Become a Medical Biller & Coder in California

Many Medical Billing & Coding Specialists enjoy remote work conditions and a flexible schedule, while working in a stable and virtually recession-proof industry.

Education and Training

To get started, you can take one of the online certification courses below.

Search Medical Billing and Coding Programs

Get information on Medical Billing and Coding programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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What Benefits Does the Program Provide?

You will be able to take any of the three major certification exams upon completion:

Certified Professional Coder offered by AAPC

AAPC logo

Certified Coding Associate offered by AHIMA

AHIMA logo

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist offered by NHA

NHANOW logo

Getting certified is necessary to qualify for a lucrative position in the industry. A voucher that covers the exam fee is included in the price.

The flexibility of an online courses allows students with other work, home, or family obligations to fit the classes into their busy schedules.

How Long Is It?

The course, which is a total of 370 hours takes most student 12 months.  However, since it is an online program, you have the ability to finish faster if you want to.

An Associate of Applied Science degree can take as long as two years.

How Much Does it Cost?

Total price is about $3,200.  If you want to finance and pay monthly, that is option too.

monthly financing chart

What Do You Study?

The coursework will covers essential topics, from translating medical diagnoses into specific codes to practicing industry-specific computer skills. For the most part, these programs take both titles into account, training students to work as coders and billers.

Classes typically include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Various coding principals, including CPT/HCPCS
  • Electronic health records
  • Claims processing
  • Health insurance
  • Legal policies

At some medical billing and coding schools, the curriculum includes an externship that allows students to intern at a hospital, doctor’s office, or another healthcare facility. During these on-site classes, students can apply the information and hands-on training they’ve learned in the classroom to real-life situations.

Other Local Trade Schools

    American Career College
    ACC has a fast track program that is 100% online with an in-person externship.

    • Anaheim, Ontario, Los Angeles


    Arizona College of Nursing
    7 month diploma program with morning and evening classes. No GED required.

    • Ontario


    Blake Austin College
    The Health Information Management, Billing, and Coding (HIMBC) program at Blake Austin College offers a comprehensive 10-month curriculum designed for those interested in healthcare and technology. The program covers medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology, and various medical software applications, providing practical, hands-on training to ensure students are well-prepared for careers in healthcare administration. Graduates are qualified to work in diverse healthcare settings such as hospitals, physician offices, nursing homes, insurance companies, and as independent billing contractors.

    • Sacramento


    Carrington College
    Hybrid format medical billing program accredited by ACCJC/WASC.

    • Citrus Heights, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento, San Jose, San Leandro, Stockton


    Central Coast College

    • Salinas


    Charter College

    • Canyon Country, Lancaster, Oxnard


    DeVry University
    DeVry University offers two online medical billing and coding certificate programs designed to prepare students for industry certifications like CCS or CPC. These programs emphasize essential skills in health information technology, medical terminology, and coding systems such as ICD-10 and CPT. Students can choose between a more comprehensive Health Information Coding program, ideal for roles in large healthcare systems, or a standard Medical Billing and Coding program, tailored for smaller healthcare settings. Both programs are offered entirely online, providing flexibility for students to study at their own pace, with new classes starting every 8 weeks.

    • Newark, Ontario, Encino, San Diego, San Jose


    Institute of Technology

    • Clovis, Modesto, Redding


    Laurus College
    2 year Occupational Associate Degree in Medical Billing & Coding.

    • Atascadero, Oxnard, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Chula Vista


    National Career College
    Medical Office Specialist Program that blends billing and coding with office administration.

    • Panorama City


    Pima Medical Institute
    9 month on campus certificate program.

    • San Diego, San Marcos


    San Joaquin Valley College
    SJVC’s online Medical Billing and Coding program prepares students for administrative roles in healthcare. The program offers flexible learning options, allowing students to earn a Certificate in as few as 7 months or an Associate’s degree in as few as 15 months. The curriculum includes foundational medical office skills, medical insurance principles, CPR and first aid, and patient registration and intake. With affordable tuition that varies by program and location, SJVC ensures students gain the real-world skills needed for a successful career in medical billing and coding.

    • Atascadero, Bakersfield, Delano, Fresno, Hanford, Hesperia, Lancaster, Madera, Salida, Ontario, Porterville, Rancho Cordova, Temecula, Visalia


    Southern California Health Institute
    Online and in-class program with career services.

    • Reseda


    UEI College
    Online and in-class program with career services.

    • Anaheim, Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Encino, Fresno, Gardena, Huntington Park, Ontario, Riverside, Sacramento, San Marcos, Stockton, West Covina


California Requirements

General requirements for enrolling in a medical billing and coding certificate program in CA include being at least 18 years old and possessing a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.

California has no other specific requirements.  However, individuals still must meet the various standards of their school, state, and potential employers.

HIPAA Training

Because medical billers and coders work with sensitive information, they must receive the required training and certification to handle this confidential data.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) ensures all healthcare professionals keep patient health information private.

Medical records specialists can acquire HIPAA certification through their training program.

Certifications

After attending a certificate program, graduates can take an exam to earn their official medical billing and coding license.

While this is not an official state requirement, many employers prefer to hire individuals who complete the American Academy of Professional Coders exam and obtain their billing and/or coding certification.

Medical billers can take and pass the Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS) exam to earn their license, while the Certified Coding Associate (CCA) certification exam is specific to coders.

Other standard certifications include:

  • Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC)
  • Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P)
  • Certified Outpatient Coder (COC)

The more qualifications and education you can get the better in terms of career opportunities and salary.

Recertification & Continuing Education

Certified medical billers and coders do not need to apply for annual recertification in California.

However, they should stay up to date on changes regarding coding rules and regulations, medical legislation, and other aspects of the job. Some medical billing and coding trade schools and colleges offer continuing education credits for current professionals.

Registered Health Information Technician

Several California medical billing and coding schools offer Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) courses as well. To obtain this highly desirable qualification, students must complete a two-year degree program and pass the AHIMA exam.

Having this certification can improve a medical billing and coding job seeker’s prospects and help them earn a higher starting salary than non-certified applicants.

This is the equivalent of a two-year degree culminating in an examination set by AHIMA.  A number of California medical billing and coding schools offer this course and it is a highly desirable qualification.

Salary Range

According to the US Bureau of Labor, the average salary in the state is $64,070, and California employs the most specialists.

According to ZipRecruiter that number is more like $46, 299 and $46,157 according to Salary.com.

Using the BLS data, below are some average salaries and hourly wages for areas of the state.

Area Hourly Annual
Bakersfield $27.06 $56,270.00
Chico $28.31 $58,870.00
Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode $27.77 $57,760.00
El Centro $25.29 $52,610.00
Fresno $27.75 $57,730.00
Hanford-Corcoran $24.66 $51,300.00
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim $29.10 $60,530.00
Madera $27.43 $57,050.00
Merced $24.88 $51,750.00
Modesto $25.76 $53,590.00
Napa $29.58 $61,520.00
North Coast $23.76 $49,420.00
North Valley-Northern Mountains $26.41 $54,920.00
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura $28.47 $59,210.00
Redding $24.90 $51,790.00
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario $30.56 $63,570.00
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade $34.11 $70,950.00
Salinas $26.32 $54,750.00
San Diego-Carlsbad $29.33 $61,010.00
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $36.53 $75,980.00
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara $39.98 $83,150.00
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande $27.98 $58,200.00
Santa Cruz-Watsonville $27.53 $57,260.00
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara $26.64 $55,410.00
Santa Rosa $30.05 $62,500.00
Stockton-Lodi $35.06 $72,920.00
Vallejo-Fairfield $32.90 $68,430.00
Visalia-Porterville $25.55 $53,150.00
Yuba City $30.87 $64,220.00

Occupation: Medical Records Specialists(SOC Code292072)
source: data.bls.gov

Some of the top-paying industries for medical records specialists include insurance carriers, research and development, and mail-order services.

Job Description

What Do They Do?

Medical billing and coding specialists work together to collect information from patient files and medical records. Then, they input the data into specialized computer systems and software programs, calculate the cost of the patient’s treatments and procedures, and request proper payment from insurance companies.

Essentially, medical billers and coders determine whether a healthcare provider receives payment for their services.

Medical record specialists are also responsible for figuring out what procedures an insurance company will cover and which ones the patient must pay for themselves.

Speed and accuracy are crucial for those working in this role.

Responsibilities

Medical billing is essentially a branch of billing. However, a medical billing specialist must have a deep understanding and knowledge of medical terms.  You must also keep abreast of all changes to HIPAA and Medicare regulations as well as insurance compliance and medical laws.

Generating accurate and timely invoices is essential to the survival of any medical institution; hence a lot of importance is placed on the capabilities of a medical billing specialist.

With so much information, a medical coder needs to be methodical and painstakingly accurate but must also possess excellent knowledge of clinical terminology and a strong set of computer skills.

Billing vs Coding

Medical Billing in CA

People who work as medical billing specialists prepare claims for specific medical treatments, then submit them to insurance companies for payment. Speaking with patients about outstanding balances, assisting with creating payment plans, and collecting and processing payments are also part of a medical biller’s job duties.

Generating accurate and timely invoices is essential to the survival of any medical institution. Therefore, a medical billing specialist must have a deep understanding and knowledge of medical terms.

You must also keep abreast of all changes to federal HIPAA and Medicare regulations and comply with insurance company policies and medical laws.

Medical Coding in CA

Medical coding specialists evaluate and update patient medical records, translate them into a standardized code, and manage that data for billing purposes. They also assign a code to every service the doctor or healthcare provider performs to optimize how medical billers send invoices to insurance companies for payment.

Since they handle so much information, medical coders must be methodical and painstakingly accurate. Incorrect coding could lead to billing issues that result in a lack of payment for their medical institution.

Medical coders must also possess excellent knowledge of clinical terminology and a strong set of computer skills.

Career Outlook

A career in medical billing and coding offers considerable room for advancement. The importance of technology to the medical world is becoming more and more evident.

Further government legislation is likely to follow in the coming years requiring medical establishments and organizations to keep accountable records.

Currently, it is only necessary to do so when an organization has been audited. However, most organizations are already gearing up for the changes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide employment outlook for medical records specialists is 7%, which is about as fast as the average occupation. As a result, experts predict that roughly 14,900 medical biller and coder job openings per year may be available by the year 2031.

California has the second highest level of employment for this profession, with over 18,000 medical record specialists employed as of 2021. Most medical billers and coders work in general medical hospitals, surgical hospitals, and doctor’s offices. Due to the general aging of the population, especially the baby boomer generation, this career is expected to grow in demand.

Search Medical Billing and Coding Programs

Get information on Medical Billing and Coding programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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