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During this trying time, UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have transitioned all of our Fall courses to an online or hybrid format. Online classes will have pre-recorded lectures each week and guided assignments from the instructor. Hybrid classes are fully online with live virtual class meetings each week using our Zoom conferencing system.

Become an outpatient/inpatient coding professional.


Despite advances in medical billing & coding software, trained coders are more in demand than ever. In fact, the profession is expected to grow much faster than the national average of all professions over the next eight years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This intensive, fully online program will expose participants seasoned to experts in the field, new requirements and emerging tools and technologies for capturing patient information, and prospective careers in the field.



100% Online


Est. Cost



Cost may vary by curriculum updates and prerequisites taken



12 Months

Does not include prerequisites

Medical Coders are the critical link between clinicians (physicians and other clinical professionals) and the billers, capturing/coding each procedure and aspect of treatment to enable billing staff to bill completely and accurately for services provided. Appropriate reimbursement for services helps ensure the solvency of the medical enterprise. Coding reviews patients’ records and assign numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure.  To perform this task, they must possess expertise in the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS coding system and the surgery section within the CPT coding system. In addition, the Coding Specialist is knowledgeable of medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology, and is invaluable as a liaison among physicians, case managers, compliance professionals, financial services, and hospital departments.
The Medical Coding Specialist Certificate program provides comprehensive education to prepare qualified individuals to become an outpatient and/or an inpatient coding professional.  It will also enhance the skills of individuals who are currently coding in a healthcare setting. 

Industry Certification


This program meets the educational requirements for the following national certification exams:

  • CCS (Certified Coding Specialist) AHIMA Hospital Inpatient Exam
  • CCA (Certified Coding Associate) AHIMA Hospital & Physician Practice Exam
  • CPC (Certified Professional Coder) AAPC Physician Practice Exam
  • COC (Certified Outpatient Coding) AAPC Hospital Outpatient/Surgical Center Exam

Students are responsible for meeting all other related exam qualification, which may include a set amount of experience.

Certificate Benefits


At the conclusion of the program students will be able to:

  • Relate the applicable clinical descriptions (Medical Terminology, Anatomy & Physiology, Pathophysiology and Pharmacology) found in the clinical review material to the proper coding categories in CPT, ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS and HCPCS Level II
  • Accurately construct and assign diagnosis codes and procedure codes in both the Outpatient (CM) and Inpatient (PCS) setting
  • Associate procedure and diagnosis codes to the nature of the presenting problem(s) or chief complaint of the patient
  • Understand the relationship between the Procedural Service and the Diagnostic Description     (the procedure outlines what the Physician did, and the Diagnosis explains why he/she did it) and additionally proves the medical necessity for the encounter
  • Explain and identify various compliance strategies and the payment methodology systems and be able to describe the billing process and reporting
  • Accurately translate the Physician Narrative(s) into the coding nomenclatures that accurately reflect the services rendered by the physician in a billable format for reimbursement
  • Abstract all of the billable services from a medical record to assure reimbursement is commensurate with the work performed
  • Perform self or internal audits to assure all coding and compliance theories and rules are being followed and appropriately applied in the workplace
  • Understand the Legal & Ethical issues in coding and how they are applied in the Health Information environment.

Who Should Take this Certificate

  • Individuals who want to work as an inpatient and/or outpatient coding professional
  • Individuals who are currently in the healthcare setting wishing to enhance their skills
  • The certificate is intended for individuals who have met the following requirements:
    • High-School graduation/GED
    • Introduction to Medical Coding (MEDC-40024)
    • Medical Terminology: An Anatomy and Physiology Approach (FPM-40632)
    • Anatomy & Physiology for Allied Health (MEDC-40008)

Demands and Job Prospects

  • Skilled coding professionals are highly sought-after by hospitals, community health centers, physician practices, long-term care facilities, and other health-related organizations across the nation.
  • According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, both experienced and entry-level coding professionals are expected to be in high demand and jobs for certified medical coders are projected to increase 15 percent through the year 2024. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages.

The following link may be of interest, it is a review of this years AAPC annual salary survey results: medical-coding-billing-salary-survey-2019

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Medical Billers and Medical Coders?

Medical billers are responsible for creating a claim based on the codes a medical coder provides; the primary difference, however, is that medical coders translate medical services into codes, while medical billers translate the claims from these codes into reimbursements from insurance and patients.

What Does Medical Coding Involve?

Medical coders work specifically with the financial and technical aspects of the medical world. They check medical records of patients, along with doctors’ notes, records of testing, and possible diagnoses to corroborate that work was carried out.

Medical codes tell a sort of story about the patient’s visit. Whether a patient was seen for a routine exam, or a doctor ordered an xray for a workplace injury, each procedure and service receive a specific code.

The coding specialist must translate this information into precise medical codes for each one of thousands of possible services, which need to be valued for reimbursement purposes.

If the coder is uncertain about a particular patient’s records, they then need to speak with medical staff or other staff members to receive more details.

Where Do Medical Billers and Coders Work?

You can find medical billers and coders in a variety of settings. Typically, they’re found behind the scenes at clinics, hospitals and nursing homes, but they may also find work in pharmacies. With such a wide range of possible employers, it’s a great opportunity to find a career close to home.

Because so much of the work is done with computer systems, many billers and coders are given permission to work from home one or two days a week. Medical billing or coding can be a great choice for those who seek a more flexible working environment.

At a small facility, there’s a good chance that billing and coding will be done by the same person or a close group of associates.

How long would it take to complete the three pre-req courses?

One quarter but you can space it out into 3 quarters if needed.

This course is fully online? How is course content delivered?

The courses are pre-recorded videos (there may be some that are just audio dependent on the course lesson but most are prerecorded slides/presentations). None of it is interactive via webcam. We do utilize the course discussion board; this creates a strong feel of community and open discussion with the other students and instructor; and you will have access to the instructor via email as well. The courses are structured for you to complete assignments on a weekly basis, you need to submit assignments by a certain deadline but you will never be required to be online at your computer at a certain time.


Military Members & Spouses


Veterans Education Benefits - You may be able use your veterans education benefits to help pay for your education at UC San Diego Extension. Click here or important information and to determine your eligibility.

My CAA - Military spouses are eligible to use My CAA $4000 scholarship. Apply at MyCAA.



There will be a $95 fee upon acceptance into the program

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