If you have a keen interest in working independently, earning a competitive salary, and having an impact in the healthcare field, then medical billing and coding might be the perfect path for you.
Medical billing and coding professionals play a pivotal role in the healthcare industry, helping healthcare facilities manage insurance claims and invoices, and ensuring that medical professionals are compensated for their services. Beyond medical facilities, job opportunities abound within health insurance companies, specialty pharmacies, medical suppliers, consulting firms, national medical coding and billing companies, and more.
Luckily for Florida residents, this abundance of job opportunities shows no sign of letting up. The state employs nearly 15,000 medical records specialists, second only to California and Texas.
Whether you’re just starting your journey or looking to make a career change, the right education is crucial. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the best medical billing and coding schools in Florida and share tips on how to succeed in this evolving field.
Profiles: Popular Medical Billing and Coding Schools in Florida
To help you get started on your journey, we’ve rounded up some top medical billing and coding schools in Florida. This list is not a ranking but rather a representation of quality schools. They should help give you an idea of what to look for in a program, how to differentiate between programs, and how to identify what appeals to you.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) offers a 100% online course that prepares you for a career in medical billing and coding. You’ll learn the fundamentals of the profession, including the Healthcare Common procedure Coding System (HCPCS) and CPT Category II and ICD-10 codes. The course also ensures that you get hands-on practice using medical billing and coding software.
FGCU’s medical billing and coding program offers open enrollment, so you can register and start the course as soon as you are ready.
Students can complete the certificate track in one year or can earn an associate degree in three years. Upon completion students earn a voucher for the certification exam of their choice: CPC, CCA, or CBCS.
Florida International University
Florida International University (FIU) offers an online medical billing and coding program that equips you to take one of the three certification exams and become a medical billing and coding specialist. Over the course of the program, you’ll learn about CPT Category II codes, ICD-10 codes and other fundamental concepts in medical terminology and health insurance. Florida International University also offers a course on finding a job in the field and an Externship Starter Kit which will help you gain valuable experience before you start working full-time.
If you aren’t interested in medical coding, you can also choose to complete a standalone medical billing course.
Seminole State College of Florida
Seminole State College of Florida offers an applied technology diploma in medical coding and billing through the health information management program. You can earn your diploma with just 37 credit hours in under two years. Most courses are offered online, however some courses may be held on campus. Check the Health Information Management course listing to see a detailed description of each course and its format.
This program is approved by the AHIMA Professional Certificate Approval Program, which signifies that the coursework has passed a peer-review process and met set quality standards. In order to be considered for admission into the program, you must apply and be accepted to Seminole State College of Florida and complete the appropriate steps to enroll.
Skills of Successful Medical Billing and Coding Students
Successful medical billing and coding professionals are usually focused, analytical, and investigative. If you match this profile, or are working to develop these traits, you’ll probably fit right in at a medical billing and coding school. Here are some of the top skills needed to study and work in medical billing and coding:
Adaptability to Technology
The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, driven by technological advancements and software updates. Successful medical billing and coding professionals must stay up to date on the latest software and systems to accurately translate medical procedures into codes. Remaining agile and adaptable will ensure that you’re successful in this field.
Attention to Detail
Medical billing and coding field schools and careers require meticulous attention to detail. To succeed in your chosen program and beyond, you will need to be able to work efficiently and accurately. Whether you’re inputting complex codes or submitting critical patient information, attention to detail is crucial to avoid errors that could impact patient care and reimbursement.
Commitment to Confidentiality
Medical billing/coding professionals are privy to sensitive patient information, from medical histories to payment and financial details. You’ll need to be able to handle this information with discretion in order to safeguard patients from breaches of privacy(and your employers from liability). Familiarizing yourself with HIPAA is a good place to start to learn more about the confidentiality expectations associated with working in healthcare.
Upholding patient privacy not only protects the patients’ well-being but also maintains the integrity of healthcare systems.
Strong Communication Skills
Effective communication is vital in a role that bridges healthcare providers, insurers, and patients. In this field, you’ll likely handle complex and detailed information on a routine basis. Clear and concise communication ensures information is transferred and recorded accurately.
Considerations When Choosing a Medical Billing & Coding School
Selecting the right medical billing and coding school plays a significant role in both your educational journey and future career. To navigate this choice effectively, you should weigh several factors. In this section, we’ll explore some of the most important things to consider while making your decision, and why they matter.
Accreditation is a critical component of any quality program and serves as a benchmark for the school’s legitimacy. By choosing an accredited school, you can ensure that you’ll receive an excellent education that will prepare you for your chosen field. The American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the Commission of Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) are two nationally-respected accrediting organizations in health information management and medical billing/coding. When you research the medical billing/coding schools you’re interested in, be sure to look for their stamp of approval.
Completing a certificate from an accredited program also ensures that you’ll be eligible for the professional certification exam.
Cost & Financial Aid
Finances also play a crucial role in any education decision. How will you pay for your program and support yourself while pursuing a certificate or degree? You should always look for a school that has transparent cost structures so you have a clear understanding of the full cost.
Websites like Coding Clarified can help you find medical coding scholarships specific to your area. By having a financial plan, you can focus on your study and prepare for the next step in your career. You can read our guide to financial aid for medical billing and coding students to learn more.
Curriculum & Certificate Preparation
If you want to work toward a specific role within the field, such as a billing analyst or a coding auditor, you should look for medical billing and coding schools that have classes that will prepare you. It’s also important to get a broad foundation of industry basics, like coding systems, medical terminology, and insurance practices.
You have several options when it comes to the type of course you participate in. Do you prefer online, in-person, or hybrid lessons? Synchronous or asynchronous classes? Think about what type of education suits your learning style best and fits into your ideal schedule.
The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Medical Billing & Coding Professional
Any profession you choose will come with its own unique set of pros and cons. As you decide which educational path to take, you should consider these potential benefits and drawbacks as you make your decision. Luckily, choosing the medical billing and coding field comes with many perks, including remote work and growing job demand.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of working in medical billing/coding:
FAQs About Florida Medical Billing and Coding Programs
We’ve already covered the basics of medical billing and coding schools, programs, and classes, but you likely still have questions. Think of this guide as a jumping off point for more in-depth research. To help answer any remaining questions you may have, we have gathered this list of frequently asked questions from prospective medical billing/coding students. Keep reading to learn more.
Are there any prerequisites for medical billing and coding schools?
Most medical billing and coding schools have specific prerequisites, such as a high school diploma or equivalent. However, you should check the program’s website for the school you’re interested in to make sure you have met any prerequisites.
Some may require additional coursework or experience, like Seminole State College’s certificate program which mandates completion of medical terminology courses.
Do medical billing and coding schools offer online or part-time options?
If you’re looking for a flexible education, pursuing medical billing and coding could be a great fit for you. Most schools offer various learning formats, such as online and hybrid courses as well as part-time options. Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida International University both offer online programs, allowing you to balance school work with professional and other obligations.
How much do medical billers and coders make in Florida?
The salary for medical records specialists (one of the most popular positions for medical billing/coding program graduates) varies according to your employer and city, among other factors. According to the latest BLS data, the annual mean wage is $47,320 for medical billers and coders in Florida, while those in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach area (which has the highest concentration of medical records jobs in the state) earn an average of $48,140 per year. The highest paying medical coder jobs include coding manager, hospital coder, and coding and reimbursement specialist.
Take a look at this page to see your earning potential by city.
What certification exam(s) do I need to take before I can start working?
You have three options for certification exams: CPC, CCA, and CBCS. Each of these certifications signal that you have mastered the fundamentals of billing and coding.
The Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam is offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and is the gold standard entry-level coding certification.
The Certified Coding Associate (CCA) is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). It is an entry-level medical coding certification that qualifies students to work across a host of medical settings—from physician practices to inpatient hospitals. The Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) is offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and is currently an entry-level medical billing certification for physician practices.
Getting certified will also help you earn more: a study conducted by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) found that certified medical coders earned 27 percent more than those without a certification
What is the process for applying to a medical billing and coding school?
Once you find the program that fits best for you, the application process is straightforward. Though specific requirements vary by program and school, there are some general admissions requirements, including a high school diploma and a GPA of 2.0 or higher. You will typically need to submit your scores from the SAT or ACT exam as well.
Read our medical billing and coding admissions guide to learn more about the application process and beyond.