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Medical Coding Specialist Certificate

Program Information

This certificate program was created to provide education for entry into the coding field in an entry-level position as a coder in an acute care hospital, ambulatory care, physician office, long-term care and other health care settings.

Students who earn the Medical Coding Specialist Certificate are eligible to sit for the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) examination given by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

For more information on the CCA credential, please visit AHIMA's certification webpage.

As a Medical Coding Specialist, you are a valuable member of the health information team who ensures that valid codes are applied to medical diagnoses and procedures to facilitate reimbursement, analysis of patient outcomes and research. Successful completing of the program provides you with a working knowledge of:

  • Patient clinical record content, both inpatient and outpatient
  • Physiological changes and altered functions in the human body resulting from disease processes.
  • ICD, CPT/HCPCS diagnostic and procedural coding systems, and common coding errors.
  • Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs), Resource-Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS), Ambulatory Payment Classifications (APCs), components of fee setting, optimizing reimbursement based on insurance specifications.
  • Basic pharmacological terminology and concepts, drug categories and their uses, mechanisms of drug action, dosage forms and routes of administration.
  • Data quality impact and characteristics, including validity, reliability, completeness, legibility, currency, timeliness and accessibility.
  • Encoders and groupers, their benefits and limitations.
  • Legal aspects of heath care, confidentiality requirements.
  • Microcomputer applications and topics related to computers in health care.


Online Learning

Courses in the Medical Coding Specialist Certificate Program are offered totally online. All course content and exams are delivered online. Students interested in pursuing an education via online delivery must be highly motivated, independent learners, possessing excellent organizational and time management skills. Students must have email and high-speed Internet access. No on-campus attendance is required.

Since this an entirely online program, students must be familiar with how to use the internet, email, uploading and downloading files, and the use of various common word processing programs. Please review technical requirements for HIT/CIM department.


PCAP Approved

The Medical Coding Specialist Program at Santa Barbara City College is approved by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). For more information on AHIMA or the approval process please visit or contact AHIMA at 312-233-1100 or at 233 N. Michigan Avenue, 21st Floor, Chicago, IL 60601-5809


Applying for Admission to the Program

There is no separate application to this program. You would simply complete the college application. Please go to our Application page for instructions.

Curriculum/Department Requirements

Department requirements in their recommended course sequence is listed here.  Check out specific prerequisites here. 

Program Cost

Students enroll in classes prior to each semester and fees are paid prior to each semester.
Fees are different for students who are California residents and non-residents.
California resident enrollment fee = $46 per unit
Non-resident tuition and fees = $331 per unit

Cost of Medical Coding Department Requirements:
California residents = $46 x 38 units = $1,748
Non-residents = $331 x 38 units = $12,578
(Transfer credit will reduce the cost.)

Additional fees will apply. A full list of fees is available HERE.

Prerequisites/Transcript Evaluations

For procedures to verify completion of HIT prerequisites and to view a specific list of class prerequisites and course advisories. 
Instructions for Completing a Transcript Evaluation can be found on our Transcript Evaluation page. 

Financial Aid

SBCC's financial aid information is available online on the SBCC Financial Aid page, or call the office at: (805) 965-0581 x 2417. Advance planning is required to complete the necessary paperwork in short timeframes!

For information on Board of Governors Fee Waivers, scholarships, etc., please go to the SBCC Financial Aid page.


Once you have registered and paid for your course, please review our Orientation for Enrolled Students. During the first week of class, you will complete online orientation exercises designed to familiarize you with the course and the online classroom. If you have any problems or difficulties with one or more of these steps, contact us immediately.


Textbooks are available for online order at once you have registered and the online bookstore has opened for the semester.

Grade Requirements

Students must complete all department requirements with a grade of 'C' or better. Pass grading is not permitted in a student’s major area of study.

Candidates must complete at least 20% of the HIT/CIM program requirements through SBCC.

Recommended Course Loads

Students who are newcomers to online learning or have a low comfort level with computers may want to limit their first semester to 3 units. Students who work full-time and have family and personal commitments are advised to limit enrollment to 6 units per semester. Students who work 20 hours per week and have family and personal commitments are advised to limit enrollment to 9 units per semester. It is recommended that students limit their enrollment in SBCC's short 6 week summer session to one HIT/CIM class.

For more information, go to our Course Guidelines page.

Additional Information

For additional information, please contact:

Lynette M. Williamson, Ed. D, MBA, RHIA, CCS, CPC, FAHIMA
Program Director; Medical Coding Specialist Certificate Program

Santa Barbara City College
721 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA 93109-2394
(805) 965-0581 x 2851

Dr. Gwyer Schuyler
HIT/CIM Academic Counselor

Santa Barbara City College
721 Cliff Drive,
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 965-0581 x 2569
Fax: (805) 560-0591 ATT: Gwyer


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