Medical Billing and Coding

The application period for Fall 2013 admission is CLOSED. Applications for Fall 2014 will be accepted Feb. 1 to May 25, 2014.

Medical Billing & Coding

Students must apply and be formally accepted into the Medical Billing & Coding program prior to enrolling in any Medical Billing & Coding program courses.

Entrance into the Medical Billing and Coding program is highly competitive.

  • Check back Feb. 1 for the Fall 2014 application.

More Information

Review the menu below for a career overview, program overview and additional information.

Career Overview

Job Description

Billers and Coders:

  • Locate medical codes such as CPT and ICD codes
  • Obtain insurance referrals
  • Process insurance claim forms
  • Bill third-party payers and patients
  • Track insurance claims
  • Write appeals on claims

Performance Essentials

To successfully complete the program and practice as a Medical Biller and Coder, student must be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. Students are encouraged to meet with the Disability & Access Center to discuss potential issues associated with meeting these requirements.

Career Resources

The SWIC Career Activities and Employment Center offers a Career Mentor program, including job shadowing.

The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook provides additional career information.

 Job Opportunities

A variety of employers are seeking individuals trained in Billing and Coding:

  • Small and large group practices
  • Dental offices
  • Health clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmacies
  • Nursing homes
  • Mental care facilities
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Insurance companies
  • Health maintenance organizations

Career Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that medical information and claims processing will continue to grow much faster than other occupations throughout the year 2018.

Cross-training as a medical assistant in administrative and clinical duties frequently makes the medical biller and coder more marketable than individuals specializing in billing and coding only. In the local area, most offices do not have sufficient work to keep someone employed full time strictly in billing and coding.

Salary

Starting Salary

Starting salaries are about $25,320 annually, depending on the facility and the training and skills of the medical biller and coder.

Salary with Certification

Certified Professional Coders make approximately 5 to 10 percent more than non-certified coders.

Applicants

Application Requirements

Materials Needed to Apply

Students must apply and be formally accepted into the Medical Billing & Coding program before beginning program courses.

Applicants must submit the following to the Enrollment Services Office:

1. Medical Billing & Coding application

  • Applications are available between Feb. 1 and May 25 each year for fall start.

Supporting documentation (transcripts, test scores, etc.) must be on file by identified deadlines.

Proof of completion of prerequisite courses:

A computer literacy requirement must be completed to be considered for admission.

  • Grades earned in college courses must be at least a C, although higher grades earn more application points.
  • The most recent grade in courses meeting these requirements will be used.

2. Official transcripts

  • Official high school transcripts or proof of GED
  • Official transcripts from all colleges, universities or accredited schools of Medical Billing & Coding attended
  • SWIC transcript evaluation form, a requirement for the transfer of credits from another institution

3. Test Scores

  • Complete the COMPASS test: The COMPASS placement test identifies skill levels in math, reading and writing. Students must score high enough to be eligible to enroll in ENG 101 and above MATH 94. If COMPASS results are too low, students must complete required developmental courses prior to enrolling in BIOL 157, BIOL 158, ACCT 105 or ACCT 110.

Questions?

For an individual review of your application, contact the Health Sciences coordinator's assistant.

 

Prepare to Apply 

Complete Prerequisite Requirements

A computer literacy requirement must be completed to apply for the Medical Billing &Coding program.

Fill out the Planning Guide

Entrance into the Medical Billing & Coding program is highly competitive. The Medical Billing & Coding Planning Guide explains application requirements and offers suggestions on how to maximize points in each section to increase chances of being accepted to the program.

Understand the Application Point System

Applications are rated by a point system, with points based on:

Questions?

For an individual review of your planning guide, contact the Health Sciences coordinator's assistant.

 

Applicant Selection 

Application Point System

Applications for the Medical Billing & Coding program will be rated on a point system, with points based on:

Notification of Acceptance:

Applicants will be notified of their status regarding admission as quickly as possible given the number of applications received.

Fewer Candidates than Seats Available:

In the event that there are fewer qualified candidates than there are spaces available, applications will continue to be accepted until the program's maximum capacity has been reached at each of the campuses or until the first week of classes during the fall semester.

The college reserves the right to fill the program in those years when there are fewer applicants than spaces available by whatever means it deems necessary to assure both academic integrity and fairness in the selection process.

More Candidates than Seats Available:

Applicants residing outside the SWIC district or in a district that does not have a joint agreement with SWIC for this program will not be eligible for consideration or admission if there are more applicants than positions to be filled. Search the college catalog for Interdistrict Cooperative Agreements. Residency status is determined by address on file with the Enrollment Services Office by June 15 for fall admission.

The admission procedures for the Medical Billig & coding program are in accordance with Illinois law. The law requires that programs with insufficient space and resources to accommodate all applicants will accept the best qualified applicants using rank, ability and achievement scores as guides, with preference given to students residing in the district

Other Requirements

The following criteria are required of students enrolled in the program and all information will be explained in detail at program orientation meetings.

Orientation and Performance:

Students who are given permission to enroll in this program must attend all required orientation sessions and be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. Students are encouraged to meet with the Disability & Access Center to discuss potential issues associated with meeting these requirements.

Insurance:

Auto and health insurance are required during clinical education courses. Students are personally responsible for any costs incurred for injuries occurring during their clinical experience.

Medical Requirements:

These requirements do not have to be fulfilled until they are explained at the orientation meeting. Medical Billing and Coding students will be required to show proof of immunizations, TB test and physical examination before beginning any clinical experience.

Background Check:

View background check and drug testing requirements. View a list of disqualifying convictions from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Graduation Requirements:

Student enrolled in the program must follow the requirements for graduation at the time they are admitted and must meet all course, program, degree and sequencing requirements specified. Students are responsible for program policies as listed in each year's Medical Billing and Coding Student Handbook. Students who fail to meet program specific requirements will be dropped from the program.

Program Overview

Course Sequence

The Southwestern Illinois College Medical Billing and Coding certificate program prepares graduates to submit claims to insurance companies or Medicare in order to receive payment for services provided to a patient by a medical doctor or other licensed health care provider.

Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

Medical Billing & Coding Certificate (021D) Course Sequence

This is a 44-credit-hour certificate program, which can be completed in four semesters.

The Medical Billing and Coding certificate allows students outside of the Medical Assistant program to gain recognition for completing the core courses of billing and coding. The curriculum is a component of the Medical Assistant and the Health Information Technology progrms which includes medical terminology, medical office procedures, medical insurance and coding, clinical coding, business law, accounting and assigned clinical experiences.

Prerequisites may be required for some courses. Refer to the college catalog for specific course information.

General Education Courses

General education courses can be completed prior to admission. These courses can be taken at the Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City or Red Bud campuses. If general education courses are not completed prior to admission, they must be completed during the semesters indicated above.

Medical Billing and Coding Courses

Billing and Coding classes begin each fall at the Belleville Campus. These courses are only offered during the day. Click the link above to view the course list.

Clinical Education Experiences

Students have a chance to put their classroom knowledge to work during two externships in area medical facilities:

  • MA 192: Administrative Externship for 100 hours during the third semester of the program
  • MA 243: Clinical Coding Practicum for 120 hours during the final semester of the program

Clinical experience courses are completed off campus in various settings. Students may be required to travel outside of the college district for clinical experience and must have background checks and drug testing prior to starting the clinical experience.

Program Capacity 

Belleville Campus Capacity

The Billing and Coding program generally accepts a limited number of students at the Belleville Campus each fall semester.

Program Location

The Medical Billing and Coding program consists of general education courses, MA pre-fix courses, HIT pre-fix courses, and assigned clinical education experiences. Specific locations depend on the course type.

General Education Courses

These courses can be taken at the Belleville, Sam Wolf Granite City or Red Bud campuses.

Medical Billing and Coding Courses

These courses are only offered at the Belleville Campus during the day.

Clinical Education Experiences

Students are assigned clinical experiences in the third and fourth semesters of the program. Clinical experience courses are completed off campus in various settings. Students may be required to travel outside of the college district for clinical experience and must have background checks and drug testing prior to starting the clinical experience.

Program Cost 

Medical Billing and Coding Certificate

For details, see the Medical Billing and Coding cost sheet.

Time Commitment

Full-Time Students

Students who enroll full time will attend school four to five days per week throughout the two-year certificate program.

Part-Time Students

If planning to attend part time, students must meet with the program coordinator to develop a schedule for program completion. Although students may take up to 3 years to complete the program, it is STRONGLY discouraged as many students have difficulty retaining knowledge of materials taught in earlier semesters.

Clinical Education Experiences

Whether attending full time or part time, all students must be available 30-40 hours per week to complete the clinical education portion of the program which is a total of 220 hours of practical experience.

More Details

Certification Requirements

Certified Professional Coder Exam

After successfully completing 44 credit hours, students will earn a Medical Billing and Coding certificate and will be eligible to take the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam through the American Academy of Professional Coders. Although certification is not required to practice Billing and Coding, it is strongly advised as many employers require it.

Certification Benefits

Certified Professional Coders make approximately 5 to 10 percent more than non-certified coders.

Contacts

For more information about this program, please contact:

Coordinator's Assistant Candice Rodgers

618-235-2700, ext. 5355
Candice.Rodgers@swic.edu

Enrollment Admissions Evaluators

618-235-2700,
ext. 5541 or 5542