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Medical Billing and Coding


This new classroom-based certificate is for those who prefer a face-to-face setting with dedicated time in the classroom and value the interaction with and learning from classmates. Working in medical records is one of the few health-related occupations in the medical field that does not involve hands-on patient care.


Typical work in this field includes coding and billing based on medical histories, symptoms, examination results, diagnostic tests, treatment methods, and other services by healthcare providers.  Coders frequently communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to clarify chart information or obtain additional information to aid in billing procedures.  To properly code and bill, patient information must be organized and managed to properly ensure its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and above all security.


Coders play an important role in the transmission of patient records between hospitals and physician offices and health insurance organizations. By utilizing classification systems, coders must assign codes to each treatment and diagnosis for patients and translate into the reimbursement amounts covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurance companies.


According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics employment in this field is "expected to increase by 20 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018."  This rise in employment can be attributed to an increasing number of medical tests, treatments and procedures as our population has a longer life expectancy and the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. The Bureau of Labor reported that in 2008 there were about 172,500 positions in this field alone. Roughly 39 percent of those jobs were in hospitals. In 2008 the Bureau reports the median annual wage of employees in this field was $30,610.


This certificate program is designed to be completed in as little as one year when students take an average of two classes per term. The curriculum for the Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program consists of the following seven courses. To earn the certificate, students must complete all seven courses within five years and score a minimum of 70% in each course.

  • Medical Terminology - 8 weeks, fall term
       This study of basic medical terminology includes prefixes, suffixes, word roots, combining forms, abbreviations and symbols.  A programmed learning, word building system will be used to learn word parts used to construct or analyze new terms.  This provides you the opportunity to decipher unfamiliar terms and check their spelling, definition, usage and pronunciation.
  • Beginning ICD-9-CM Diagnosis Coding - 7 weeks, fall term
        Designed for either the beginner or inexperienced coder, this course will provide a overview of the correct use of the ICD-9-CM diagnosis manual in assigning codes to each service provided to a patient. This course will offer a historical perspective of the ICD-9-CM and its usage, as well as going through each section of the manual.   This introductory course will prepare you for the next step in the coding curriculum, Beginning CPT/HCPCS Procedural Coding.
  • Anatomy and Physiology - 10 weeks, winter term
        Gain a basic foundation of anatomy and physiology of the human body and how it relates to various common diseases.  The major organ systems will be covered including integumentary, cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, endocrine, sensory, blood, neurological and reproductive. The medical terminology of each system will also be integrated throughout the course.
  • Beginning CPT/HCPCS Procedural Coding - 9 weeks, winter term
       Designed for either the beginner or inexperienced coder, this course will provide an overview of the correct use of the CPT/HCPCS Procedural Manual to assign codes to each service provided to a patient. This course will offer an historical perspective of the CPT and its usage and prepare you for the CPT Intermediate Coding for Physician Offices course.
  • Intermediate Coding for Physician Offices- 8 weeks, spring term
        This intermediate-level course takes you to the next level of coding:  specialty specific.  Emphasis will be on more in-depth coding by medical specialty.  Various coding scenarios and case studies will be discussed and worked.  All the variables that impact those scenarios will be analyzed.
  • Comprehensive Coding for Physician Offices: Part I - 4 weeks, spring term
        Learn how to audit physicians' charts...Office/Outpatient visits, Hospital Care/Nursing Home visits, Critical Care, Prolonged Services, and Care Plan Oversight.  This course will provide you the tools and knowledge needed to successfully carry out an audit for any specialty physician's office.  Monitoring is an important part of compliance for any physician's office. Chart Reviewing for Physician's Office Coders will help you to fulfill that portion of compliance.
  • Comprehensive Coding for Physician Offices: Part II- 10 weeks, summer term
        Are you preparing to take the Certified Coders exam?  This course in advanced coding combines hands-on coding experience with lectures and class discussions of case scenarios to assist in preparing for this exam.  Through reviewing medical  coding and compliance; anatomy and medical terminology; evaluation and management; ICD-9-CM; CPT-4 and HCPCS Coding Conventions, you will gain the knowledge required to perform successfully on the Certified Coders exam and the knowledge necessary to code for specialties including: surgery, anesthesia, radiology, pathology and laboratory, and medicine.

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Application Information:

Students can enroll in any of the courses offered without being in the certification program. However, certificates will only be granted to those who have enrolled in the program. To enroll in the Medical Billing and Coding Certificate program, send completed application form, and a $25 non-refundable application fee to:

Attn: Medical Billing and Coding
1504 Springhill Avenue, Suite 2515
Mobile, AL  36604

For questions or more information about the Medical Billing and Coding Certificate Program contact us by phone, fax, e-mail or online.

Tel: (251)405-9928 / Fax: (251)405-9931
EMAIL: sastephens@southalabama.edu

Attendance Policy:

Students MUST attend 80% of all class meetings within a course unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor. Maximum of excused absences per course will depend on length of course. Each instructor will notify students of number of excused absences allowable for their course in writing as part of the course syllabus.




The University of South Alabama reserves the right to cancel any course for which there is not sufficient enrollment. Should a course be canceled after you enroll, you may transfer to another class or receive a full refund. Decisions to cancel a course, based on enrollment, are made three business days prior to the course start date, see course description for specific cancellation details. Failure to attend classes does not constitute withdrawal. Decisions to cancel your registration can be made by calling, faxing or emailing our department and must be received by 5 p.m. at least three business days prior to the start of your class.  Refund requests received after this will not be granted. 


Please note completion of the University of South Alabama’s Center for Continuing Education Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding does not confer the designation of being a certified coder.  The Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) is a registered trademark of the American Academy of Professional Coders and is an entity independent of the USA Center for Continuing Education.  Registration and details regarding sitting for the CPC® exam and certification requirements can be found at their website www.aapc.com.


University of South Alabama - Mobile Alabama 36688-0002 / 1 (251) 431-6411
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Date last changed: May 1, 2013 9:30 AM

University of South Alabama