Medical Billing and Coding Online Program

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

AAPC Certified Professional Coder exam with Penn Foster Career School.

You can earn your career diploma in medical billing and coding in as little as nine months.¹ Penn Foster Career School's regionally and nationally accredited Medical Billing and Coding online training program is designed to help you prepare to sit for the AAPC Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam. This program offers engaging and well-structured lessons to provide you with the highest quality online training possible at an affordable price.

Why Penn Foster Career School for Your Online Medical Billing and Coding Program?

  • Begin preparing to take the AAPC’s CPC exam to become a certified coding professional. The CPC credential is the gold standard for medical coding in physician office settings and is held by nearly 99,000 coding professionals. Upon completion of the program, you will also be eligible to sit for the NHA and AHIMA certifications exams.
  • Your program includes both ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding courses structured as Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced to allow you to study at a pace that's right for you, and our coding content is updated annually as soon as new versions become available.
  • Courses include helpful online simulations, virtual labs, videos and 3D representations, all designed to help you succeed in the program.
  • A Virtual Work Experience with simulations related specifically to coding is also included in your program, providing career preparation that can help you find a job.
  • The ICD and CPT coding manuals included in your tuition are yours to keep to help you prepare for your certification exams. You will receive instruction from dedicated faculty members with real-world experience.

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students for an entry-level career as a medical coder.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Comprehend and apply CPT, ICD-9, ICD-10, and HCPCS coding guidelines to identify diagnoses, procedures, and patient medical records
  • Identify the procedures for patient record retrieval and reimbursement
  • Explain the role of a medical coder as a liaison between the health clinician and billing offices
  • Apply computer and information literacy skills, and use electronic medical software
  • Identify terms, facts, methods, procedures, concepts, theories, principles, and processes within medical coding and billing scenarios
  • Recognize relationships among data and classify items within medical coding and billing scenarios
  • Understand laws and theories, including issues relating to ethics and confidentiality
  • Calculate solutions to mathematical problems related to reimbursement and medical mathematics
  • Interpret and evaluate information to make proper coding decisions
  • Review basic written and workplace communication skills

Course 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
HIT100 Introduction to Allied Health

This course gives an introduction to health care, the health information management industry, and the role that health information technicians play in that industry.

Objectives:

  • Describe reimbursement systems and the role health information management technicians play in reimbursement.
  • Describe how technology is used in health information management.
  • Discuss different professional organizations and certifications for health information management technicians.
  • Explain the different roles, opportunities, and settings for health information management technicians.

Course 2

ALH028 Law, Ethics, and Confidentiality in Allied Health

This course examines how law affects medical offices, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, the basics of the process of litigation and its alternatives, the common-law basis for the confidentiality of health care information, and the laws regulating health care information collected and maintained by government agencies.

Objectives:

  • Describe civil and criminal law, sources of law, and the steps of litigation
  • Distinguish between liability, negligence, and malpractice and explain how they relate to health care professionals
  • Explain defenses against medical malpractice and against criminal charges
  • Identify the various ethical issues that health care professionals face
  • Discuss contemporary medical issues such as medical care access, experimentation, paternalism and autonomy, and organ transplants
  • Discuss ethical issues regarding death, the right to die, and assisted suicide
  • Explain the uses and content of medical records
  • Describe the legal significance of confidentiality obligations
  • Explain the core concepts of HIPAA’s final Privacy Rule
  • Summarize the role of peer review in confidentiality issues
  • Describe confidentiality and security issues related to electronic medical records
Additional Course Material

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Course 3

ALH029 Medical Billing and Health Insurance

This course introduces the reimbursement process and the various methodologies involved, such as fee for-service and episode-of-care methodologies. The course also covers important information regarding payment systems, fee schedules, charge masters, coding, and the internal audit process. Finally, the course explains the fundamentals and types of health insurance.

Objectives:

  • Describe the history of health care reimbursement
  • Describe fee-for-service reimbursement methodologies
  • Define episode-of-care reimbursement methodologies
  • Outline the Medicare acute care prospective payment system
  • Describe the Medicare skilled-nursing facility prospective payment system
  • Discuss the different outpatient prospective payment systems
  • Describe the electronic data interchange process
  • Name the latest changes in health care reimbursement
  • Explain the management of fee schedules, charge masters, and coding
  • Describe the internal audit process
  • Outline characteristics of a coding compliance program
  • Discuss your role as a health information professional in health care reimbursement
  • Define prepaid health plans
  • Identify characteristics of retrospective and prospective payment systems
  • Describe commercial insurance plans
  • Outline the history of Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans
  • Discuss the different government-sponsored health care programs
  • Explain how managed care works
Additional Course Material

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Course 4

BUS090 Medical Office Procedures

This course is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace and professionally administer and manage office communications and procedures. It also provides a review of basic math operations, along with a basic introduction to working with Word and Excel.

Objectives:

  • Identify and name decimal place values
  • Convert measurements in the metric system and in foreign currencies
  • Identify prefixes of the metric system
  • Use percent to calculate percent increase or decrease, interest rate, sales tax, discounts, shipping charges, and base price
  • Identify the six steps for problem solving
  • Calculate the following values: three types of averages, deductions from a paycheck, and simple and compound interest
  • Identify and use parts of speech
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the elements of sentence structure
  • Explain and identify subject-verb agreement
  • Identify and correct grammatical errors in sentences
  • Use end marks, commas, and other common punctuation marks
  • Use capitalization correctly  
  • Identify the correct way to answer and place interoffice, long-distance, and
  • conference calls
  • List and describe at least six components of effective oral communication
  • Identify the correct way to process incoming and outgoing mail
  • Process routine information requests and correspondence
  • Assist in writing well-structured letters that are professional in appearance
  • Correctly format, compose, and address business letters
  • Describe the purpose and format of memos
  • Identify the correct way to organize an email message
  • Explain safe and effective uses of email
  • Create new Word documents and Excel spreadsheets
  • Edit and format existing documents and spreadsheets
  • Add graphics and tables to Word documents
  • Create charts
  • Use formulas and functions

Course 5

ALH016 Body Systems and Medical Terminology 1

In this course, you’ll become familiar with the medical terms that you'll hear on a daily basis in your new career, and you’ll examine the organization of body systems. More specifically, you’ll study terms related to the following body systems: integumentary, musculoskeletal, hematic, lymphatic and immune, and cardiovascular.

Objectives:

  • Explain how root words (and their combining forms), prefixes, and suffixes function in medical terms
  • Define many of the most common roots, prefixes, and suffixes
  • Determine the meaning of a given medical term by analyzing its parts
  • Identify the anatomical position and directional terms, as well as the three planes, four quadrants, and nine regions of the body
  • Describe the body science of nutrition
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems
  • List diseases of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the integumentary
  • and musculoskeletal systems
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to cellular anatomy, the integumentary system, and the musculoskeletal system
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the hematic, lymphatic, immune, and cardiovascular systems
  • List diseases of the hematic, lymphatic, immune, and cardiovascular systems
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the hematic,
  • lymphatic, immune, and cardiovascular systems
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the of the hematic,
  • lymphatic, immune, and cardiovascular  systems
Additional Course Material

Simulation: Anatomy & Physiology Revealed 3.0

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Course 6

ALH017 Body Systems and Medical Terminology 2

In this course, you’ll become familiar with the medical terms that relate to the following body systems: respiratory, digestive, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, and excretory. You’ll also examine terms related to the sensory organs, with a concentration on the organs for hearing, sight, and smell. Finally, you’ll examine the medical specialties of oncology, radiology, nuclear medicine, genetics, surgery, and pathology.

Objectives:

  • Explain the anatomy and function of the respiratory, digestive, and nervous
  • systems
  • List the diseases of the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the endocrine, reproductive and excretory systems
  • List diseases of the endocrine, reproductive, and excretory systems Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the endocrine, reproductive, and excretory systems
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the endocrine, reproductive,
  • and excretory systems
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the sensory organs
  • List diseases of the sensory organs
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the sensory organs and the nervous system
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the sensory organs
  • Differentiate between tumor types and explain how cancer develops
  • Classify cancers and describe the major methods of cancer treatment
  • Identify radiographic procedures and outline the types and uses of nuclear medicine tests
  • Summarize surgical methods and pathological processes
  • Describe the application of genetics to the study of diseases
Additional Course Material

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Course 7

HIT130 Electronic Medical Records

This course is designed to help you understand the reimbursement process and the various methodologies involved. You’ll be introduced to billing cycles and how health information technology is used in medical offices, and learn about basic accounting transaction terminology and apply this information to enter patient charges and payments.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the history of electronic health records
  • Perform administrative health information management functions
  • Build an electronic health record
  • Enter information into an electronic health record
  • Utilize templates to increase productivity
Additional Course Material

Textbook: The Electronic Health Record for the Physician's Office with SiimChart for the Medical Office

Simulation: SimChart for the Medical Office

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Course 8

ALH021 Pathology and Pharmacology

This course describes health-care professionals who are licensed to prescribe medications for the treatment of disease and illness, reference material most often used by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and pharmaceuticals that are designed to alleviate or repair any sort of malfunction in the body.

Objectives:

  • Define the basic elements of pharmacology
  • Identify common drugs, drug names, drug references, routes and forms of drug administration, and drug classification related to body systems
  • Understand basics of drug regulation agencies and enforcement
  • Define drug action and effect according to specific classifications
  • List common diseases of body systems
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of body systems
  • Identify basic surgical procedures
Additional Course Material

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Course 9

HIT203 Basic Coding Using ICD-9 and ICD-10

The course begins with an overview of coding concepts, terms, and procedures. It explores the system that will replace the ICD-9 in late 2015, the ICD-10, and examine why it’s important to understand the ICD-9 before learning the new system. Students will code diagnoses in ICD-9 and see how the process changes in ICD-10. Students will also learn how to code procedures in ICD-9 and the newer ICD-10-PCS. The course concludes with a review of the similarities and differences between the ICD-9 and ICD-10 systems, as well as a brief look at the CPT.

Objectives:

  • Describe the purpose of coding and the documentation used in coding
  • Assign codes using the ICD-9 coding manual
  • Assign the equivalent ICD-10 codes using the ICD-10 coding manual
  • Assign ICD-10-PCS codes in appropriate coding situations
  • Compare and contrast ICD-9 and ICD-10 and differentiate between the two
Additional Course Materials

Textbooks:

  • Step-By-Step Medical Coding 2015
  • ICD-9 2015
  • ICD-10-CM 2015
  • ICD-10-PCS 2015

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Course 10

HIT204 Intermediate Medical Coding

In this course, students will concentrate on the diagnoses or procedures that don’t seem to fit into any specific coding category. Students will also learn about general coding guidelines for inpatient and outpatient procedures and physician office coding using ICD-9-CM, HCPCS Level I, and HCPCS Level II procedure coding.

Objectives:

  • Assign codes for services and procedures using CPT and HCPCS Level II
  • Describe the relationship between HCPCS Level I and HCPCS Level II
  • Outline the types of services and procedures described in the CPT
  • Describe the types of patients seen in the outpatient setting
Additional Course Material

Textbook: CPT 2015

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Course 11

HIT205 Advanced Medical Coding Scenarios

In this course, students will assign codes using ICD-9, ICD-10, CPT and HCPCS in advanced medical coding scenarios. Students will build off of the Basic and Intermediate Medical Coding courses, using the skills developed from those courses to interpret complex medical data. Students will fine-tune their coding skills through several practice coding scenarios in order to prepare to take the CPC-A coding exam and become a professional certified coder.

Objectives:

  • Locate and accurately assign diagnosis and procedure codes for complex coding scenarios using ICD-9-CM and ICD-9-CM Volume 3
  • Accurately assign procedure codes for complex coding scenarios using ICD-10-CM
  • Add characters to expand ICD-10-PCS codes for complex coding scenarios
  • Assign codes using CPT and HCPCS Level II
Projects

You will complete five hands-on projects using electronic medical software.

Additional Course Materials

Textbooks:

  • The Next Step 2015
  • Virtual Medical Office

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep


Computer Specifications
As you know, the Medical Billing and Coding program is an online academic program.  This means that you will need high-speed internet access to participate in your program. In addition, you will need will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 7 or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, an email account, and either Microsoft® Office 2013, Office 365®, or a free Microsoft® account to access Word Online and Excel Online at no additional cost to complete your program.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Excel are registered trademarks and Word is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Medical Billing and Coding sample lesson, click here.

AAPC Student Membership

Your low-cost tuition includes a one-year student membership with the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), which provides great benefits such as access to their 500+ local chapter networking meetings, discounts on coding books, and access to tools and resources used by coding professionals to stay current on trends and research, and could also save you $70 when you take the CPC certification exam.

Medical Billing and Coding Certification

Penn Foster Career School's Medical Billing and Coding program is aligned to help you prepare for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) examination offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Graduates are also eligible to sit for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential exam offered by the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association), as well as the Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam offered by the National HealthCareer Association (NHA).

State Requirements

Please review your state board requirements that are applicable to your field of study. State boards may impose a variety of different requirements, which vary from state to state.

medical billing and coding schools and online classes

At Penn Foster Career School's Medical Billing and Coding Program, you'll learn how to manage records and file claims, prepare insurance forms, and handle billing for clinics, doctors' offices, or private billing services. Here are a few qualities that efficient medical billers and coders have in common:

  • Organized: Billers and coders need to keep confidential health forms in the right place.
  • Honest: Insurance companies, doctors, and patients trust you to handle billing.
  • Dependable: Patients and companies rely on you to send them the right information on time.
  • Detail oriented: It's important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.

I really like the way [Penn Foster] set up the program. The progression is really good, and they are always encouraging you. I’m very, very pleased with the medical coders at Penn Foster.

Jacinte L., Medical Billing and Coding Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Affordable tuition and customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Textbooks, online simulations, virtual labs, videos and 3D representations
  • ICD and CPT coding manuals that are yours to keep
  • One-year student membership in the American Academy of Professional Coders
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Medical Billing and Coding academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Does Penn Foster Career School provide Medical Billing and Coding students membership to any professional organizations?

Yes. Medical Billing and Coding students receive membership to the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

What certifications are available for the Medical Billing and Coding Career Diploma Program?

Our program can help you prepare to sit for the Certified Professional Coder examination offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). Graduates are also eligible to sit for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) credential exam offered by the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association), as well as the Certified Billing & Coding Specialist (CBCS) exam offered by the National HealthCareer Association (NHA).

More FAQs >

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, on the Internet here. Statements found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are not a guarantee of any post-graduation salary, in part because the data used to create the Occupational Outlook Handbook includes workers from differing educational backgrounds, levels of experience, and geographic areas of the country.

Find us on Google+