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Online Medical Coding Certificates and Diplomas: Program Overviews

Learn about online diploma and certificate programs with medical coding courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

Medical coding diploma and certificate programs can be completed entirely online at many different institutions. There are also hybrid programs available for students who prefer to receive on-campus instruction in addition to online classes. Some programs may require the use of medical office simulation software.

Students enrolled in an online medical coding program learn about third-party insurance reimbursement, national medical codes, medical ethics and medical office operations. Programs may prepare graduates for various coding certification designations, including the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant. There are typically no prerequisites needed to start the certificate or diploma program.

Medical Coding Certificate or Diploma

In order to be properly reimbursed by insurance companies, medical offices must submit properly coded documentation of services provided. Medical coding certificate and diploma programs train students in recognizing and applying the codes that correspond to specific procedures. In addition to coding, these programs are intensive in oral and written communications and medical terminology. Programs are widely available, and there are usually no prerequisites other than a high school diploma or its GED equivalent.

Information and Requirements

Online medical coding programs may be completed in one year or less, allowing students to quickly enter the workforce. Distance learning classes in medical coding use virtual classroom software, multimedia presentations and email.

In order to successfully participate in online medical coding classes, students must have an active email account, high-speed Internet access and updated computer hardware and software. Students might be required to install Medical Office Simulation Software (MOSS).

Course Topics

Besides medical coding, students enrolled in online medical coding certificate and diploma programs learn to properly greet clients, schedule appointments and perform basic bookkeeping functions.

Introductory Insurance

This distance learning medical coding course trains students in insurance processing, billing, reimbursement and insurance carriers. Students learn about worker's compensation, Medicare and Medicaid insurance.

Diagnostic Medical Coding

Students enrolled in this online medical coding class learn to extract codes from medical documents. Additional topics of study include guidelines by body system, conventions and layout.

Medical Office Procedures

This distance learning course introduces students to the daily financial operations of medical offices. Students learn accounting, office management and human resource procedures.


Career Information

Students who successfully complete an online medical coding certificate or diploma program might seek certification from the American Academy of Professional Coders, the Board of Medical Specialty Coding or the Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts faster than average job growth of 15% for medical records and health information technicians in the decade 2014-2024. According to PayScale.com, medical coders earned a median of $39,406 per year as of 2016. Credentialed coders might earn more than non-credentialed coders do.

Continuing Education Information

Students who have earned a certificate or diploma in medical coding might wish to further their education by enrolling in an associate's or bachelor's degree program in medical office management or health informatics. There are online options available in both fields.

In addition, students may enroll in online continuing education programs to become certified in ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, 10th edition), the coding system mandated by the Federal Government. These programs typically include all required textbooks and materials.

Fully online and hybrid programs in medical coding are available at the diploma and certificate levels. These programs train students to be able to properly code and submit documentation of medical services to insurance companies to ensure proper reimbursement to the provider.


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