2022 Best Online Medical Billing & Coding Certificate Programs

By Seph Anderson | Updated 6/21/2022
2022 Best Online Certificates in Medical Billing & Coding Badge

Medical coding and billing are administrative processes that ensure the smooth operation of healthcare facilities by translating patient medical records into standardized codes. Medical records and health information specialists — who typically have medical billing and coding certificates — earn a median annual salary of $45,240 in a field projected to grow by 9% over the next decade. Read about the best online colleges for certificates in this field below, or explore a similar program in the same field.

View our methodology for more details about rankings or learn more about OnlineU.

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2022 Best Online Medical Billing & Coding Certificate Programs

RankSchool Salary Score Median Starting Salary
# 1 #1 McLennan Community College 100 $77,234
# 2 #2 Madison Area Technical College 99 $41,102
# 3 #3 Santa Barbara City College 98 $40,140
# 4 #4 Fisher College 97 $38,558
# 5 #5 Gwinnett Technical College 97 $38,481
# 6 #6 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College 84 $32,688
# 8 #8 Sullivan University 81 $31,929
# 9 #9 Moraine Park Technical College 80 $31,512
# 10 #10 Northcentral Technical College 75 $30,525

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2022 Online Colleges Offering Certificate Degrees

Ranking Details

#1 McLennan Community College

  • Salary Score: 100
  • Median Starting Salary: $77,234
  • Locations: Waco (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

McLennan Community College (MCC) is a medium-sized, public institution. MCC offers an online Certificate of Completion in Health Information Technology Coding Specialist requiring 32 credit hours. This program is fully online but requires 112 hours of in-person clinical instruction at a clinical site. Some core classes for this certificate include Health Information Systems, Coding & Insurance, and Health Data Content & Structure. Once this two year program is completed, graduates may go on to work in hospitals, health agencies, medical clinics, and other health care settings.

At MCC, students use Brightspace to access their online coursework, which is fully online except for some in-person clinical hours.

#2 Madison Area Technical College

  • Salary Score: 99
  • Median Starting Salary: $41,102
  • Locations: Madison (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Madison Area Technical College (MATC) is a medium-sized, public institution that offers both an online Technical Diploma in Medical Billing Specialist, requiring 28 credit hours, and an online Technical Diploma in Medical Coding Specialist that requires 35 credit hours. MATC’s programs focus on the business and technical side of health care. Faculty prepare graduates to work as outpatient coders, analysts, patient accounts specialists, and billing customer service representatives. Some core classes for these diplomas include Digital Literacy for Health care, Management of Coding Services, and Medical Administrative Procedures. These programs can be completed in two years with a full-time schedule.

At MATC, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is fully online and asynchronous. MATC has online-live seminars for students who want to talk directly to other students in their program.

#3 Santa Barbara City College

  • Salary Score: 98
  • Median Starting Salary: $40,140
  • Locations: Santa Barbara (CA)
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC

Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is a medium-sized, public institution. It offers an online Certificate of Achievement in Medical Coding Specialist requiring 38 credit hours. SBCC teaches students to apply biomedical knowledge to clinical code, analyze data to improve care, and apply organizational standards to data storage, retrieval, and security. This program can be completed in one to two years, including classes such as Legal Aspects of Health Care, CPT Procedural Coding, and Pharmacology for Allied Health. There is also an in-person, hands-on practicum that provides professional experience before graduates enter the workplace.

At SBCC, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is asynchronous.

#4 Fisher College

  • Salary Score: 97
  • Median Starting Salary: $38,558
  • Locations: Boston (MA)
  • Accreditation: NECHE

Fisher College (FC) is a small, private institution. FC offers an online Certificate in Medical Coding, which requires 37-39 credits. This program prepares graduates to work in hospitals, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, insurance, and more. Some core classes for this certificate include Healthcare Reimbursement Methodologies, Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, and Medical Terminology. This program prepares graduates to become Certified Coding Associates (CCA) and Certified Coding Specialists (CCS).

At FC, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is fully online and asynchronous.

#5 Gwinnett Technical College

  • Salary Score: 97
  • Median Starting Salary: $38,481
  • Locations: Lawrenceville (GA) (and 1 other)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Gwinnett Technical College (GTC) is a medium-sized, public institution. GTC offers an online Certificate in Medical Billing Clerk, which requires 20 credit hours. GTC’s program focuses on critical office and technology skills and teaches students to use a wide range of hardware, software, and services. Some core classes for this certificate include Medical Office Billing/Coding/Insurance, Records Management, and Medical Terminology for Allied Health Sciences. This program can be completed in two to three semesters with a full-time schedule, and graduates go on to work as administrative assistants, medical insurance coders, and MS office specialists.

At GTC, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is entirely online.

#6 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

  • Salary Score: 84
  • Median Starting Salary: $32,688
  • Locations: Fennimore (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (SWTC) is a small, public institution. SWTC offers an online Technical Diploma in Medical Coding Specialist, which requires 33-34 credit hours. This diploma program prepares students for employment as an outpatient coder, medical coding specialist, claims analyst, and more. Some core classes in this program are Health Revenue Management, Digital Literacy for Healthcare, and Medical Terminology. This program can be completed in one to two years with a full-time schedule.

At SWTC, students use Schoology to access their coursework, which is entirely online and asynchronous.

#8 Sullivan University

  • Salary Score: 81
  • Median Starting Salary: $31,929
  • Locations: Louisville (KY)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Sullivan University (SU) is a medium-sized, private institution. It offers an online Certificate in Medical Coding that requires 36 credit hours and can be completed in nine months with a full-time schedule. Courses for this certificate include Advanced Medical Coding, Health Information Technology, and Pathophysiology with Pharmacology. SU graduates go on to work at doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, insurance companies, and medical billing agencies.

At SU, students use Blackboard to access their online coursework, which is fully online.

#9 Moraine Park Technical College

  • Salary Score: 80
  • Median Starting Salary: $31,512
  • Locations: Fond du Lac (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) is a medium-sized, public institution that offers an online Technical Diploma in Medical Coding Specialist, which requires 31 credit hours and two semesters. In about a year, students can learn how to review medical documentation and translate it into an alphanumeric classification system. Some core classes in this program include Healthcare Revenue Management, Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding, and Medical Terminology. Graduates of this program go on to work as hospital outpatient coders, charge master auditors, and insurance claims clerk, among other things.

At MPTC, students use Canvas to access their coursework which is entirely online and asynchronous.

#10 Northcentral Technical College

  • Salary Score: 75
  • Median Starting Salary: $30,525
  • Locations: Wausau (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Northcentral Technical College (NTC) is a medium-sized, public institution. NTC offers an online Technical Diploma in Medical Coding Specialist that requires 29 credit hours. Students can complete the online diploma in one to two years. NTC graduates work as coding specialists in health care facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, consulting firms, and governmental agencies. Some core classes in this program are Digital Literacy for Healthcare, Foundations of HIM, and Healthcare Revenue Management.

At NTC, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is all online and asynchronous.

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Overview of Online Medical Billing & Coding Certificate Programs

Medical coding and billing certificate programs are characteristically hands-on and practical. They help students develop basic typing and word-processing skills as well as familiarity with technology in general. Students will use technology to navigate electronic health records, including software applications and healthcare informatics.



To enter either field, you'll need either a certificate or associate degree in medical billing or coding, either of which you can earn online.

Medical coders gather patient information, such as medical history, symptoms, diagnostic tests, and examination results. Then, they process these records with discretion into standardized numeric codes, which allows billers to send insurance companies reimbursement claims. These two job functions — coder and biller — may overlap in smaller healthcare facilities, where coders may also be expected to work on billing.

To enter either field, you'll need either a certificate or associate degree in medical billing or coding, either of which you can earn online. Students who opt for certificates will learn about medical terminology, code systems, healthcare administration, healthcare information privacy laws and procedures, billing, and bookkeeping fundamentals. The most affordable certificate programs are usually offered through community or technical colleges, but a number of four-year colleges also feature online certificates.

Educational Requirements for Online Medical Billing and Coding Certificates

Because medical coding and billing careers only require certificates, they often appeal to individuals who don't have the time, finances, or desire to pursue associate or bachelor’s degrees. Whether you are enrolled online or in-person, certificate programs are typically designed to take 27-30 credit hours. This works out to 9-12 months of full-time study. Additionally, these certificate programs require only a high school diploma or GED.

Cost of Online Medical Billing and Coding Certificates

One potential benefit of online certificate programs is that they usually cost less than comparable in-person higher education degrees because schools can enroll more distance learners without making costly infrastructure upgrades to their campuses. However, online students may still need to pay certain fees in addition to a program's overall cost. They will also have to buy books and other supplies, which may include coding and billing software.

Prospective students may find it cost-effective to enroll in an online certificate program in their state, which would allow them to qualify for state-funded financial aid. Some states may also award scholarships or grants to residents pursuing certificates, but they must attend an in-state school to be eligible.

Continuing Education

For those interested in continuing their education after earning the core medical billing and coding certification, there are specialized industry certifications and advanced degree programs to consider.

When researching programs, only consider certificate programs offered through accredited institutions. Accreditation signifies that a school meets high academic standards and only hires qualified instructors. To determine whether a certificate-granting institution is accredited, you can review the database for the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

In addition to specialty certifications, there are bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs in medical billing and coding to consider. Prospective students can check a college's regional accreditation status through one of the bodies that comprise the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Industry Certifications

Students interested in niche areas of medical billing and coding can choose from over 20 specialty certification programs. Through these programs, students can become a certified Ambulatory Surgery Center Coder, Certified Family Practice Coder, Certified Rheumatology Coder, and more. Because billing and coding graduates have so many choices of certifications, it's important to discuss the options with faculty and professionals currently working in the field.

Several professional organizations provide specialty certifications for medical coders and billers, so it can be difficult to know which one to obtain. Each group has different requirements for its certifications, but most require students to graduate from an accredited coding or billing program, work a set amount of time in the field, and join the organization as a dues-paying member.

We've detailed the two largest certification organizations below:

  • The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) has 200,000 members and offers one biller certification and six coder certifications. AAPC exam requirements include current AAPC membership and two years of coding or billing experience for its entry-level credentials. An associate degree is recommended but not required. 
  • The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the second-largest medical coding and biller certification body, with 103,000 members. It provides three certification options. First, AHIMA offers a Certified Coding Associate credential for professionals with at least six months of experience. It also offers two Certified Coding Specialist credentials for those with at least two years of experience.

Advanced Degree Programs

In health information technology (HIT) associate degree programs, IT skills are applied to medical records management, medical billing, transcription, and medical coding. HIT degree programs can be a good choice for technically savvy students who are interested in coding but want a wider array of job opportunities.

While there aren’t any bachelor’s degree or master’s degree programs available in medical billing and coding, specifically, a number of related advanced degree programs can help you develop more comprehensive industry knowledge. Bachelor’s and master’s-level programs in areas such as business, finance, management, healthcare administration, health information technology, and human resources can help make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.

Career Opportunities in Medical Billing and Coding

Although "medical coder" and "medical biller" are generic titles for some jobs in the healthcare industry, the range of actual titles and duties can vary depending on an employee's certifications, workplace setting, and amount of experience. For more detailed information about career prospects for medical billing and coding graduates, see our article that focuses on salary and career outlooks in this field.

In general, the most recent AAPC member survey shows that the biggest bump in pay comes when coders/billers earn either a certificate or associate degree. Furthermore, the survey shows that those who work in large health or hospital systems earn the most.

FAQs about Online Medical Billing and Coding Certificates

What Are the Prerequisites for Medical Billing and Coding Certificates?

In an online certificate program through a college, a high school diploma or GED is often the only requirement. Depending on the school, you may also need to show SAT or ACT scores at a certain level and/or a minimum GPA. Additionally, colleges may request some prerequisite courses.

For industry certifications, on the other hand, you must have at least one year of professional medical coding experience. You can pass with a certification exam score of 70% or greater, and then 12 hours of continuing education is required each year to subsequently maintain the certification.

What Skills Will I Learn in a Medical Billing and Coding Certificate Program?

In a medical billing and coding certificate program, you’ll develop important career-based skills related to billing, medical terminology, health insurance, legal policies, and more.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Medical Biller and Coder?

The amount of time it takes to become a medical biller and coder varies from one individual to the next. Certificate programs typically take less than a year to complete. However, you must also consider how many hours of professional work experience your certification requires. The last thing to consider is how much time you need to study before taking the certification exam.

Is It Worth It to Get a Medical Billing and Coding Certificate Online?

Online education, as opposed to traditional in-person education, offers an unsurpassed level of educational accessibility and flexibility to everyone from recent high school graduates to full-time working professionals. Another potential advantage is that online learning can help prepare students for the unique discipline required to work online and independently. This is particularly beneficial to a student's success in their future career, as many coders and billers work remotely on a full-time basis.

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