Medical Insurance Coding Certificate Programs in San Diego, CA

Training in medical insurance coding is available at a few schools in San Diego, CA. To find out which one suits your goals, read overviews of certificate program requirements at three colleges within 15 miles of the downtown area.

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San Diego Medical Insurance Coding Schools

Individuals interested in working in the medical field without having to attend school for many years may wish to pursue careers as medical coding and billing specialists. There are multiple schools in the San Diego area offering training that can prepare students for certification in the industry. Get information on the coursework required for programs at three institutions, and then look over a table of school statistics. Some details on an additional college in the area is also provided.

  • San Diego State University offers a medical coding and billing + medical terminology course that prepares students for careers in the health career field. The campus is about 11 miles from the city's center.
  • Southwestern College, located roughly 14 miles from downtown San Diego, offers a basic medical assistant: coding and insurance certificate program that prepares students for entry-level positions as medical coding specialists.
  • Located around 14 miles from downtown, the University of California - San Diego has a hospital coding specialist certificate program as part of its continuing education offerings.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University was founded in 1897 and has since grown to become a large college offering more than 180 degree programs. Additionally, its College of Extended Studies offers lifelong learning classes, career advancement courses, online courses and certificate programs.

Medical Coding and Billing + Medical Terminology

SDSU offers this course through its College of Extended Studies. Students learn to manually and electronically file claims using codes from the ICD (International Classification of Diseases), CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) and HCPCS (Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System) coding systems. The course provides an introduction to CPT and ICD-9 and their guidelines, with a focus on specialty fields such as radiology, surgery and laboratory procedures. Students complete 80 hours of study, with medical terminology taking up 19.5 of those hours.

Upon completion of this course, participants are ready to sit for certification exams. Possible credentials include Certified Coding Associate (CCA) through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and Certified Professional Coder (CPC) through the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).

Southwestern College

Located in the southern portion of San Diego County between San Diego and the U.S - Mexican international border, Southwestern College offers more than 320 associate degree and certificate programs. The college also offers professional and personal development courses.

Medical Assistant: Coding and Insurance - Basic Certificate of Achievement

This program teaches students how to validate medical codes for reimbursement using the ICD-9 and the CPT systems. Students take courses in keyboarding, medical terminology, medical coding and medical office procedures. Completing this basic program prepares students to take the CCA certification exam. Southwestern College also offers this program in an intermediate version.

University of California - San Diego (UC San Diego)

With a unique location between the U.S.-Mexican border, the Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Rim, UC San Diego enrolls a variety of students pursuing various academic programs. The college offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs, study-abroad opportunities and many student organizations. The UC San Diego Extension offers hundreds of courses and more than 80 certificate programs.

Hospital Coding Specialist Certificate

This program touches on various health-related topics, including medical terminology, pharmacology, disease processes and coding. This program requires completion of 39 credits. In addition to completing courses, each student completes a practicum course to gain hands-on training and experience using the various medical software programs. Applicants must have high school diplomas or the equivalent. Those who lack coding knowledge must take a basic coding course prior being accepted in the course.

Comparison of Schools

The campus environment, size of the student body and the tuition rates are all matters that could impact your education decision. Check out this table to learn about these factors as well as others for each of the profiled schools.

San Diego State University Southwestern College University of California - San Diego
School Type 4-year, public 2-year, public 4-year, public
Total Enrollment (2011) 30,541* 20,409* 28,593*
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Large city
Tuition (Fall 2012) $1,799 course fee** $943-$989 tuition only for residents; $4,838-$5,074 tuition only for non-residents*** $4,700 (10 courses plus certificate fee)****
% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2011) 60%* 73%* 75%*
Acceptance Rate (2011) 30% admitted* Open admissions* 38% admitted*
Retention Rate (2010-2011) 89% of full-time*70% of full-time* 96% of full-time*
Graduation Rate (2011) 66%* 12%* 85%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator, **San Diego State University, ***Southwestern College, ****University of California - San Diego

Other School Options

A medical office specialist certificate program is also offered at Palomar College, located roughly 37 miles from downtown San Diego.

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