Florida Medical Billing Schools

Students researching Florida medical billing schools have many options. From online or correspondence courses to degree programs on college campuses, prospective enrollees will be able to find the program that best fits their specific needs. The Sunshine State is home to more than 120 private schools and 40 public colleges, many of which offer programs in medical billing and coding.

And the good news is that Florida is one of the top states for numbers of medical billing jobs available, and overall wages in the state have risen at an average of over $2,000 a year since 2012--with one city in Florida rising over $10,000 per year in the two year span from 2012 to 2014! (See more specific wage data for many cities in Florida below.)

Align Your Goals to the Program

The best Florida medical billing schools for each individual will be different depending on your goals. Those planning to work in a large medical facility where knowledge of medical coding is necessary, you will want to find a program which includes a significant amount of coding experience.  If your goal is ultimately to open your own medical billing business, you may not need a program which includes medical coding work, as this is not typically done in a work from home setting; rather, the codes are already assigned by the provider's office before being sent to you. If this is the case, a full Associate's Degree may not be necessary.

Hands-On Learning is Critical

Most programs promise some form of hands-on learning, but not all offer the same types of experiences, and the quality and type of "hands-on" can vary widely. Students should work with materials that mimic the billing and reimbursement cycle, so they can practice how to do medical billing, not just view a power point presentation showing it. Some programs, though not all, offer internships that give real-world experience, and ideally can also provide a reference to take to a job interview.The best way to find out how practical this component of any program you are considering is to ask to speak with both current and former students so you can get a feel for the type of hands-on learning you can expect.

Is the Program Accredited?

Accreditation ensures that certain quality standards are met, and helps you determine whether these Florida medical billing schools meets your employment goals. Be sure to do an internet search of the accrediting body to find out if it has any complaints filed or, worst case, if it is a bogus accrediting body. Looking for reviews of both the program and accrediting body will turn up a wealth of information. Be sure to dig a little deeper than the first hit in your search.

Florida Medical Billing Schools and Employment Opportunities

Once education is completed at one of the Florida medical billing schools, prospective workers will find numerous employment opportunities in the major urban areas of Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa - St. Petersburg, Orlando, Tallahassee, and Fort Lauderdale, as well as smaller cities in FL. Employment settings range from hospitals and clinics, individual healthcare providers' offices, occupational and physical therapy offices, and from home offices.

Many of the Everglade State's hospitals offer employment to graduates from Florida medical billing schools. For example, Florida Hospital, which is based in central Florida, is the largest health care provider in the United States, caring for more than 1.5 million patients each year. Tampa General is one of the region's largest employers, with 6900 employees; Miami boasts two major networks: the Jackson Health System and Baptist Health South Florida; and Jacksonville is home to 17 hospitals.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Florida ranks #3 in the country for states with the highest employment level in the medical billing and coding field, with 9,200 employees who make a mean wage of $18.15 per hour and $37,760 annually.

The US Bureau of Labor statistics most current wage data report from 2014 shows that this is slightly above the national averages of $17.26 and $35,900 respectively, which is a significant gain--the previous report in 2012 showed Florida slightly below the national average.

In addition, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reports the following wage data for 2014 (the most recent year available):

Area Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage +/- Change Since 2012
Pensacola - Ferry Pass - Brent, FL $18.08 $37,610 $+5K
Northwest FL Non-metropolitan Area $16.47 $34,250 $-2K
Tallahassee, FL $17.60 $36,600 $+1K
Northeast FL Non-metropolitan Area $16.26 $33,830 $+3K
Gainsville, FL $17.84 $37,110 $-1.5K
Jacksonville, FL $18.24 $37,940 $+4K
Ocala, FL $19.21 $39,960 $+8K
Deltona - Daytona Beach, Ormond, FL $16.89 $35,120 $+2K
Orlando - Kissemmee - Sanford, FL $17.80 $37,030 $+3.5K
Palm Bay - Melbourne, Titusville, FL $16.26 $33,810 +$600
Lakeland - Winter Haven, FL $15.55 $32,340 $-6K
Tampa - -St. Petersburg - Clearwater, FL $19.67 $40,920 $+3.5K
Port St. Lucie, FL $19.75 $41,080 $+5K
West Palm Beach - Boca Raton - Boynton Beach, FL 18.26 $37,990 $+2K
Punta Gorda, FL $19.40 $40,350 $+10K
Cape Coral - Fort Meyers,FL $17.71 $36,840 +$700
Naples - Marco Island, FL $19.19 $39,850 $+2K
Fort Lauderdale - Pompano Beach - Deerfield Beach, FL $19.17 $39.880 $-4K
Miami - Miami Beach - Kendall, FL $17.18 $35,720 $+5K
South Florida Non-metropolitan Area $15.40 $32,030 $+2K

In comparing the data in the chart above, most areas of Florida have made real gains in wages, although there are some unfortunate declines in a few areas.

Punta Gorda is the biggest winner, with a whopping $10,000 annual salary gain over just the two years between 2012 and 2014. Other notable cities include Ocala, with $8,000 in additional annual income; the Pensacola/Ferry Pass/Brent area, Port St. Lucie, and Miami/Miami Beach/Kendall, each with a $5,000 annual increase; Jacksonville, which saw a $4,000 gain; and Tampa with $3,500 more salary annually.

Declines came in a minority of Florida cities, with annual losses of -1.5K in Gainsville; -6K in Lakeland; -4K in Ft. Lauderdale, and -2K in the smaller communities in Northwest Florida.

Despite this, the overall salary outlook remains positive and continues to increase, making this an attractive field to get into. And with the US Census estimating that the population of Florida has increased by 5.8% since 2010, opportunities in the medical billing field will continue to grow.

› Florida Medical Billing Schools

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