SBVC to Offer Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

Medical billing and coding are making a strong comeback in the employment market, and San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) is welcoming students to get ready for the many good-paying opportunities ahead. 
 
This semester, the campus has launched classes for students to earn a medical billing and coding certificate. 
 
In the past, similar certificates have been available, including office technology certificates, but SBVC’s Dr. Stephanie Lewis said this is the first year the college is specifically offering the medical billing and coding certificate. 
 
“It's a wonderful program. It's the first step to either work in the front office or back office for physicians offices or in the hospital setting or areas that specifically deal with billing in the medical field,” said Dr. Lewis, Dean of Mathematics, Business & Computer Technology. 
 
Students carrying a full load of courses can realistically expect to finish the certificate within two to three semesters, depending on how they build their classes within their schedule, she said. 
 
The field is in high demand, and pays well. 
 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year the median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $40,350. Going forward, the demand for health information technician jobs is expected to increase as the population ages. Growth projections are 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. According to Salary.com, medical and billing technicians can earn between $38,666 and $46,963 
 
Students are required to take the core courses, including biology as an introduction to anatomy and physiology. They will take keyboarding, business English and medical terminology. Also, medical insurance billing and coding along with an introduction to electronic health records and personal computers. 
 
The certificate is also attractive to students that are pursuing nursing, pharmacy technician or other related health fields. 
 
“Sometimes, they’ll take these courses just to broaden their background in the medical field  in general,” she said. 
 
She said the course also gives students a good understanding of the depth and breadth of the field. Within the certificate, there are three medical type courses, including medical insurance billing and coding, electronic health records, along with medical terminology. Conversational Spanish along with medical office procedures are recommended courses. 
 
Students will also gain a broad mix of adjacent skills. 
 
“They have to be able to  use the keyboard and to write and speak well, that’s the Business English course,” she said. “The total units for this is 22, so a student could finish this within two semesters if they went full time.” 
 
Currently, there is a national movement to get medical records digitized and accessible. The field is open for healthy employment prospects, and earnings potential for years to come. She said they recently brought on two new adjunct faculty members to better serve the growing interest and student needs. 
 
“We are pleased to have them on board. We’re pretty excited about it,” she said.