Compare School Options

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Accurate medical coding and billing ensure patients receive the care they need, and insurance companies can expedite insurance claims. Earning an online medical billing and coding certificate gives students the skills and knowledge they need to pursue jobs in this important and fast-growing field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the employment of medical record specialists will increase by 8% through 2032. The median annual salary for these jobs is $47,180. This position also sets individuals up to advance in the healthcare administration field to roles like health information technologists and health services managers.

The cost and number of required credits for medical billing and coding certificate programs vary widely. Most programs selected for this list require 20-30 credit hours, and their average per-credit tuition rate is $234.

How to Choose an Online Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding Program

Choose your area of study

A post-secondary certificate is the minimum level of education required to qualify for most medical coding and billing jobs. However, some schools offer associate or bachelor’s degrees in the subject, which you may also want to consider. Even if you don’t want to pursue a full degree at this time, attending a certificate program that allows you to apply credits towards a degree can save you time and money later.

You’ll also want to think about what type of professional certifications you’ll seek after completing your certificate program. The primary organizations that offer professional certifications in medical coding and billing include the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), and the Practice Management Institute (PMI). Many medical coding and billing certificate programs design their curriculums to meet the educational requirements for these professional certifications, so look for a program that aligns with the certification you seek.

Lastly, now is a good time to think about your logistical needs. Will you enroll in a program full-time or part-time? Do you need an asynchronous program with coursework you can complete entirely on your own schedule, or do you prefer a synchronous program with virtual class meetings? Setting these parameters will help you narrow your search once you explore programs.

Research schools and programs

Once you establish your parameters, you can begin researching programs. Most schools publish essential program information on their website, including cost, curriculum, start terms and enrollment procedures, and student outcomes. You can also contact the school’s admissions office to speak to an admissions counselor or program representative or participate in virtual information sessions or open houses.

A key piece of information to gather is the school’s accreditation status. In the U.S., all public and most private 2- and 4-year institutions are regionally accredited, while trade schools and career colleges tend to have national accreditation. Both types of accreditation are valid, but attending a regionally accredited school gives students more flexibility to transfer credits between schools and is typically valued more by employers. A school’s accreditation status can also impact a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid. Students can check their school’s accreditation status via the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) database.

Prepare for applications

Individual schools and programs establish their own policies and procedures for admissions and enrollment. To get the most accurate information about how to apply to a medical billing and coding certificate program, speak to an admissions representative.

Some programs require an application, while others allow students to enroll directly without applying first. A standard application for an online certificate in medical coding and billing includes:

  • Completed application and fee
  • Official high school transcript
  • Resume or CV
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • SAT or ACT scores

Select your program

Once you’ve collected enough research to make an informed decision, compare programs based on your priorities to determine which best meets your goals and personal needs. If multiple programs seem like a good fit, you can apply to all of them and choose based on where you are accepted.

Some things to consider when comparing programs are curriculum, faculty qualifications and areas of expertise, cost, available financial aid, course delivery method, and completion time.

Determine how you’ll pay for your certificate

If you still need to speak with a financial aid counselor to get specific information on tuition costs and available financial aid resources, now is a good time to do so. Also, confirm that the certificate program is eligible for federal financial aid, like student loans, grants, and work-study. Not all certificate programs are eligible for this type of financial support, so it’s important to clarify this before proceeding.

If your program is eligible for federal student aid, the next step is to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools use this information to determine your eligibility for need-based aid like federal student loans, grants, scholarships, and more. You can also explore merit-based aid resources, like scholarships from your school, private organizations, non-profit foundations, or community groups.

Students working while earning an online graduate certificate should inquire with their employer to see if they can receive tuition assistance benefits.

Best 50 Accredited Online Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding Programs

Best Online Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding Programs Badge

Herzing University

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Kirtland Community College

West Georgia Technical College

Black Hawk College

Madison Area Technical College

Central Maine Community College

Santa Barbara City College

Fisher College

Delaware County Community College

Northwest Technical College

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

Butler County Community College

Pittsburgh Technical College

Rowan College at Burlington County

Georgia Piedmont Technical College

Moraine Park Technical College

Montgomery County Community College

Northcentral Technical College

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

Most of the programs on our list award a certificate in medical billing and coding or a certificate in medical coding. There are also programs that award a certificate in medical coding and insurance. All our options can be completed entirely online, but a few have hybrid delivery formats as well.

To ensure the quality and rigor of the certificate programs on our list, we only considered accredited schools at the national or regional level. Common accreditations include those by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and the student resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect From an Online Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding Program

Medical records specialists are responsible for keeping track of patient information in databases used by healthcare networks, health insurance companies, and others. Medical coders require knowledge of specialized coding systems and qualities like attention to detail, analytical thinking, and an aptitude for working with numbers.

An online medical billing and coding certificate introduces students to the various coding systems and procedures they’ll use in professional settings like hospitals, physicians’ offices, clinics, and more. In addition to technical skills, students will learn about laws and regulations governing confidentiality and healthcare systems, gain familiarity with health insurance companies and policies, and master formulas for calculating reimbursements.

Many programs also include an experiential learning component, such as an internship, allowing students hands-on experience. Even if coursework is delivered online, the program may require students to complete this part of the curriculum in person. Students should verify any in-person requirements and confirm they can accommodate them before enrolling in a program.

Depending on the program, students will complete their coursework synchronously, meeting virtually at regularly scheduled times, or asynchronously, meaning students complete lessons and assignments according to their own schedule, with no set class meetings. Students who prefer to learn through discussion and interaction may choose a synchronous program. Those who need maximum flexibility may find an asynchronous program works best for them.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online certificate in medical billing and coding program

  • Medical Coding: A foundational course that introduces students to medical coding principles and practices. Usually follows the guidance of one of the professional certification bodies, such as the AAPC or AHIMA.
  • Advanced Medical Coding: Covers advanced medical coding skills and practices once students have established a basic understanding of medical coding.
  • Medical Billing and Insurance: Gives students an overview of all the components needed to successfully manage the medical insurance claims process in various healthcare settings, including inpatient and outpatient hospitals and outpatient physician offices.
  • Medical Office Procedures: Introduces students to tasks performed by administrative personnel in medical settings. Topics include healthcare careers, legal and ethical responsibilities, medical appointments, telephone techniques, medical records management, medical office management, and more.
  • U.S. Healthcare Systems: Studies the historical development of the healthcare delivery system in the U.S. and gives students an understanding of the role of the health information professional.

Online Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding Programs Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online certificate in medical billing and coding program?

First, determine if the program requires an application or if students can enroll directly. If it’s a direct enrollment program, students typically need to complete an enrollment form, show proof of a high school diploma or GED, and submit a registration deposit.

A standard online medical billing and coding certification program application typically requires official transcripts from previously attended schools, a resume or CV, a personal statement, a letter of recommendation, and SAT or ACT scores.

Students should also be mindful of application deadlines and start terms. Some programs offer multiple start dates throughout the year, while others only admit new students once or twice a year. Missing application deadlines can delay the start of your program.

How much does an online certificate in medical billing and coding program cost?

The cost of an online certificate in medical billing and coding varies widely. For example, of the programs on our list, the least expensive charges $46 per credit hour, while the most expensive charges $446. The total number of credit hours a program requires will impact the overall cost, as will factors like whether the institution is public or private and whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student at a public college.

It’s also important to remember that financial aid like scholarships, loans, grants, and employer tuition assistance benefits will impact the total amount you pay out of pocket. Students should also be aware that there may be other fees they have to pay for online classroom technology or resources in addition to tuition.

How long does it take to earn an online certificate in medical billing and coding?

The number of required credits and the program’s pace determine how long it takes to complete an online medical billing and coding certificate. The required number of credits for programs on this list ranges from 15 to 57. Some programs can be completed in as little as six months of full-time study, while others may take up to two years. Also, students who attend classes part-time will typically take longer to finish their program than those who attend full-time.

Compare School Options

Related Degrees