Skagit Valley College

Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

Welcome to the Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Program

The Medical Billing and Coding Specialist program prepares students for billing/coding careers in medical offices, hospitals, clinics, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), extended care facilities, insurance companies, and health data organizations.  Medical coding specialists develop skills and knowledge to transform written descriptions of diseases, injuries, conditions, and medical procedures into alpha-numeric  classifications. Currently, reimbursement for health care services is dependent on the assignment of universally recognized codes to describe diagnoses, services, and procedures.  The codes are used to provide information for reimbursement of insurance claims, indexing statistics, research, and tracking patient care.  In addition to coding, professional reimbursement specialists must learn the medical billing process to conform to individual insurance requirements, electronic billing procedures, and responsibilities associated with electronic data management.

Learn medical terminology, medical pathology, anatomy and physiology, basic pharmacology, medical law and ethics, and medical finance practices.  Students will also study word processing, spreadsheet applications, and learn how to use electronic medical records system while using ICD-10-CM, CPT and HCPCS guidelines to complete ambulatory and hospital billing. This high-demand occupation provides many opportunities for people who like attention to detail and take pride in their work.  Jobs in this growing field offer variety, challenge, and the personal reward of helping others.

Program Options

The estimated program length is based on full-time enrollment.  It is the student's responsibility to discuss sequencing and work out their individual schedule with a counselor or program advisor.  Any developmental coursework a student may be required to complete may increase the program length.  The certificate is not intended for university transfer. Students wishing to enter the program must complete all prerequisite courses with a C or better prior to Fall entry.


Program graduates are eligible to take the American Association of Professional Coders national examination to become Certified Professional Coder Associates (CPC-A).  AAPC credentialed coders have proven mastery of all code sets, evaluation and management principles, and documentation guidelines. Employers prefer to hire certified workers who have passed the national exam. 

aapc logo
American Association of Professional Coders

Program Learning Outcomes:

Graduates of the Medical Billing & Coding Specialist program will

  • Correlate knowledge of general anatomy & medical terminology to perform coding & billing tasks.
  • Apply medicolegal principles when working with protected health information (PHI).
  • Apply legal and ethical standards as they relate to medical professions.
  • Accurately code diagnoses and procedures for the medical office.
  • Perform: (a) word processing, (b) spreadsheet applications, (c) database applications, (d) Internet searches, and (e) billing functions.
  •  Demonstrate the mathematical skills essential to employment as a medical office coder.
  • Accurately prepare insurance billing forms.
  •  Code using the CPT, ICD-10-CM, and HCPCS coding systems.
  • Perform typical medical office financial activities using applicable software.
  • Prepare patient account statements using computerized patient accounting software.
  • Understand and practice the professional work habits expected in the medical office field, including confidentiality and ethical practices.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills needed to prioritize, anticipate and analyze problems, and to evaluate and implement solutions.
  • Possess a commitment to diversity and enhanced employability through the understanding and practice of human relations, teamwork and patient service skills.
  • Demonstrate the ability to research employment opportunities, prepare an effective employment package, including resume, and present oneself positively in a job interview.

Program Entry Requirements

Apply to the Admissions Office for an application to Skagit Valley College (SVC). Make an appointment to take your Accuplacer test. It is strongly recommended that candidates be a high school graduate or have passed the General Education Equivalency (GED) exam to enroll in the program. Students may enter any academic quarter to begin prerequisites, and attend classes on a part-time or full-time basis. Students may enroll in any class if they meet the course prerequisites. Some courses may only be offered once or twice a year. Students may be required to take a keyboarding test for entrance into some classes. It is recommended that you have a good working knowledge of computers, are detail-oriented and analytical, have excellent organizational skills and a penchant for accuracy. You should also be able to work independently with little supervision.

Career Opportunities and Job Search Information

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is the nation's primary source of occupational information.  The O*Net Online database is an interactive research tool for exploring and searching occupations.  The database, developed by the US Department of Labor, contains information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors, and provides a variety of FREE Career Exploration Tools.

O-Net Online: 

  • SOC 29-2071.00  Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
  • SOC 31-9092.00  Medical Assistants

For more detailed information about Washington State healthcare employment trends, wage rates, employment opportunities, job tasks, etc. search the websites listed below: