Great news for graduates of medical billing schools in California--salaries in some areas of The Golden State have not only increased, but skyrocketed, in the past few years! Now is an excellent time to get into the medical billing field, and a wide range of options are available to consider, whether you will pursue a diploma, degree or certification course. (See specific wage data at the bottom of the page).
A key component to any medical coding and billing school is how much hands-on experience you will be given. As you research each school, ask to speak with former students, and dig deep into their experience: do they feel they were adequately prepared for employment? How much and what kinds of hands-on experience were they given? Speak with several former students if possible to compare their experiences and impressions so you can develop a clear view of what the program really entails and if it meets your desired needs.
Your career goals will determine the type of program you should be considering. For example, programs that cover medical coding extensively may not be necessary if you are aspiring to work in a smaller practitioner's office where very little, if any, coding will be required of you. On the other hand, if you are planning to work in a large medical facility, medical coding may be a necessity to be hired.
Numerous opportunities for employment exist once education at medical billing schools in California has been completed. Medical billing specialists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, individual healthcare providers' offices, clinics, physical, occupational, and speech therapy providers or clinics, nursing homes, mental health providers, home health agencies, or from a home office.
Urban areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco employ numerous medical billing and coding professionals after their graduation from medical billing schools in California; in addition, Central Valley cities such as Sacramento, Fresno, and Bakersfield are also large employers. Oakland is the headquarters of Kaiser Permanente, an integrated managed care consortium, which has 8.7 million health plan members and 167,300 employees.
According the the U.S. Department of Labor, (www.bls.gov) The Golden State ranks number 1 for States with the highest employment level in the medical billing and coding field with 17,290 employed in the industry. In addition, medical coders and billers in California receive a mean hourly rate of $21.82, and a mean annual wage of $45,380, which is significantly above the national averages of $17.26 and $35,900 respectively. Other areas of California reported the following wage data:
|Area||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Wage||+/-Change since 2012|
|San Diego - Carlsbad - San Marcos, CA||$20.49||$42,630||+$4K|
|El Centro, CA||$17.97||$37,380||+$1.5K|
|Santa Ana - Anaheim - Irvine, CA||$20.52||$42,680||+$1K|
|Riverside - San Bernadino - Ontario, CA||$21.70||$45,140||+$4K|
|Los Angeles - Long Beach - Glendale,CA||$21.70||$45,110||+$10K|
|Oxnard - Thousand Oaks - Ventura, CA||$19.04||$39,600||+$4K|
|Santa Barbara - Santa Maria - Goleta, CA||$20.72||$43.100||+$6K|
|San Luis Obispo - San Robles, CA||$22.04||$45,850||+$7K|
|Hanford - Corcoran, CA||$21.19||$44,080||+$4K|
|Visalia - Porterville, CA||$18.44||$38,360||+$5K|
|San Jose - Sunnyvale - Santa Clara, CA||$26.46||$55,040||+$8K|
|Santa Cruz - Watsonville, CA||$27.48||$57,160||+$11K|
|San Francisco - San Mateo - Redwood City,CA||$25.61||$53,270||+$10K|
|Oakland - Freemont - Hayward, CA||$26.77||$55,680||+$15K|
|Mother Lode Region||$19.61||$40,790||+$2K|
|Vallejo - Fairfield, CA||$23.87||$49,650||+$7K|
|Sacramento - Arden Arcade- Roseville, CA||$23.50||$48,870||+$7K|
|Santa Rosa - Petaluma, CA||$20.65||$42,960||+$9K|
|North Coast Region Non-metropolitan area||$16.51||$34,350||+$5K|
|Northern Mountains Non-metropolitan Area||$18.91||$39,330||+$1K|
California boasts three of the top paying areas in the nation for medical coding and billing professionals. Third in the country is the Santa Cruz - Watsonville area, with an hourly wage of $27.48 and an annual income of $57,160; Fourth in the nation is the Oakland, Fremont, Hayward area with an hourly wage of $26.77 and an annual wage of $55,680; Fifth ranked San Jose -Sunnyville area comes in with $26.46 hourly and $55,040 annually
The US Bureau of Labor statistics compiles wage data on a wide range of jobs in the United States every two years. When we first wrote this page, we used data from 2012; now we have updated the data to reflect the most recent numbers available from 2014.
What really struck us as we were comparing this data was the huge increase some areas of California experienced. In just two years, wages have risen in all areas of the state, but some areas really hit the jackpot. For example, some areas saw increases north of $10,000 per year--places like Los Angeles (+10K), , Santa Cruz (+11K), Oakland (+15K), and the biggest winner, Redding at an increase of $16K per year.
While many areas of the country experienced significant growth, California far outpaced many other areas in terms of increased salary; some other areas of the country unfortunately suffered decreases during this same time period.
Regardless of your field of interest, a huge selection of medical billing schools in California are available for you to choose from. According to the folks at California.gov, there are are over 1200 post secondary schools offering everything from vocational to degree programs. You also have 112 community colleges (Jr colleges)and 16 State universities. And with wages going up at the rate they have been in the past two years, now is the time to get going on your education!
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