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Coding Specialist

Earn A Medical Coding Certificate in Oak Lawn, Illinois

Are you looking for a career with lifelong potential in the healthcare industry? Medical coding and billing are essential to the operation of any healthcare setting. At Northwestern College, located in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and serving the greater Chicago area, students receive the instruction, hands-on experience, and support students need to earn a medical coding specialist certificate.

Please note, we are not currently enrolling students in our Medical Coding Specialist Certificate Program. However, students enrolled in our Health Information Technology degree program can earn the medical coding specialist certificate.

Medical coding specialists translate the diagnoses, procedures, medical equipment, and medical services found in electronic health records into standardized alphanumeric codes. These codes are used in billing processes with insurance companies, and the information is an important part of public health data that is recorded worldwide. Medical coders serve as a liaison between providers, billing staff, and insurance companies. These are some of the tasks performed in medical coding:

  • Maintaining security and confidentiality with patient records
  • Classifying procedures and diagnoses accurately
  • Assessing quality standards and health outcomes
  • Organizing and maintaining clinical databases for retrieval of information

Becoming a Coding Specialist

At Northwestern College, students in our Health Information Technology program learn about medical coding and billing while using the latest technology and up-to-date terminology. The instruction offered is ideal for students who work in healthcare and want to improve coding skills, as well as those who are new to the field. The curriculum meets all the medical law and ethical standards recommended by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Students who complete the coursework are qualified to take the Certified Coding Specialist Physician-based (CCS-P) exam.

Medical Coding Classes

Students are required to complete at least 37 credit hours to earn the certificate in medical coding. Learn how to review patient records and assign codes within standardized systems, such as ICD-10-CM (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification), CPT (Current Procedural Terminology), and HCPCS Level II (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System Level II) from experienced instructors. For the full curriculum, visit the college catalog. These classes and credit hours are included in the curriculum:

Nurse on a computer
  • Health Data Content and Structure (3 hours)
  • Health Data Content and Structure Lab (1 hour)
  • Ambulatory Reimbursement I (3 hours)
  • Coding and Classification Systems I (3 hours)
  • Coding and Classification Systems I with Lab (1 hour)
  • Coding and Classification Systems II (3 hours)
  • Coding and Classification Systems II with Lab (1 hour)
  • Coding and Classification Systems III (3 hours)
  • Coding and Classification Systems III with Lab (1 hour)
  • Coding and Classification Systems IV (3 hours)
  • Coding and Classification Systems IV with Lab (1 hour)
  • Coding Exam Review (2 hours)
  • Advanced Coding & Abstracting (3 hours)
  • Medical Terminology (3 hours)
  • Anatomy, Physiology & Pathophysiology I (4 hours)
  • Anatomy, Physiology & Pathophysiology II (4 hours)
  • College Success (1 hour)
  • Professional Development (1 hour)

More information is available about admissions requirements and how to apply for financial assistance.

The Outlook for Medical Coding Jobs

Healthcare professions have some of the brightest future job prospects in the coming decade, and medical coding specialists are no exception. A rapidly aging population in need of more medical services means that medical coders and other health information technicians will be required in order to log, maintain, and manage all of this information. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of medical coding specialists is expected to grow by 8% — double the average for all occupations — through 2029. Those with training in the areas of electronic health data content and structure are likely to be in even higher demand. Most of these jobs will likely be in state, local, and private hospitals, who employed 37% of medical records technicians in 2019 according to the BLS, but other prominent employment spaces will be physicians’ offices and nursing care facilities.

Program Goals

Upon completion of the program, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and pathophysiology
  • Specialize in physician-based settings such as physician offices, group practices, multispecialty clinics, or specialty centers
  • Review patient records and assign numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure
  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the CPT coding system and familiarity with the ICD-10-CM and HCPCS Level II coding systems
  • Demonstrate proficiency in health information documentation, data integrity, and quality

Accreditations and Approvals

Northwestern College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 263-0456, www.hlcommission.org.

We are also approved for veterans training under the G.I. Bill® for Veterans Educational Assistance. On top of that, we are proud to support our students with things like financial aid assistance and job search assistance.

Discover Chicago Medical Coding Programs Today

The time to get started on your new career is right now. We offer both flexible program options and class times so that it’s easier than ever to invest in your education and your future. Get the skills you need to become a medical coding specialist by contacting Northwestern College today to learn more.

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