Medical Coding and Billing Certificate

Medical Coding and Billing is an ever-in-demand field in the healthcare sector. Break into the profession with Oakton’s 16-credit-hour certificate which leads directly to employment. For those interested in gaining further training, it can also be applied to the Health Information Technology AAS.

The program prepares students for billing positions in physicians' offices, insurance and billing services. Students take courses in computing, insurance procedures, CPT and ICD-10-CM coding, and medical terminology. The estimated national salary for Medical Coders and Billers is $28,300 with a median salary of $39,500 (according to BLS.gov).

Upon completion of the certificate, students sit for a certified credentialing exam: Certified Professional Coder (CPC—through American Academy of Professional Coders) or Certified Coding Associate (CCA—through AHIMA). Or, with experience the Certified Coding Specialist – Physician (CCS-P— through AHIMA). 

Learn and work from the convenience of your own home. This certificate is delivered 100% online. It is designed to be completed in one year, part-time. 

Certificate

This curriculum prepares students for billing positions in physician offices and billing offices. Students take courses in computing, insurance procedures, CPT, ICD-10-CM coding, and medical terminology. Students must receive a minimum grade of C in all courses.

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What You Need to Know

Medical Coding and Billing Certificate

First-come, first-served application process.

Minimum Requirements

  • Placement into English 090/097/098 and MAT 070. Placement tests are available at Oakton’s Testing Center.
  • While the program does not have clinical requirements, an employer may require passing a drug test, having a clear criminal background check, and clear health requirements, including vaccinations and insurance.
  • Make an appointment with Jennifer Crowley, health career advisor.

We also recommend that you view our Information Session video below prior to applying.

  1. New students should apply online. Current Oakton students should apply through their myOakton account.
  2. View your Admission Checklist. Your New Student Portal includes an Admission Checklist and next steps.
  3. Submit admission documents, including transcripts (high school, college, AP, military) and proof of residency.
  4. Complete the minimum requirements for admission.
  5. Complete an interview. The application process must be completed prior to an interview.

Essential Skills Expected of a Health Information Technician, Medical Coder and Biller, and Cancer Tumor Registrar
Successful completion of the HIT and CRM programs requires the student to participate in and satisfy the Professional Practice Experience (PPE) portion of the program. Students attend a variety of PPE settings including but not limited to hospitals, long term care centers, ambulatory settings, specialty treatment facilities, and managed care facilities. Participation in the PPE requires essential skills that allow the student to perform successfully. Students may be expected to perform satisfactorily in the following domains:

Physical
The student should be able to:

  • View computer screens for long periods of time.
  • Use keyboard or input devices to enter data into computer.
  • Have good hand-eye coordination skills to enter data, answer phones, and write.
  • Lift light objects such as medical records and code books and push carts loaded with records.
  • Spend long periods of time sitting.
  • Hear adequately enough to permit contact with patients, physicians and other employees.

Cognitive
The student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the interpersonal skills necessary to regularly interact effectively with patients, families, physicians, co-workers and other facility personnel.  
  • Conduct extended inter-personal professional conversations and dialogues, as well as participate in extensive collaborative and team discussions and project work.
  • Demonstrate the organizational and time management skills necessary to carry out multiple functions on a daily basis.
  • Follow job related logical thought processes to make judgments. Take initiative and work independently, yet recognize self-limitations. Regularly accept guidance and supervision from superiors.
  • Demonstrate prolonged concentration skills in activities like coding and abstracting.
  • Apply numeric logic and analytical skills in interpretation and presentation of data.
  • Accurately interpret reading material, spell accurately and regularly communicate health information in written and verbal format.

Emotional/Psychological
The student should be able to:

  • Cope in an appropriate manner to common job related stressful situations.
  • Articulate ideas and communicate information clearly in verbal, written, and digital formats.
  • Exhibit flexibility in response to shifting priorities.
  • Display a courteous and professional manner through interaction, appearance, and attitude.
  • Keep confidential material confidential.
  • Meet the ethical standards of the profession.

The above statements were derived in part from job descriptions and work expectations from various employers of health information technicians and from guidance from AHIMA for the HIT A.A.S., and NCRA for the CRM certificate. Each student’s right to participation in the PPE portion of the curriculum is also contingent upon compliance with the rules of the PPE. The PPE has the sole discretion to determine when its rules have been violated.

CAHIIM Accreditation LogoWhile the Medical Coding and Billing Certificate program is not accredited, many of the classes are a part of the Health Information Technology (HIT) associate in applied science degree (which is).

The Health Information Management accreditor of Oakton Community College is the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). The College’s accreditation for an Associate degree in Health Information Technology has been reaffirmed through 2028.

All inquiries about the program’s accreditation status should be directed by mail to CAHIIM, 200 East Randolph Street, Suite 5100, Chicago, IL, 60601; by phone at 312.235.3255; or by email at info@cahiim.org.

 

Meet Your Faculty and Experts

Oakton's professors and lecturers are experts in their fields with advanced degrees and years of real-world experience. In addition to classroom learning, students receive support from our panel of expert advisors.

Hanna Wierzchowski, DDS, RHIA, COC, CPC
Professor and Chair
A.A.S. Oakton Community College
B.S. University of Illinois Chicago
D.D.S. Bialystok Dental School, Bialystok, Poland
hwierzchowski@oakton.edu
847.635.1695
Office: Room 2844 Des Plaines

Adriana Raicu, RHIA
Assistant Professor
A.A.S. Oakton Community College
B.S. Legal Studies Craiova University, Romania
araicu@oakton.edu
847.635.1684
Office: Room 2807 Des Plaines

Meet our part-time faculty

Lincy Chandy, RHIA, CCS
Lecturer
A.A. Oakton Community College
B.S. National-Louis University
lchandy@oakton.edu
847.635.1684

Geraldo Salvacion, MBA, RHIT
Lecturer
A.A. Oakton Community College
B.S. National-Louis University
gsalvaci@oakton.edu
http://www.oakton.edu/~gsalvaci
847.635.1435

Traci Strobel, CCS-P, CHA, CHCO, CIFHA
Lecturer
B.S. Bemidji State University
tstrobel@oakton.edu
847.635.1684

Davita Webb, RHIT
Lecturer
A.A.S. Oakton Community College
B.S. George Williams College
M.H.A. National Louis University
dwebb@oakton.edu
http://www.oakton.edu/~dwebb
847.635.1684

Eunju Do, RHIA
Health Information Record Services
Northshore University Health System
 
Karen Conway, CTR
Senior Cancer Registrar
Northwestern Medicine West Region
 
Ava Dacka, RHIT, CTR
Senior Cancer Registrar
Northwestern Memorial Hospital Chicago
 
Judy Ferraro, RHIA
Faculty Emeritus
Oakton Community College
 
Ms. Linda Frank, MBA, RHIA
President
Innovative Workflow Technologies


Kathleen Green, RHIT
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Clinical Coding Department
 
Adam Jachymiak, RHIT, CCD, CCDS
System Coding Resource Coordinator –Inpatient
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare
 
Veronica Minsky, RHIT
HIM Director
Chicago Behavioral Hospital
Lake Behavioral Hospital
 
Bojana Nikolic, RHIA, CHC, CCS, CPC 
Senior Analyst
Internal Audit, Coding Compliance
Northshore University HealthSystem
 
Maria Novi-Hammer, CCA
Director of Sales
The Merion
 
Cynthia (Cindy) Penkala, CMM, CMPE
Director, Division of Practice Transformation and Member Education
American Osteopathic Association
 
Ms. Maribel Romero, CTR, CPE
Manager, Oncology Data Manager
Swedish Covenant Hospital
 
Lyudmila Shilshut, MS CBCS
Billing Manager
North Suburban Physicians Group
 
Ms. Nancy Totsch, RHIT
Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care
525 South Prospect
Park Ridge, IL 60068
847-823-9551
njt131@att.net
 
Anna Taha, MD, RHIA, CCS, CDIP, CCDS, CCS-P, COC, CPC
Operations Coordinator
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
 
Maureen Warner, RHIA
847-899-1665
mwarner1225@comcast.net

What's Next?

We are glad you are considering attending Oakton Community College. No matter where you are in your decision-making process, we are here to help you with your next steps. Whether you're ready to apply now, need information on paying for college or have questions and want to contact someone, we're here to help.

FAQ

The program prepares students for billing positions in physicians' offices and billing services. Students take courses in computing, insurance procedures, CPT and ICD-10-CM Coding and medical terminology.

Yes, an interview is required before acceptance into the limited enrollment programs including the A.A.S. degree program. The interview process allows the student to gain an understanding of the HIT profession and the demands of the program. You will need to demonstrate good verbal and written communication skills essential to working in the health care field.

Before acceptance into the limited enrollment programs you may be admitted to Oakton as a student and begin taking any prerequisites that apply. A good starting point is HIT 104 Medical Terminology.

Yes, because the health information technology field is dynamic and fast changing, frequent updates in the curriculum are required. To assure that graduates are current and prepared to take the national certification exam, the limited enrollment courses (HIT) must be completed within three years. It will be necessary to repeat limited enrollment courses that fall outside this guideline to complete the program. Limited enrollment courses are those with the HIT prefix. 

After you graduate from the medical coding and billing certificate, you may sit for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC—through American Academy of Professional Coders), Certified Coding Associate (CCA—through AHIMA). Or, with experience the Certified Coding Specialist — Physician (CCS-P—through AHIMA). After successful passing of the exam, you may put the initials CPC, CCA, or CCS-P, respectively, after your name. These are recognized nationally as a HIT professional.

No.

The national organization for HIT professionals is the American Health Information Management Association. Visit their website at http://www.ahima.org.

An excellent command of the medical language is vital to success in the HIT program. Medical terminology courses must not be more than two years old at the time the first limited enrollment course is begun. You may take a proficiency exam to place out of HIT 104 at an additional cost. The exam is administered by the Testing Center on the Des Plaines campus. The Testing Center can be reached at 847.635.1939 for information.

A.A.S. degree students gain knowledge of all aspects of health information management. Students have a greater variety and number of job opportunities open to them. Most medical coding and billing certificate courses are part of the A.A.S. degree program. HIT AAS students can sit for the RHIT certification exam and have the opportunity to continue their studies at a four-year college.

It is estimated that the student will need an additional 2-3 hours per class per credit hour per week outside of class time for studying. Some students require more, and others require less. It is important that you plan class, study, family, work, and social time carefully to balance conflicting responsibilities during your educational career.

Contact Us

Jennifer Crowley
Senior Health Career Advisor
847.635.1844
jcrowley@oakton.edu

Hanna Wierzchowski
Department Chair
847.635.1695
hwierzchowski@oakton.edu