • Medicaid/Medicare Coding Systems
  • Mental Health Coding
  • Public Health Coding
  • Geriatric Coding
  • Cardiac Procedure Coding

What can I do with a medical coding degree?

The specific training of accredited online medical coding schools prepares graduates for immediate entry into medical office settings in a variety of medical coder jobs in public, local, and private health care settings. Popular medical coder jobs include:

  • Residential Care Facility Medical Records Coder
  • Hospital Administrative Medical Coder
  • Physician's Office Administrative Medical Coder
  • Medical Information Technician
  • Public Health Information Coder
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Insurance Billing Staff

What is a medical coder?

A medical coder, medical coding specialist, or medical records coder is a member of the administrative team in an inpatient or outpatient medical facility who is responsible for accurately recording actions of a patient's medical treatment according to medical billing code language.

What does a medical coder do?

A certified medical coder collects data from doctor's notes, patient information, diagnostic orders, and laboratory prescriptions and organizes these into the database of medical records for the medical facility. A career in medical coding requires attention to detail and a reliable character as medical coders work daily with sensitive information, translating medical terminology into coding language and reviewing patients' medical files to ensure accurate billing and payments. Medical coders will increasingly use electronic health records (EHR) software to effectively track, analyze, and maintain accurate medical coding records.

How much does a medical coder earn?

The most common medical coding jobs are in hospitals and medical offices, which provide an average salary between $26,200 and $42,760 for medical coding specialists per year. With additional certifications, streamlined health records software systems and the rise of outpatient care facilities, medical coders may find higher salaries as well as more available jobs in the next eight years. A medical coding career is one of the fastest growing job markets, with an expected 20% increase in employment opportunities.

How do I become a medical coder?

Top online medical coding degrees offer the first stage of training for becoming a medical coder. Although the process of how to become a medical coder may seem to end with completing one of the best online medical coding degree programs, adding available voluntary certifications from any of four professional coding organizations can boost a medical coding career and salary. American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), Board of Medical Specialty Coding (BMSC), and American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) all offer credentials after an accredited online medical coding degree and examinations in medical coding specialties. Additionally, the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) certifies tumor registrars (CTR) to work with research and tracking via medical coding for the cancer registry.

Medical Coding Schools (Campus)

SchoolCertificateAssociatesBachelorsMastersPhD
University of Phoenix-Online Campus
3157 E. Elwood Street
Phoenix, AZ, 85034
http://www.uopxonline.com
X
Houston Community College
3100 Main Street
Houston, TX, 77266
http://www.hccs.edu
X
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN, 55455
http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/index.php
X X
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
1400 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA, 98195
http://www.washington.edu
X X
Tarrant County College District
1500 Houston St
Fort Worth, TX, 76102
http://www.tccd.edu
X
Austin Community College District
5930 Middle Fiskville Rd
Austin, TX, 78752
http://www.austincc.edu
X
East Los Angeles College
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park, CA, 91754
http://www.elac.edu/index.htm
X
Salt Lake Community College
4600 S Redwood Rd
Salt Lake City, UT, 84123
http://www.slcc.edu
X
Excelsior College
7 Columbia Cir
Albany, NY, 12203
http://www.excelsior.edu
X
City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Ave
San Francisco, CA, 94112
http://www.ccsf.edu
X
University of California-Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA, 95616
http://www.ucdavis.edu
X
Colorado Technical University Online
4435 N Chestnut Suite E
Colorado Springs, CO, 80907
http://www.ctuonline.edu
X
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
425 University Blvd
Indianapolis, IN, 46202
http://www.iupui.edu
X
The University of Tennessee
527 Andy Holt Tower
Knoxville, TN, 37996
http://www.tennessee.edu
X
Cuyahoga Community College District
700 Carnegie Ave
Cleveland, OH, 44115
http://www.tri-c.edu
X
University of Utah
201 Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, UT, 84112
http://www.utah.edu
X X X
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Ave
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33314
http://www.nova.edu
X
University at Buffalo
3435 Main Street
Buffalo, NY, 14214
http://www.buffalo.edu
X
Columbus State Community College
550 E Spring St
Columbus, OH, 43215
http://www.cscc.edu
X
Oakland Community College
2480 Opdyke Rd
Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48304
http://www.oaklandcc.edu
X
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL, 60137
http://www.cod.edu
X
San Jacinto Community College
8060 Spencer Hwy
Pasadena, TX, 77501
http://www.sjcd.edu
X
Collin County Community College District
4800 Preston Park Blvd.
Plano, TX, 75093
http://www.collin.edu
X
Columbia University in the City of New York
116 St and Broadway
New York, NY, 10027
http://www.columbia.edu
X X X
The Community College of Baltimore County
7201 Rossville Blvd.
Baltimore, MD, 21237
http://www.ccbcmd.edu
X
Owens Community College
30335 Oregon Rd
Perrysburg, OH, 43551
http://www.owens.edu
X
Rio Hondo College
3600 Workman Mill Rd
Whittier, CA, 90601
http://www.riohondo.edu
X
Southwestern College
900 Otay Lakes Rd
Chula Vista, CA, 91910
http://www.swccd.edu
X X
Lansing Community College
419 N Capitol Ave
Lansing, MI, 48901
http://www.lansing.cc.mi.us
X
Wayne County Community College District
801 W Fort St
Detroit, MI, 48226
http://www.wcccd.edu
X X
Community College of Allegheny County
800 Allegheny Ave
Pittsburgh, PA, 15233
http://www.ccac.edu
X
Milwaukee Area Technical College
700 W State St
Milwaukee, WI, 53233
http://matc.edu
X
Northwestern University
633 Clark St
Evanston, IL, 60208
http://www.northwestern.edu
X
Santa Barbara City College
721 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA, 93109
http://www.sbcc.edu
X
Stanford University
450 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA, 94305
http://www.stanford.edu/
X X
College of Lake County
19351 W Washington St.
Grayslake, IL, 60030
http://WWW.CLCILLINOIS.EDU
X
Moraine Valley Community College
9000 W. College Parkway
Palos Hills, IL, 60465
http://www.morainevalley.edu
X
Community College of Rhode Island
400 East Ave
Warwick, RI, 2886
http://www.ccri.edu
X
Henry Ford Community College
5101 Evergreen Rd
Dearborn, MI, 48128
http://www.hfcc.edu
X
Blinn College
902 College Ave
Brenham, TX, 77833
http://www.blinn.edu
X
Cosumnes River College
8401 Center Parkway
Sacramento, CA, 95823
http://www.crc.losrios.edu/
X
Harper College
1200 W Algonquin Rd
Palatine, IL, 60067
http://www.harpercollege.edu
X
Rochester Institute of Technology
1 Lomb Memorial Dr
Rochester, NY, 14623
http://www.rit.edu/
X
Cypress College
9200 Valley View
Cypress, CA, 90630
http://www.cypresscollege.edu
X
Northern Kentucky University
Nunn Drive
Highland Heights, KY, 41099
http://www.nku.edu
X X
Chabot College
25555 Hesperian Blvd
Hayward, CA, 94545
http://www.chabotcollege.edu
X
Joliet Junior College
1215 Houbolt Rd
Joliet, IL, 60431
http://www.jjc.edu
X
Youngstown State University
One University Plaza
Youngstown, OH, 44555
http://www.ysu.edu
X
Southwestern Illinois College
2500 Carlyle Ave
Belleville, IL, 62221
http://www.swic.edu
X
Illinois Central College
One College Drive
East Peoria, IL, 61635
http://www.icc.edu
X
Schoolcraft College
18600 Haggerty Road
Livonia, MI, 48152
http://www.schoolcraft.edu
X
Clark College
1933 Fort Vancouver Way
Vancouver, WA, 98663
http://www.clark.edu
X
City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College
4300 N Narragansett
Chicago, IL, 60634
http://wright.ccc.edu/
X
Lane Community College
4000 E 30th Ave
Eugene, OR, 97405
http://www.Lanecc.edu
X
Delaware County Community College
901 S Media Line Rd
Media, PA, 19063
http://www.dccc.edu
X
Phoenix College
1202 W Thomas Rd
Phoenix, AZ, 85013
http://www.pc.maricopa.edu
X
Oakton Community College
1600 E Golf Rd.
Des Plaines, IL, 60016
http://www.oakton.edu
X
Cuesta College
Highway 1
San Luis Obispo, CA, 93403
http://WWW.CUESTA.EDU
X
Kalamazoo Valley Community College
6767 West O Ave
Kalamazoo, MI, 49003
http://www.kvcc.edu
X
Hinds Community College
505 East Main Street
Raymond, MS, 39154
http://www.hindscc.edu
X
Davenport University
6191 Kraft Avenue S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI, 49512
http://www.davenport.edu
X
Chattahoochee Technical College
980 S Cobb Drive Dr SE
Marietta, GA, 30060
http://www.chattahoocheetech.edu
X
Delta College
1961 Delta Road
Frankenlust Township, MI, 48710
http://www.delta.edu
X
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA, 15213
http://www.cmu.edu/
X
Northampton County Area Community College
3835 Green Pond Rd
Bethlehem, PA, 18020
http://www.northampton.edu
X
Tyler Junior College
1400 East Fifth Street
Tyler, TX, 75789
http://WWW.TJC.EDU
X
Bunker Hill Community College
250 New Rutherford Ave
Boston, MA, 2129
http://www.bhcc.mass.edu
X
Bucks County Community College
275 Swamp Rd
Newtown, PA, 18940
http://www.bucks.edu
X
St Philips College
1801 Martin Luther King Dr
San Antonio, TX, 78203
http://www.alamo.edu/spc/
X
Waubonsee Community College
Rte 47 at Waubonsee Drive
Sugar Grove, IL, 60554
http://www.waubonsee.edu
X
Fox Valley Technical College
1825 N Bluemound Dr
Appleton, WI, 54912
http://www.fvtc.edu
X
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
3520 Central Parkway
Cincinnati, OH, 45223
http://www.cincinnatistate.edu
X
City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College
7500 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL, 60652
http://daley.ccc.edu/daley.aspx
X
Everest University-Brandon
3924 Coconut Palm Dr
Tampa, FL, 33619
http://www.everest.edu/campus/brandon
X
United Education Institute-Huntington Park Campus
6055 Pacific Blvd.
Huntington Park, CA, 90255
X
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
2740 W Mason St
Green Bay, WI, 54307
http://www.nwtc.edu
X
Butler Community College
901 S Haverhill Rd
El Dorado, KS, 67042
http://www.butlercc.edu/
X
New Mexico State University-Dona Ana
3400 S Espina
Las Cruces, NM, 88003
http://dabcc.nmsu.edu/
X
Everett Community College
2000 Tower Street
Everett, WA, 98201
http://www.everettcc.edu
X
Yavapai College
1100 E Sheldon St
Prescott, AZ, 86301
http://www.YC.EDU
X
Saint Louis Community College-Forest Park
5600 Oakland Ave
St. Louis, MO, 63110
http://www.stlcc.edu
X
Green River Community College
12401 SE 320th St
Auburn, WA, 98092
http://www.greenriver.edu/
X
Mountain View College
4849 W Illinois
Dallas, TX, 75211
http://www.dcccd.edu
X
Lewis and Clark Community College
5800 Godfrey Rd
Godfrey, IL, 62035
http://www.lc.edu
X
Lehigh Carbon Community College
4525 Education Park Dr
Schnecksville, PA, 18078
http://www.lccc.edu
X
North Shore Community College
1 Ferncroft Rd
Danvers, MA, 1923
http://www.northshore.edu
X
Lake Land College
5001 Lake Land Blvd
Mattoon, IL, 61938
http://www.lakeland.cc.il.us
X
Massasoit Community College
One Massasoit Boulevard
Brockton, MA, 2302
http://www.massasoit.mass.edu
X
Everest University-South Orlando
9200 Soutpark Center Loop
Orlando, FL, 32819
http://www.everest.edu/campus/south_orlando
X
Waukesha County Technical College
800 Main Street
Pewaukee, WI, 53072
http://www.wctc.edu
X
Jackson Community College
2111 Emmons Rd
Jackson, MI, 49201
http://www.jccmi.edu
X
Lincoln Land Community College
5250 Shepherd Rd
Springfield, IL, 62794
http://www.llcc.edu
X
Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington
400 Stanton-Christiana Rd
Newark, DE, 19702
http://www.dtcc.edu/stanton-wilmington/
X
Spokane Community College
1810 North Greene Street
Spokane, WA, 99217
http://www.scc.spokane.edu
X
West Georgia Technical College
176 Murphy Campus Blvd.
Waco, GA, 30182
http://www.westgatech.edu
X
Canada College
4200 Farm Hill Blvd.
Redwood City, CA, 94061
http://canadacollege.edu
X
South Suburban College
15800 South State Street
South Holland, IL, 60473
http://www.ssc.edu/
X
Baker College of Flint
1050 West Bristol Road
Flint, MI, 48507
http://www.baker.edu
X
Luzerne County Community College
1333 South Prospect Street
Nanticoke, PA, 18634
http://www.luzerne.edu
X
Westmoreland County Community College
145 Pavilion Lane
Youngwood, PA, 15697
http://wccc.edu
X

Schools by State

Best Cities for Medical Coding Schools