How to start a Medical Billing and Coding School

Athena Kan
November 3, 2023

Starting a medical billing and coding school can be a rewarding endeavor that not only contributes to the healthcare industry by providing well-trained professionals but also can be a sustainable business venture. One of the bright spots in this industry is that medical billing and coding programs can be taken totally online—allowing you to start a school with low overhead costs.

In this post, we’ll walk through the steps to starting your own medical billing and coding school.

Understanding the Industry

Medical billing and coding are critical functions in the healthcare industry that involve the translation of healthcare services, procedures, medical diagnoses, and equipment into universal medical alphanumeric codes. The demand for skilled medical billers and coders is growing due to the increase in health services and the complexity of health insurance policies.

Step 1: Market Research

Before diving into the business, conduct thorough market research to understand the demand for medical billers and coders in your area. Look at the following:

  • Local demand for training: Are there hospitals, clinics, or medical offices in need of professionals?
  • Competition: Are there existing schools or programs? What do they offer and how would you be different?
  • Target audience: Who will your students be? Consider age, background, and education level. Most medical billing and coding students are adult learners aged 25-40 who have some healthcare interest and experience. They usually have high school diplomas but not always.

Step 2: Create a Business Plan

Every successful business starts with a solid plan. Your business plan should include:

  • Business Description: Your school's mission, vision, and goals.
  • Market Analysis: Detailed research on your target market.
  • Organizational Structure: Your team and the school's legal structure.
  • Services Offered: Detailed curriculum and program structure.
  • Marketing Plan: Strategies for attracting students.
  • Financial Plan: Start-up costs, revenue projections, and funding sources.

Step 3: Legal Requirements

You need to ensure that your school complies with all the legal requirements which include:

  • Business Registration: Register your business with the appropriate local and state authorities.
  • Accreditation: While not always mandatory, accreditation can lend credibility and is often required for students to sit for certification exams. Look into accrediting bodies like AHIMA or AAPC.
  • Licensing: Educational institutions often need specific licenses to operate, so check with your state's Department of Education.
  • Certifications for Instructors: Instructors typically need to be certified medical billers and coders.
  • Insurance: Obtain the necessary insurance to cover your business, including liability insurance.

Step 4: Curriculum Development

Develop a comprehensive curriculum that meets industry standards. There are often off-the-shelf solutions you can purchase that are already pre-approved, which can help you get started faster. These 3rd parties may charge a one-time upfront fee, or they might take a percentage of sales.

If developing your own curriculum, you should look to curriculum requirements from accrediting bodies, such as the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) or the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). This often includes:

  • Medical Terminology: Fundamental for any coder and biller.
  • Healthcare Procedures: Understanding of procedures to accurately assign codes.
  • Medical Billing Software: Training on relevant billing software.
  • ICD-10 and CPT Codes: Knowledge of current coding systems.
  • Insurance and Reimbursement: Navigating insurance policies and reimbursement procedures.
  • Ethics and Compliance: Teaching the importance of privacy laws and ethical billing and coding practices.

Step 5: Accreditation and Certification

Having your school accredited increases its legitimacy. Accreditation involves:

  • Self-Evaluation: Assess your school’s compliance with the accreditor’s standards. These often include curriculum content, faculty qualifications, student services, and educational outcomes. Each has its own set of standards and processes.
  • Application: Submit an application to an accrediting body. The body will scrutinize the report to ensure all standards are thoroughly addressed.
  • Review Process: The accrediting body will review your curriculum, staff qualifications, and facilities.
  • Continuous Compliance: Maintain standards to keep your accreditation.

Step 6: Setting Up Your School

The physical setup of your school should include:

  • Location: If you want to set up an in-person program, choose a location that is accessible to your target demographic.
  • Equipment: Invest in computers, medical billing software, and coding manuals.
  • Technology: Robust internet access and online learning platforms if offering online courses. You'll also want to figure out how you'll accept payments and keep track of student applications.

Step 7: Hiring Qualified Instructors

Your faculty will be the backbone of your school. Look for:

  • Certified Professionals: Hire instructors who are certified in medical billing and coding.
  • Experience: Seasoned professionals can provide real-world insights.
  • Teaching Ability: Ensure they have the skills to effectively transfer knowledge.

Step 8: Marketing and Recruitment

To attract students to your school:

  • Website: Create a professional website that outlines your programs, faculty, and success stories.
  • Open Houses: Host open houses for prospective students to visit your facilities.
  • Advertising: Use platforms such as Dreambound or Google Ads to reach potential students who are looking to attend a medical billing and coding program.
  • Social Media: Use platforms like Tiktok, Facebook, and Instagram to reach potential students. These platforms take quite a bit of investment and creativity, however, so you'll have to make sure you're disciplined about posting frequently.

Step 9: Launching Your Programs

Kickstart your programs with these steps:

  • Pilot Programs: Start with a pilot class to work out any kinks.
  • Feedback: Use feedback from your first students to improve the program. If they had a positive experience, ask them to leave a review or testimonial for you to post on your website.
  • Scheduling: Offer flexible scheduling to accommodate students who may be working or have other commitments.

Step 10: Establish a Job Placement Program

A job placement program can:

  • Build Relationships: Network with healthcare providers to understand their hiring needs.
  • Resume Workshops: Prepare your students for the job market with resume and interview workshops.
  • Externships: Provide hands-on experience through externships with local healthcare providers.

Financing Your School

Consider various sources for funding:

  • Private Funding: Personal savings, family, friends, or angel investors.
  • Loans: Small business loans through banks or the Small Business Administration (SBA).
  • Grants: Research grants available for educational startups.

Challenges and Solutions

Starting a medical billing and coding school comes with challenges:

  • Regulatory Hurdles: Stay updated with educational regulations and industry standards.
  • Accreditation: Allocate time and resources to the accreditation process.
  • Competition: Differentiate your school with unique offerings or specialize in certain areas.

Measuring Success

Success can be measured in several ways:

  • Graduation Rates: High graduation rates can indicate a successful program.
  • Job Placement Rates: A high job placement rate is a testament to the school's effectiveness.
  • Student Satisfaction: Positive feedback and testimonials from students can attract more enrollments.

Staying Current

The medical billing and coding industry is always evolving:

  • Continuing Education: Offer continuing education to keep your instructors and curriculum up to date.
  • Industry Partnerships: Maintain relationships with healthcare providers to stay abreast of industry needs.
  • Technology Updates: Keep your software and training materials current with industry standards.


Starting a medical billing and coding school is an intricate process that requires a deep understanding of the healthcare industry, attention to legal and educational standards, and a strong business strategy. With the right planning and resources, you can establish a school that not only educates and empowers the next generation of medical billing and coding professionals but also stands as a pillar in the healthcare community.

Remember that the success of your school will ultimately be measured by the success of your students in the workforce. Focus on providing quality education, hands-on experience, and a pathway to employment for your graduates. By doing so, you’ll not only build a reputable educational institution but also contribute significantly to the healthcare industry’s efficiency and effectiveness.

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