Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs

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Also known as health information technicians, medical billing and coding professionals play a vital role in the healthcare industry. Modern medical care involves a complex billing and coding system used to organize patient records for insurance purposes. Billing and coding professionals are trained to navigate this classification system; they translate patient diagnoses and medical histories into the appropriate clinical codes required to process insurance claims. Some billers and coders work at hospitals and outpatient care centers, while others are employed by insurance companies and coverage providers (known as ‘payers’).

Aspiring professionals and specialists in this field often begin their career with an associate degree degree program in medical billing and coding, health information management or other related fields. Many of today’s students are choosing to obtain their associate degree in medical billing and coding online. Web-based students follow the same rigorous curriculum as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of postdegree job opportunities. The asynchronous (or self-paced) format of many online associate programs is also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare responsibilities and other commitments that may interfere with campus-based classes.

Learn more about what you can do with an online associate degree, diploma, or certificate in medical billing and coding and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

WILL AN ONLINE MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Online medical billing and coding associate programs provide a thorough introduction to all essential tools and practices used in the industry. The curriculum for these degree programs will also cover subjects like healthcare data laws and ethics, medical statistics, billing and reimbursement procedures for healthcare services, pharmacology and various coding and classification systems used for patient records. Other areas of study include human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and pharmacology.

WILL AN ONLINE MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Online medical billing and coding programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional, classroom-based education. Students are able to access course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. Current technology also allows them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET AS A MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING GRADUATE?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that many careers in medical billing and coding are attainable with a high school diploma or equivalent, so candidates with an associate degree will be well-positioned to compete in the job market. Professional certifications in this sector include the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credentials; these personnel must earn a license in some states, but employers may require their employees to be certified regardless of state-specific laws and regulations.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MEDICAL BILLING AND CODING PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online medical billing and coding associate degree programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online medical billing and coding associate program, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific associate degree requirements and offerings.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Davenport University71.253/540%Grand Rapids, MI

Davenport University offers more than 50 career-focused programs, including a popular program in health information technology. In this program, students learn to analyze, manage, and handle patient information and data. Courses will help students develop strong critical thinking skills, and distance learners will be able to access a variety of career service resources during their time in school. Classes are taught asynchronously in Blackboard, and as part of the program, students can log into the school’s the state-of-the-art American Health Information Management Association’s Virtual Lab. Distance learners must complete 69 credits to graduate. Davenport is a four-year university, and any student who wants to augment their health information technology degree with a related bachelor’s degree can seamlessly transition into the school’s health information management program.

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2Cowley County Community College64.503/549%Arkansas City, KS

Cowley is a premier community college with a vocational technical emphasis. The school offers several fully-accredited online programs, including an associate degree in medical coding with 12 core requirements. This program prepares students for entry-level careers in medical facilities, including outpatient care centers, home health care services, and public health departments. The school offers open enrollment, though students who want to obtain a certificate upon graduation must submit an application. Cowley teaches students how to use the CPT, HCPCS, and the ICD 9/ICD 10 system that helps physicians and insurers accurately track and monitor patient information. The program also emphasizes soft skills, including professionalism and flexibility.

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3Northwest Technical College59.753/541%Bemidji, MN

In partnership with Distance Minnesota, Northwest Tech delivers an online AAS in medical coding. The 60 credit program covers material in both general studies and sciences, including anatomy and physiology, writing, general psychology, and public speaking. Students must take courses that cover the U.S. healthcare system, coding procedures, and medical terminology, in addition to other mandatory classes. All distance learners must also complete an internship to graduate. Students interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree after completing the medical coding program may transfer up to 60 credits into Mayville State’s online business administration program.

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4Northland Community and Technical College57.753/549%Thief River Falls, MN

Northland Community and Technical College has four campuses in Minnesota and is home to more than 5,000 students. The school’s medical coding specialist program helps students explore a variety of medical billing processes, and graduates are eligible to take a national coding certification exam. There are 21 required courses in the online medical coding program, two of which can be chosen from among four elective options. Distance learners will take most of their classes in a structured sequence that culminates with classes in cultural diversity, pathophysiology, interim ICD coding, and inpatient billing. Online students can get technical support through the school’s student resource center.

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5Community Care College55.003/565%Tulsa, OK

Community Care College offers 10 online programs, including an online medical billing and coding degree. Like most programs at the school, the medical billing and coding offering can be taken either as a diploma or an associate in occupational studies (AOS) degree. Distance learners are introduced to the field, and learn a variety of competencies, including ICD-10, which is the most common medical classification list used in the field. The online AOS features a robust curriculum and teaches students how to use the most up-to-date systems in medical coding. The job placement rate for graduates is currently 89%. The AOS program is 84 weeks long.

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6Central Maine Community College55.003/541%Auburn, ME

With a focus on quality, accessible education and lifelong learning opportunities, Central Maine Community College offers career and technical education to over 3,000 students. In addition to its main campus in Auburn, CMCC offers courses across three other counties and online. The school also offers an online career resource, Career Coach, to help students assess and pursue their career options.

CMCC’s medical coding and electronic health records program is an associate in applied science degree available entirely online. Students can expect to learn theory, technology, coding skills, and interpersonal skills over four semesters. Distance learners must complete 32 credits to graduate, including an internship. Unlike some medical billing and coding programs, CMCC does not require students to complete general classes.

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7Highland Community College52.752/566%Highland, KS

At Highland CC, students can pursue associate degrees, technical certificates, or health science programs on campus or online. The school’s medical coding program can be completed in 64 credit hours. In addition to programmatic classes, distance learners will take courses in the humanities, fine arts, and social and behavioral sciences for a well-rounded education. Both online and on-campus students can access a variety of student resources. Highland’s helpful website also offers a detailed review of each course in the school’s curriculum, complete with an online syllabus and schedule for every class. As part of the program, students must complete a coding practicum before they graduate.

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8Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical49.503/540%Winona, MN

Minnesota State College Southeast offers small class sizes, affordable tuition, and strong relationships between professors and students. The school also offers a variety of programs entirely online, including an AAS in medical coding. To graduate from the medical coding program, students must complete 60 credits, including 45 in the field. Common courses include interpersonal career concepts, pharmacology, and business communications. As part of their course sequence, students will complete a practicum in the field, where they’ll get real experience coding medical records from hospitals and physician offices. In addition to the AAS, students can pursue a variety of medical certifications.

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9Central Texas College49.001/523%Killeen, TX

CTC provides students with a variety of academic programs, including associate degrees, vocational-technical programs, adult continuing education, and high school classes. These courses are offered in a variety of different formats, including online; all credits are transferrable. CTC also school serves U.S. military personnel in 140 worldwide locations.

The online medical coding and billing program at CTC can be accompanied by courses in a traditional or open-entry format. Most introductory classes are available open-entry for students who want to get started before they formally apply. Online courses are taught in a structured sequence. In all, students must complete 60 credits over the course of two years to graduate. Students can take up to six courses each semester.

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10Cosumnes River College46.003/533%Sacramento, CA

Cosumnes River College is one of four community colleges within the Los Rios Community College District in Sacramento. CRC offers innovative and empowering programs designed to help students prepare for specific careers. There are eight areas of study from which students can take associate degrees or certifications, and the health information technology program allows students to pursue either. Students in the medical assisting program can pursue three different specializations, including an offering in medical insurance billing. This program requires distance learners to complete seven courses, including mandatory classes in medical insurance procedures, current procedural terminology, and human disease.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Minnesota West Community and Technical College80.683/549.68%Granite Falls, MN

The online medical and billing program at Minnesota West Community and Technical College is part of a slate of 40 different online programs that aim to provide the same quality and hands-on attention afforded by on-campus courses. The 34-credit program prepares students for employment in hospitals, clinics, and insurance companies as a medical billing specialist. The program is 34 credits and includes courses like advanced coding, pharmacology, and disease condition. Students should be familiar with word processing software, spreadsheets, and databases before enrolling, but if they don’t, program courses such as “Introduction to Microcomputers” will quickly get them up to speed.

Designated a “Military Friendly School,” particularly for mobile military students, it’s dedicated to making the online experience user friendly. For anyone considering an online education, the school offers the free, non-credit course “intro to online learning,” to help potential students try out the platform before enrolling in classes. Once enrolled, help is available to online students in multiple ways, including an “Ask a Question” forum, live chat, and email and phone assistance. For those students who prefer an on-campus experience, the school offers classes at five different campuses serving Southwest Minnesota, most of which are situated near national parks and historical towns.

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2Southwest Wisconsin Technical College65.452/553.09%Fennimore, WI

Located in Fennimore, Wisconsin, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is a smaller school that emphasizes the employability of its students. Interested students can take a campus tour that features career assessment activities and a cost of living exercise. Faculty members are all experts in their fields and have connections in the workforce. All courses, including online medical and billing programs, stress not only career-specific knowledge, but also general skills that are essential to getting hired, such as good communication and professionalism. The medical coding certification online program is no exception. It consists of 32 units completed over two semesters with standard courses in CPT coding and medical terminology as well as classes on interpersonal communication and healthcare law and ethics. The estimated total tuition cost is $4,520 with book prices for each quarter ranging between $590–$1,480. Graduated students will be eligible to take the national certification examination of the American Health Information Management Associate and will have employment opportunities in positions like outpatient coder, inpatient coder, and coding analyst.

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3Minnesota State Community and Technical College60.233/533.08%Fergus Falls, MN

Minnesota State Community and Technical College serves more than 8,000 students across four campuses in the West Central and Red River Valley areas of Minnesota. The school features an active campus life, including regular TED-style talks and community events, such as family movie night. For those looking for off-campus fun, outdoor activities are in abundance, particularly at the Detroit Lakes campus, situated in an area known for having 412 lakes within a 25-mile radius. The school encourages students to blend on-campus and online courses to suit their schedules and lifestyle. The Medical Coding and Insurance program offers medical coding classes online that prepare students to become billing specialists for medical services companies. Minnesota State’s program is 50 credit hours and includes courses like pathophysiology, medical terminology, and hospital billing. The cost is estimated at $197 per credit bringing the total tuition to $9,850 with around $3,000 worth of other costs like books and fees. Some students may need to take developmental courses pending their Accuplacer assessment. Those who complete the program are eligible to take several national coding exams for special certifications that can increase their earning potential, and with the school’s 92% average pass rate on licensure exams, students can be confident they will have the necessary knowledge to succeed.

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4Moraine Park Technical College56.143/534.21%Fond du Lac, WI

Among the many medical billing and coding schools online, Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin is one of the oldest. It has been educating students for more than 100 years and prides itself on the fact that over 90% of its graduates find jobs within six months of graduation. With many active military students, it was an early adopter of distance learning technologies and has been offering online classes for over two decades. The school offers associate degrees, technical diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeship programs in a variety of fields, including healthcare. Its medical billing and coding online program can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis, and the units can be transferred toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health and Information Technology. Students can expect to pay around $130.35 per credit and over $500 for books. Moraine’s program is designed to be completed in one year. For students looking to advance their education even further, the school has transfer agreements with at least 40 colleges and universities, guaranteeing that students who meet minimum requirements can easily transition into a four-year degree program.

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5Community Care College55.913/5N/ATulsa, OK

Students at the private, non-profit Community Care College enjoy a learning experience with all the modern amenities. The school’s 66,000 square-foot campus facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma includes a learning resource center, student lounge, fitness center, computer labs, and a reading room. The school’s career-oriented online programs are equally up-to-date. Students in the accredited online medical billing and coding program, which is offered as both a 44-week technical diploma or an 84-week degree program, can count on the latest revisions of the International Classifications of Diseases (IDC) being covered. Current topics in medical terminology and basic courses in anatomy are also included in the course list. The 44-week diploma will cost students around $15,693 for tuition and fees and the 84-week program around $29,466. When students are ready to hit the workforce, the school offers a unique service to help with resume building and personal branding.

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6Northwest Technical College55.913/535.58%Bemidji, MN

Northwest Technical College in Minnesota was founded in the 1960s and began with only two programs aimed at male students (carpentry and automotive mechanics). Today, the school has a much more diverse student population and offers 32 fields of study in seven distinct career paths. Students taking medical coding classes online can pursue three different program options: a certificate, diploma, or degree. All three choices are comprehensive programs that cover topics such as patient account management and diagnosis and procedural coding, among other core technical classes. Northwest’s program is 42 credit hours and will run students $206–$304 per college credit. The degree program includes a required internship that gives students hands-on, practical experience before entering the workforce. If a true college experience is what you are after, the college’s partnership with Bemidji State University provides on-campus students with all the amenities of a four-year college, including on-campus housing, health services, and dining and fitness facilities.

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7Georgia Northwestern Technical College53.642/520.6%Rome, GA

Georgia Northwestern Technical College is the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in the entire state. It focuses on preparing its students for careers in technology, business, health, and public service. Beyond academics, it has a strong athletics program that includes basketball, cheerleading, golf, and volleyball. Students interested in medical billing and coding online courses can enroll in the Health Information Management Coding course. Unlike many programs, which consist only of core technical classes, the Health Information Management Coding curriculum requires 11 credits of general education courses in english, math, and basic psychology, or Interpersonal Relationships and Professional Development, creating a well-rounded career-focused education. It’s a 55 credit program which is going to cost students $5,731 in tuition and around $2,000 for books.

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8Rochester Community and Technical College53.183/519.89%Rochester, MN

As a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System, Rochester Community and Technical College is an accredited online medical billing and coding school with a long history of success. It is the oldest public two-year college in Minnesota and strives to provide the same college experience for its students as a four-year university. Students enjoy leadership opportunities in the student government, student clubs, and are invited to participate in athletics, concerts, theater, and other events. Online learners are eligible for the same MnSCU scholarships as their on-campus counterparts, which is a nice benefit for people looking to enroll in medical coding programs online. Students who successfully complete Rochester’s 41-unit Coding Specialist program are eligible to take the AAPC national exam and earn the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) credential. Currently the program will cost students around $192 per credit.

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9Dakota College at Bottineau48.182/523.81%Bottineau, ND

Dakota College at Bottineau is a medical billing and coding online school that has been accredited since 1971. The school is located in North Dakota near the Turtle Mountain Forest, and students call themselves the Lumberjacks and Ladyjacks. The robust athletics program gives students the opportunity for plenty of school spirit with teams they can root for in football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, and ice hockey. The Medical Coding program at Dakota College is a one-year program that is only available online. To earn a diploma, students will need to complete 34 units of classes that include technical coding courses as well as studies in biology, pharmacology, and psychology. Tuition and fees will total around $4,000 for students with book costing upwards of $1,000. Similar to other program, after completing their degree, students will be able to take the Certified Medical Office Assistant exam.

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10Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical44.553/530.31%Winona, MN

Minnesota State College Southeast (MSC) values small class sizes. The average class size is fifteen students per instructor, allowing for quality one-on-one instruction in a diverse range of programs, from the unusual Band Instrument Repair to the ever popular Nursing and Accounting programs. The result is a high graduation rate and a 94% job placement rate over the last five years. Online students get equally attentive service. In addition to an instructor, each course has a program advisor to help guide students, making MSC an excellent choice for an online medical billing and coding school. The Medical Coding Specialist program requires the completion of three general education courses and fourteen core technical classes. Students can earn a diploma or take additional coursework to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree. In total, it’s a 46 credit program designed to last around 16 months. Tuition and fees will cost $8,610 with books and supplies estimated to cost students around $1,533.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Columbus State Community College70.712/588%Columbus, OH

This Ohio institution opened its doors in 1967 and recorded an initial enrollment of 67 total students. CSCC today serves more than 26,000 students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees. Recognized for facilitating student success and closing achievement gaps through its Student Success Innovation Fund program, the school was named as one of the 19 2015 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges.

The school currently offers 18 associate degrees and 48 professional certificates for online students, including a medical coding certificate program. This track is part of CSCC's Health Information Management Technology (HIMT) division. The program is 22 credits in length, and can be completed in three semesters; coursework always begins during the summer semester. With the exception of a hybrid course in human anatomy that requires some on-campus sessions, all of the coursework in this program is delivered exclusively online. The curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology and components of healthcare documentation, as well as the ability to review, code, classify and index patient diagnoses for accounting and insurance purposes. Students must pass a background check and drug screening before they are admitted into CSCC's HIMT programs.

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2University of Alaska Fairbanks69.522/553%Fairbanks, AK

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) was founded in 1917, and is currently the only postsecondary institution in the state of Alaska that is classified as a 'tier one university' by U.S. News & World Report. In 2016, the school's freshman retention rate stood at 76% ― more than 12 percentage points higher than the national average for public higher learning institutions. UAF also boasts an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1, and nearly two-thirds of all courses taught at the university have fewer than 20 students.

A certificate in healthcare reimbursement is available online through the UAF eLearning and Distance Education department. This 30-credit program includes introductory coursework in medical terminology and human diseases, medical coding, administrative procedures and outpatient reimbursement, as well as mathematics in healthcare and medical technology. Students learn how to analyze medical records, code and index diagnoses and perform other duties related to healthcare reimbursement. The curriculum also prepares them for important postdegree career steps, such as earning national certification through the national certification through the American Academy of Professional Coders exam and American Health Information Management Association coding exam. The healthcare reimbursement certificate online program can be completed after one year of full-time study.

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3Drexel University65.715/568%Philadelphia, PA

Founded in 1891, this private, nonprofit Philadelphia institution offered its first online degree program in 1996. Drexel has since become a leader in postsecondary distance education, and today offers more than 140 online degree and certificate programs. Nearly 5,200 online students from across the globe are currently enrolled at Drexel, representing more than one fifth of the total student body; the school's Digital Dragon page serves as an online hub where distance learners can interact and collaborate. The school earned a top 20 ranking in a 2016 survey of the country's most innovative national universities published by U.S. News & World Report.

An online medical billing and coding certificate program is available through Drexel's renowned School of Nursing and Health Professions. This fully online 18-credit program is organized into four 10-week quarters spanning one calendar year. Coursework will cover the four most common coding manuals currently used in healthcare professions: CPT; HCPC; ICD-9-CM; and ICD-10. Once students have completed the program, they will be prepared to sit for certification exams from the American Medical Billing Association, the AAPC and the American Health Information Management Association. Students who wish to continue with their education after earning their certificate may apply their coursework toward Drexel's Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health Services Administration degree pathway.

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4Lanier Technical College60.242/528%Oakwood, GA

Lanier Technical College (LTC) seeks to provide communities and companies in northeast Georgia with the technical skills and education that will encourage economic and civic progress. LTC offers over 40 programs in-person and online to students in the Oakwood, Forsyth, Barrow, Dawson, and Jackson communities in Georgia. The online Medical Coding Specialist Certificate program trains students with some education or experience in a health profession to excel at ICD-9-CM and CPT/HCPCS medical coding. The program is completed in three semesters through instruction and participation in medical coding classes online, such as Medical Insurance, Human Diseases, and Document Production. Through its ties with local companies, LTC offers career planning and job placement services that help students find jobs after graduation almost 95% of the time.

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5Alexandria Technical & Community College59.523/567%Alexandria, MN

Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC) offered three academic programs -- carpentry, farm mechanics and machine shop -- and served 21 students when its doors first opened in 1964. The school has grown to nearly 3,000 enrolled students since that time, and is today a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. ATCC's current academic selections include 12 associate degree and professional certificate programs delivered exclusively online.

The college's online medical coding specialist diploma program is 45 credits in length, and most students complete all course requirements within five semesters. The first year is dedicated to foundational knowledge and skills, with entry-level coursework in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, pathology and medical reception. The second year delves into ICD coding, CPT and other specialized areas of the profession, as well as medical law and ethics. The program culminates in a required two-credit internship, allowing students to receive supervised training from experienced professionals at real-world worksites; internships usually takes place during the summer semester. All other courses in the program are delivered fully online. This comprehensive curriculum will prepare students to earn additional credentials, such as the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) certification from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

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5Montana State University – Billings59.523/559%Billings, MT

Montana State University Billings (MSUB) was founded in 1927, and today comprises five degree-granting colleges. The university's leading provider of technical and vocational education is City College at MSUB, which is located less than 10 miles from the flagship campus. The college currently offers more than 30 degree and certificate programs, and enrolls roughly 1,400 full- and part-time students every year. Additionally, City College currently serves as the U.S. Department of Labor OSHA training provider for the entire state of Montana.

City College currently offers nine academic programs aimed at aspiring healthcare professionals, including a Certificate of Applied Science in Medical Coding and Insurance Billing that can be completed online. This one-year program spans 11 courses for a total of 31 credits. The curriculum includes foundational studies in medical terminology, diagnostic and medical coding, medical office administration and human biology, as well as business writing and mathematics. The program culminates in a capstone course, which allows students to create a comprehensive project demonstrating the knowledge and skills they have gained. The capstone courses also includes job-shadowing and national certification exam prep. Students who complete the program will be qualified to seek employment at hospitals, clinics, extended care centers and other healthcare facilities.

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7Hutchinson Community College58.932/559%Hutchinson, KS

Located in south-central Kansas, Hutchinson Community College was founded as a coed junior college in 1928 and recorded an initial enrollment of 187 students. The school has grown to roughly 6,100 students -- one-third of whom are over the age of 24 -- and degrees and certificates are currently offered in more than 120 academic fields of study. Hutchinson has also drawn widespread attention for hosting the National Junior College Athletic Association's Division I Men's Basketball Championship, also known as 'The Tournament', which brings together student athletes from across the country.

A total of 18 degree and certificate tracks are offered online at HCC, including multiple options for aspiring healthcare professionals. An online certificate for health coding specialists is available for distance learners at HCC. This program consists of 16 courses spanning a total of 45 credits, and is normally completed after three semesters of full-time study. Foundational courses in the first two semesters cover subjects like pharmacology, medical terminology, healthcare information technology and human anatomy. The curriculum also includes coursework in ICD-10-CM/PCS and CPT coding; a coding lab and health record coding practicum course are also required. Additionally, those seeking a two-year degree may choose an online Associate of Applied Science (AAS) pathway in health information management.

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8Dakota State University58.933/580%Madison, SD

Founded in 1881, Dakota State University (DSU) is headquartered in the town of Madison, South Dakota. The institution emphasizes the importance of technology in all academic and professional fields. Students are issued tablet devices for use in classrooms, and all degree programs include technology and/or computer science course components. DSU's distance learning programs are also extensive. Students from across the globe are welcome to enroll in the school's online courses and degree programs, which are led by faculty members that teach the same subjects in on-campus courses.

The online Health Care Coding Certificate program at DSU spans 35 to 36 credits in length. Although some foundational biology and computer science courses are required, most of the curriculum is rooted in the legal, logistical and technological aspects of medical billing, coding and health information management. The program also includes a coding internship course, which students must complete onsite at a hospital, clinic or other preapproved healthcare facility. Most students complete all certificate requirements within one academic year, and graduates are fully prepared to sit the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Certified Coding Associate exam. The certificate also serves as a useful stepping stone for students who plan to advance into DSU's Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration degree program.

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9Southwest Wisconsin Technical College55.122/556%Fennimore, WI

Located in the town of Fennimore, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College (SWTC) is a member of the 16-school Wisconsin Technical College System. More than 50 vocational degree and certificate programs are currently offered, and the school boasts a 95% employment rate within the first year of graduation. SWTC is also a popular destination for nontraditional students; according to U.S. News & World Report, 46% of the student body is 25 or older.

The college's medical coding specialist diploma program is available in a fully online format. This 32-credit pathway consists of 13 courses, and can be completed in just two semesters of full-time study. Initial courses introduce foundational topics like medical terminology, human anatomy and health data management. During the second semester, most courses delve into healthcare reimbursement, applied coding and other specialized areas of the field. Students who successfully complete the diploma program will be qualified to handle tasks related to ICD-9 CM, ICD-10 CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT coding systems. Graduates will also be eligible to sit for the national certification examination of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). They may also progress into the associate in health information technology degree track as part of SWTC's Career Pathways program.

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10Weber State University54.403/562%Ogden, UT

This institution headquartered in Ogden, Utah, has been recognized for positive student outcomes. In 2016, Washington Monthly awarded Weber State first-place ranking in its 'America's Best Colleges for Adult Learners' poll. According to the survey, the university's alumni earn an average annual salary of $50,867 after 10 years in the workforce -- the sixth-highest income among the nearly 1,200 schools considered for the ranking. Part-time students comprise more than half of Weber State's total student body, and nearly three-quarters are employed while attending courses.

Weber State's Dumke College of Health Professions offers an online healthcare coding certificate pathway. This 31-credit program consists of 10 courses, which most part-time students complete within four semesters. The first three terms are largely dedicated to foundational studies in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and medical terminology. During the final semester, students take courses in ambulatory and physician office coding, ICD-10-PCS coding and classification systems. A practicum course is also require, where students apply the knowledge and skills they have gained in a simulated healthcare setting. Students who successfully complete the program will be equipped to handle inpatient and outpatient tasks using the ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, and CPT coding systems. All prospective certificate candidates must complete a background check, drug screen and proof of immunizations before being admitted into the program.

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11Charter Oak State College54.292/5N/AFlint, MI

Founded in 1973, this small Connecticut institution serves a population of fewer than 1,800 students. Charter Oak is a leading destination for students of all ages and backgrounds; according to data from the 2015-16 academic year, nearly two-thirds of all students are women and the median student age is 39 years. The college has also been recognized for its credit transferral system; under the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, students can receive programmatic credit from previous employment, military training and other accomplishments. This flexible policy enables students to complete their programs at a lower cost and in less time.

Charter Oak's online medical coding certificate program consists of seven courses spanning 21 total credits. The curriculum includes foundational coursework in anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, as well as health information management, reimbursement procedures and two courses in medical billing and coding. The program also prepared students to obtain postdegree certifications through organizations like AHIMA and AAPC. Additionally, students who have earned a bachelor's degree may choose to pursue Charter Oak's online health information management certificate. The curriculum for this track includes medical billing and coding, along with other foundational HIM areas such as medical technology, healthcare law/ethics and health services leadership and management.

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12Great Basin College54.053/525%Elko, NV

Established in 1967, this accredited institution based in the city of Elko is a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education. GBC currently serves 3,800 students enrolled online from across the United States. The college's Academic Success Center offers free live tutoring for all students using Skype, as well as email-based tutoring services. More than 70 online degree and certificate programs are available to students at GBC, including several options for aspiring healthcare professionals.

The online certificate of achievement in professional medical coding and billing is a 34-credit program that features nine required courses. Foundational topics include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and healthcare administration. The curriculum also delves into diagnostic coding, reimbursement procedures and other specialized areas of the industry. Students receive training in the ICD-9 and CPT coding systems; their coursework includes a coding practicum, which allows them to apply skills and knowledge within a simulated environment. The program culminates in a comprehensive online exam; exam-takers will be given 48 hours to complete the test, although most complete all questions within seven or eight hours. GBC's professional medical coding and billing certificate program is designed for completion after two semesters of full-time study.

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13Gogebic Community College53.812/555%Ironwood, MI

Located on Mt. Zion in the town of Ironwood, Michigan, Gogebic Community College (GCC) is an accredited two-year public community college noted for its relatively low education costs. The tuition rates for in-district and out-of-district students both fall below $200 per credit hour, and most spend between $5,000 and $8,000 for each year of their education. GCC also boasts a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and more than 60% of the college's 1,099 students are female.

The college's medical coding and billing specialist online certificate program spans 40 credits in length, and is designed for completion after four semesters of part-time enrollment. Initial courses tackle anatomy and physiology, health information management, medical terminology and other foundational subjects. The latter semester will consist of coursework in ICD-10-CM/PCS and CPT coding, as well as ambulatory care coding. A 60-hour clinical internship at an acute-care facility will also be required; students must complete a background check, drug screen and physical examination in order to take part in their internship course. Students leave GCC prepared to work at hospitals, clinics, long-term care centers and other healthcare facilities, as well as insurance companies. Program graduates will also be qualified to sit for national certification exams.

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14Barton County Community College51.432/557%Great Bend, KS

Founded in 1965, this Kansas institution serves brick-and-mortar students from seven surrounding counties and online students from across the globe. Barton County Community College operates four campuses across the state of Kansas, including a Fort Riley training center that specializes in educating U.S. military personnel after they have completed their service. Online education at BCCC is highly affordable -- $150 per credit hour, on average -- and the school has become a popular destination for nontraditional students; more than 40% of the student body is 25 years of age or older.

The college's online medical coding certificate program emphasizes coding procedures for physician's offices, clinics and ambulatory care services. The curriculum features foundational courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, healthcare law and ethics, as well as a three-part medical coding sequence. Other requirements include an introduction to business English and two computer science courses. All courses are delivered exclusively online. The program culminates in a medical coding internship. Students who successfully complete this medical coding certificate pathway will be qualified to handle tasks using the ICD-9, CPT, and HCPCS coding systems. The coursework will also prepare them to sit for the AAPC national certification exam.

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15Fisher College49.524/576%Boston, MA

Founded in 1903 and located in Boston's historic Back Bay neighborhood, Fisher College is a private nonprofit institution originally created to educate and train the city's immigrant workers. Fisher remains highly diverse to this day; women comprise more than 70% of the student body, while international students represent 20%. The college has also been recognized for services for military servicemembers and veterans. Since 2011, G.I. Jobs has listed Fisher as one of the nation's top 'military-friendly schools'.

The college's healthcare-oriented options include an online medical coding certificate program that spans 13 courses and 37 credits in length. The program begins with foundational courses in English, computer science and healthcare technology. The curriculum also includes coursework in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and disease studies, as well as a four-course series in coding and classification systems. The program culminates in a capstone course, which allows students to develop a comprehensive project that highlights their strengths and areas of expertise. The program is designed for completion in less than two years of full-time study; 42% of students earn their degree within 18 months. Students who successfully earn their medical coding certificate from Fisher College will be qualified to work in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities that code patient diagnoses for reimbursement purposes.

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16Ogeechee Technical College47.863/529%Statesboro, GA

Ogeechee Technical College (OTC) is a public, two-year technical school located in Statesboro, Georgia. The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia has twice named OTC as Technical College of the Year since the award was first conferred in 2010. The school today serves a large number of nontraditional students; more than 60% of the student body are enrolled part-time, and 45% are between the ages of 25 and 64. Additionally, women make up nearly 70% of the current student population.

OTC offers two educational pathways for aspiring healthcare information specialists. The school's online medical coding certificate program is 24 credits in length, and features eight online medical coding courses. Most students complete this pathway within two semesters; graduates are fully prepared to sit for the CCA (Certified Coding Associate), CCS (Certified Coding Specialist), and CCS-P (Certified Coding Specialist, Physician-based) exams. Students seeking a two-year degree program may choose to pursue the Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology from OTC. This online degree program spans 64 credits in length. The curriculum includes foundational courses in medical coding, healthcare statistics, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and other related fields, as well as sociology, psychology, economics and other liberal arts fields. Most students earn their AAS in health information technology after six semesters.

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17Sinclair Community College45.712/545%Dayton, OH

Located in Dayton, Ohio, Sinclair Community College is considered one of the largest community colleges in the country; the current on-campus and online population exceeds 20,000 full- and part-time students. The college has also been recognized as a provider of degrees with a strong return-on-investment (ROI); the tuition rates at Sinclair are among the lowest in Ohio, and the average student who completes a degree program at the college will see his/her annual income rise 114% one year after graduation.

An online medical coding and billing specialist certificate pathway is available through Sinclair's Health Sciences division. The program consists of nine courses spanning 23 total credits. The curriculum includes foundational studies in healthcare delivery, diseases, human anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, as well as introductory and advanced billing practices. Students will learn how to handle tasks using the ICD-10-CM, CPT and HCPCS coding systems; these skills will equip them to work in a wide range of healthcare facilities, including physician's offices, outpatient centers and health insurance companies. All courses can be delivered fully online, and most students earn their certificate after two semesters. Those who successfully complete the program will be prepared to sit for the Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice (CPC-A) and Certified Coding Specialist-Physician (CCS-P) exams.

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18Cowley County Community College37.263/549%Arkansas City, KS

Founded as a junior college in 1922, Cowley County Community College (CCCC) today offers degrees and certificates in more than 80 different technical and vocational fields. The college has been recognized for its low tuition rates; according to U.S. News & World Report, out-of-state students pay $4,123 in annual tuition while in-district and in-state students pay less than $3,000 on a yearly basis. The school also serves a large number of nontraditional students; nearly half the student body is enrolled part-time, and more than one-third are between the ages of 25 and 64.

The online medical coding certificate program at Cowley College spans 11 courses for a total of 35 credits. Most students earn their certificate after two semesters. The first semester is largely dedicated to foundational studies in subjects like pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and healthcare law and ethics. The second semester consists of specialized courses in CPT and ICD-10 coding systems, bioethics and reimbursement methodology. Additionally, students must complete a practicum course in a virtual healthcare office. Those seeking a two-year degree may pursue an online Associate of Applied Science in Medical Coding degree through CCCC; this 65-credit track requires four semesters of full-time study, and culminates in a coding practicum course. Students who have completed the coding certificate program will be able to apply most of their course credits toward this associate degree.

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19Presentation College35.484/544%Aberdeen, SD

Founded in 1951, Presentation College is an independent Catholic institution sponsored by the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (PVBM). The college today serves fewer than 800 students at three primary campuses in South Dakota and Minnesota, as well as online. A total of 10 degree and certification programs for aspiring healthcare professionals are offered through Presentation's Allied Health division, including a medical coding certificate pathway.

The medical coding program consists of four courses rooted in case studies and real-world training. The curriculum includes two courses that cover the fundamental principles of medical billing and reimbursement methodologies, including legal and regulatory aspects; these courses must be taken sequentially. The third course, 'Applied Terminology for Coding', helps students build their professional vocabulary and learn the processes for coding different diseases and diagnoses. All courses are delivered exclusively online. Finally, 'Introduction to CPC' is a six-credit course that covers the CPT, ICD-9-CM and HCPCS coding manuals. Presentation's online medical coding certificate program generally requires one year of study. Students who complete all courses will be prepared to sit for the AAPC national certification exam and seek employment at physician's offices, hospitals, insurance companies and other healthcare-oriented settings.

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20Cincinnati State Technical and Community College25.952/535%Cincinnati, OH

Established in 1969, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College today serves more than 11,000 students. Roughly 60% of students at CSTCC are enrolled part-time, and nearly half are between the ages of 25 and 64. The college is also renowned for its racially diverse student population; more than 40% of current students belong to minority groups, with 30% identifying as African-American. CSTCC currently offers 20 online associate and certification programs, including multiple learning tracks for aspiring medical billing and coding professionals.

The Coding Specialist Certificate pathway spans 35 credits in length, and can be completed online after four semesters of part-time study. The curriculum for this program includes coursework in human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology and healthcare reimbursement procedure, as well as coding processes for the ICD-10 and CPT systems. Students seeking a two-year degree can pursue an online Associate of Applied Science in health information management technology; most students complete this 65-credit program within four or five semesters. Additional online associate programs are offered in healthcare informatics and healthcare programming and analysis. Both of these programs consist of 65 course credits, and are usually completed after four or five semesters of full-time study.

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Timeline
18 months to 2 years
Program Costs
$6,000 to $20,000 in annual tuition
Related Areas of Study
Healthcare Administration, Health Information Management, Health Informatics, Medical Assistant, Medical Technology, Data Management, Information Security
Accreditation
There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study at the undergraduate level. Students should defer to the regional/national accreditation of their four-year college or university.

Job Placement

The BLS projects strong job growth for employees in the healthcare industry, including medical billing and coding professionals. The Affordable Care Act is one of the primary reasons behind this trend; roughly 20 million previously uninsured Americans currently receive medical coverage under the ACA. The aging baby boomer population also ensures a continuous need for qualified healthcare administrators in the coming years.

The following table looks at 10-year projections for some of the most popular careers in healthcare administration.

Occupation Industry Projections (2014-24)
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians 16% (+29,000 jobs)
Medical and Health Services Managers 17% (+56,300 jobs)
Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians 16% (+52,100 jobs)
Medical Assistants 23% (+138,900 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Unemployment rates are relatively low for medical billing and coding professionals, particularly those that earn certifications in their field. For example, a recent report by the American Academy of Professional Coders found that certified coders face an unemployment rate of 1.4%. By comparison, the national unemployment rate for all occupations currently sits at 4.9%.

Earning a Living

According to the 2015-16 PayScale College Salary Report, individuals with an associate degree in medical billing and coding earn a median annual salary of $29,600 during their first five years on the job and $33,200 after a decade in the workforce. However, the earning potential for medical billing and coding professionals will largely depend on their academic background and certification levels. Featuring U.S. News & World Report data, the table below shows salary expectations for medical billing and coding professionals with different credential levels.

Occupational Title and Certification Median Annual Salary
Certified Professional Coder $48,000
Certified Professional Coder – Payer $55,000
Certified Professional Coder – Hospital Outpatient $56,000
Certified Professional Medical Auditor $59,000

Source: U.S. News & World Report

In addition to certification levels, salary expectations for medical billing and coding professionals also depend on an employee’s number of years in the workforce. The next table looks at 20-year salary growth rates for medical billing/coding specialists and other common career pathways in healthcare administration.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Medical Billing/ Coding Specialist $32,987 $36,523 $41,729 $42,000
Registered Health Information Technician $35,325 $38,593 $40,968 $45,974
Health Informatics Specialist $58,963 $76,970 $73,697 $70,780
Health Information Manager $54,334 $73,336 $74,820 $80,183
Health Care Administrator $51,000 $67,000 $77,000 $75,000

Source: PayScale

All careers listed on the table experience 20-year salary growth at a rate of at least 20%. Health information managers recorded the highest growth: a 47.6% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Health care administrators placed a close second, with 47.1% salary growth after two decades in the workforce.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who graduate with an associate degree, diploma, or certificate in medical billing and coding (or other fields related to health information management) will be qualified for dozens of entry-level positions; those who also obtain certification may further expand their job opportunities. Four common careers related to medical billing and coding are outlined below.

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians: These professionals oversee patient data at their place of employment, ensuring all records are accurate, up-to-date and easily retrievable. Many of today’s medical records and health information personnel are trained to work in paper-based and electronic medical record systems. Maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality is also essential to the occupation.

Medical Transcriptionists: Also known as healthcare documentation specialists, these personnel transcribe voice recordings of physicians, nurses and other health workers into thorough, accurate written descriptions. These transcriptions are then used for diagnoses, test results and other data found in patient records.

Medical and Health Services Managers: Also referred to as healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, these professionals oversee the patient care services at hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities. Their jobs include management of areas like recruitment and hiring, billing, coding and budget planning.

Bill and Account Collectors: These professionals assist individuals and organizations who have overdue bills. According to the BLS, 14% of bill and account collectors work in ‘healthcare and social assistance’. They often work with clients to develop short- or long-term payment plans, and may also offer credit advice and debt counseling when necessary.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians $37,110
Medical Transcriptionists $34,890
Medical and Health Services Managers $94,500
Bill and Account Collectors $34,440

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to medical billing and coding is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for medical billing and coding professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA): A national program that connects health informatics professionals and students, AMIA offers individual and professional memberships. The organization holds yearly conferences and provides fellowship opportunities, as well as online courses and webinars covering different topics related to medical informatics.
  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA): This organization is recognized nationally as the premier hub for professional health information management (HIM) education and training. The AHIMA website features information on certification and career options.
  • Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS): An international organization with a branch in North America, HIMSS works to provide training and professional development for members. The HIMSS website features a vast online resource library, links to professional development opportunities and an events calendar.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Medical Billing and Coding Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
Diploma Programs
1 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
2 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI
3 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN
4 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI
5 Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical Winona, MN
6 Minnesota State Commnunity and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN
7 Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, ND
8 Indian Hills Community College Ottumwa, IA
9 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, MN
Certificate Programs
1 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
2 Renton Technical College Renton, WA
3 Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Fennimore, WA
4 Weber State University Ogden, UT
5 Dakota State University Madison, SD
6 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK
7 Lake Land College Mattoon, IL
8 Presentation College Aberdeen, SD
9 University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, AK
10 Montana State University - Billings Billings, MT
11 Great Basin College Elko, NV
12 Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS
13 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS
14 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA
15 Northland Community and Technical College Thief River Falls, MN
16 Collin College McKinney, TX
17 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, GA
18 West Goergia Technical College Waco, GA
19 Darton State College Albany, GA
20 Kirkland Community College Roscommon, MI
21 Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH
Associate Programs
1 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
2 Northwest Technical College Bemidji, MN
3 Cosumnes River College Sacramento, CA
4 Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS
5 Central Maine Community College Auburn, ME