If you are an aspiring Medical Biller or Coder, eager to dive into the world of medical billing and coding but not sure where to start, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Medical billing and coding is a rapidly growing field and has an essential role in the healthcare system. It involves translating medical reports into standardized codes used for billing and insurance purposes.

The best part? You don’t need a degree to enter this profession.

That’s right, you really don’t.

But, before you can start your career in medical billing and coding, you’ll need the right credentials. That’s where certification comes in.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about medical billing and coding certification. We’ll cover the basics of what medical billing and coding is, why certification matters, and how you can get certified.

Let’s get started!

What is Medical Billing and Coding?

Let’s first get the basics out of the way. If you’re new to this career, you might be curious to know what exactly is medical billing and coding.

Medical billing and coding is an important part of the healthcare industry that involves translating medical services into standardized codes and processing insurance claims for payment. This process ensures that healthcare providers are reimbursed for their services and helps maintain the financial health of medical facilities.

But are they the same? Even though medical billing and coding go hand-in-hand, they have some distinctions, let’s see how they differ.

Medical coding is the process of converting medical diagnoses, procedures, and treatments into universal codes. These codes come from several standardized code sets, such as:

– ICD-10-CM: International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification, used for diagnoses.

– CPT: Current Procedural Terminology, used for procedures.

– HCPCS: Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System, used for other medical services and equipment.

Medical billing involves creating and submitting claims to insurance companies to receive payment for healthcare services provided. Medical billers use the codes assigned by medical coders to prepare these claims.

The billing process includes:

– Claim Preparation: Using the codes from the medical coder, the biller prepares a claim for submission to the insurance company.

– Claim Submission: The claim is sent to the insurance company for processing.

– Follow-Up: The biller tracks the claim to ensure it is processed and paid. If there are issues or rejections, the biller resolves them by communicating with the insurance company and, if necessary, the patient.

What Do Medical Billers and Coders Do?

  • Review Patient Records: Medical coders examine patient records to extract relevant information about diagnoses, procedures, and treatments.
  • Assign Codes: They translate this information into standardized codes from the ICD-10-CM, CPT, and HCPCS code sets.
  • Ensure Accuracy: Coders ensure that the codes accurately reflect the services provided to avoid errors and ensure proper billing.
  • Prepare Claims: Medical billers use the codes provided by coders to create insurance claims.
  • Submit Claims: They send these claims to insurance companies for reimbursement.
  • Resolve Issues: They handle any claim rejections or discrepancies by working with insurance companies and patients.
  • Communicate with Patients: Billers often explain billing procedures and handle billing inquiries from patients.

What is Medical Billing and Coding Certification?

Medical billing and coding certification is an important credential that verifies a person’s expertise and proficiency in medical billing and coding.

It demonstrates that the individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to accurately code medical procedures and diagnoses, and handle billing processes effectively.

But is certification necessary?

Well, technically yes, it is. Certification is often required by employers and can significantly enhance career prospects in the healthcare field.

What Does It Involve?

Education and Training

Many candidates start with a training program, which can be completed through community colleges, vocational schools, or online courses.

These programs typically cover medical terminology, anatomy, coding systems (like ICD-10-CM, CPT, and HCPCS), and healthcare regulations.

Hands-On Practice

Practical training often includes coding real medical records and processing mock billing claims to gain experience.

Certification Exams

To become certified, you must pass an exam. The two main certifications are:

1. CPC (Certified Professional Coder):

– Offered by the AAPC (American Academy of Professional Coders).

– Exam covers coding guidelines, medical terminology, and anatomy.

2. CCA (Certified Coding Associate):

– Offered by AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association).

The exam covers clinical classification systems, reimbursement methodologies, and data quality.

Exam Preparation

– Study Materials: Use textbooks, online courses, practice exams, and study groups to prepare.

– Practice Exams: Taking practice exams helps you become familiar with the format and types of questions.

Maintaining Certification

Most certifications require you to complete continuing education units (CEUs) to stay current with changes in coding standards and healthcare regulations.

Certifications must be renewed periodically, usually every two years, by submitting proof of completed CEUs.

So now that you know everything about medical billing and coding certification,

Are you wondering where to find the ideal online program that caters to all your needs?

We have just the solution for you.


Preppy’s Online Medical Coding Training Program

Preppy is a popular choice amongst aspiring medical coders and billers, and us too.

Wonder what makes Preppy so special? Here’s what makes it stand out:

Partnership with an Accredited University:

Preppy has partnered with Auburn University, ensuring that their training program meets high educational standards and is recognized nationwide. This collaboration adds credibility and guarantees a top-quality education.

University Certificate:

Upon successful completion of the program, you’ll receive a Certificate of Completion from Auburn University. This certificate is a valuable addition to your resume, making you a strong candidate in the medical coding job market. Plus, you’ll have something to proudly hang on your bedroom or office wall!


Preppy understands that financial constraints can be a barrier, so they have made their program highly affordable. This allows you to pursue your career goals without worrying about student loan debt or financial aid.

100% Online and Self-Paced:

The program is entirely online, enabling you to access course materials and lectures from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s also self-paced, allowing you to study on your own schedule—perfect for those with busy lives or other commitments.

Certification Exam Preparation:

Preppy’s curriculum is meticulously designed to prepare you for national certification exams from organizations like the AAPC and AHIMA, which offer the CPC and CCA exams. Covering all essential knowledge and skills, they enhance your chances of passing and becoming certified.

Flexible Training Duration:

Unlike traditional programs that can take several months or years, Preppy’s training can be completed in as little as four months, allowing you to start your career sooner.

Externship Opportunities:

Preppy recognizes the importance of hands-on experience and offers externship opportunities. These provide practical experience in real healthcare settings, enabling you to apply your knowledge and network with industry professionals.

Free Laptop:

Enrolling in Preppy’s program includes a free laptop for your studies and beyond. This reduces your financial burden and ensures you have the necessary technology for online learning.

Continuous Support:

Throughout the program, Preppy provides ongoing support. You’ll have access to a dedicated Student Coordinator for any questions or concerns and 24/7 technical support. This ensures a positive learning experience and thoroughly prepares you for your career.

What are the Benefits of Getting Certified as a Medical Biller or Coder?

Now that we have discussed almost everything about medical billing and coding certification, you might be wondering about the pros of getting certified, and how it will help you in your career.

Let us help you with that.

Getting certified as a medical biller or coder has many benefits, such as:

1. Career Opportunities

Certification significantly broadens your job prospects. Many employers prefer or require certified candidates because it assures them that they possess the necessary skills and knowledge. This opens doors to a variety of positions in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, insurance companies, and other healthcare settings.

Certified professionals often earn higher salaries compared to their non-certified counterparts. According to industry surveys, certified medical billers and coders can earn up to 20% more than those without certification. This financial benefit reflects the added value that certified professionals bring to their roles.

Certification can also lead to opportunities in more specialized roles within the field, such as auditing, compliance, education, or management positions. These roles typically offer further financial and professional advancement.

2. Professional Credibility

Holding a certification from a recognized organization like the AAPC or AHIMA signals to employers that you have met industry standards and are competent in your field. This can make you a more attractive candidate during the hiring process.

Certified professionals are often seen as more knowledgeable and reliable by their colleagues. This respect can enhance your reputation in the workplace, leading to better working relationships and opportunities for collaboration and mentorship.

Certification requires ongoing education to stay current with changes in the industry. This commitment to continuous learning demonstrates to employers and peers that you are dedicated to maintaining high standards and improving your expertise.

3. Job Security

The healthcare industry is consistently growing, and with it, the need for skilled medical billers and coders. Certified professionals are often preferred for their proven expertise, making them more likely to secure and retain employment in this competitive field.

Healthcare providers rely heavily on accurate coding and billing for proper reimbursement and compliance with regulations. Certified coders and billers are trained to minimize errors, reducing the risk of financial penalties for the employer. This reliability increases job stability for certified individuals.

Certification programs teach the latest coding practices and regulations, equipping you with the skills to adapt to industry changes. This adaptability ensures you remain valuable to employers even as the healthcare landscape evolves, further enhancing job security.

Is Getting Formal Training Important as a Medical Biller and Coder?

To answer simply, yes, getting formal training is important for anyone aspiring to become a medical biller and coder.

Why is that? Let us take a look:

Comprehensive Knowledge and Skills

Formal training programs provide a structured curriculum that covers all the essential aspects of medical billing and coding. This includes medical terminology, anatomy, coding systems like ICD-10-CM, CPT, and HCPCS, as well as healthcare regulations. These programs ensure you build a strong foundation, making it easier to handle the complexities of the job.

Accuracy and Precision

Medical billing and coding require a high level of accuracy. Mistakes can lead to claim rejections, delayed payments, and even legal issues.

Formal training emphasizes precision and teaches you how to accurately translate medical information into standardized codes. Through hands-on practice and expert guidance, you’ll develop the skills needed to avoid errors and ensure that billing processes run smoothly.

Exam Preparation

Most certification exams, like the CPC (Certified Professional Coder) and CCA (Certified Coding Associate), require thorough preparation.

Formal training programs provide the study materials, practice exams, and expert tips you need to prepare effectively. This preparation boosts your confidence and increases your chances of passing the certification exams.

Real-World Application

Beyond just passing exams, formal training prepares you for real-world scenarios. Instructors often share industry insights and practical experiences, giving you a realistic view of the daily work of a medical biller and coder.

This exposure helps you understand the nuances of the healthcare industry and equips you to handle various situations with confidence.

Formal training can be completed in various ways to suit different needs and schedules:

  • Associate Degree: Offered by technical universities, providing a comprehensive education.
  • Diploma Programs: Available at community colleges, offering focused training in a shorter time frame.
  • Online Courses: Increasingly popular, these programs offer the flexibility to study at your own pace and from anywhere.

Online programs, in particular, are becoming more favored due to their convenience and accessibility.

Here’s why:


Online programs allow you to study from anywhere with an internet connection, whether it’s your home, a café, or while traveling. This eliminates the need to commute to a physical location, saving time and money.

Self-Paced Learning

Many online courses are self-paced, meaning you can move through the material at your own speed. This is especially beneficial for those who need more time to understand complex topics or who want to accelerate their learning.

Balancing Responsibilities:

Online programs make it easier to balance education with other responsibilities, such as work, family, and personal commitments. You can fit your study schedule around your life, not the other way around.


Online programs can be more affordable than traditional classroom courses. You save on commuting, parking, and sometimes even textbooks, as many resources are available digitally.

Access to Resources

Online programs often provide a wealth of digital resources, including videos, interactive lessons, quizzes, and e-books. These resources can enhance your learning experience and provide varied ways to grasp the material.

Course materials and resources are available 24/7, so you can study whenever it’s most convenient for you. This continuous access allows for better review and reinforcement of the material.

Up-to-Date Curriculum:

Online programs often update their curricula more frequently than traditional programs, ensuring that you learn the most current practices and coding standards.


Getting a certification in medical billing and coding can lead to many job opportunities in healthcare. It helps you learn important skills and makes it easier to find a good job with better pay. The healthcare industry is growing, and there is a high demand for certified professionals to help with accurate billing and efficient services.

By earning this certification, you’re setting yourself up for a stable and rewarding career. Whether you’re new to the field or want to advance your career, a certification in medical billing and coding is a smart move.

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About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.