Getting Started

Please read these each of steps carefully!

All steps are required for admission to the Medical Coding Specialist Program

Getting Started

  • Prospective students should Apply Online to Polk State College as credit seeking students. It’s a free application!
  • Provide all required admission documents such as high school or college transcripts to the Registrar’s Office. Request these from all colleges you have attended prior to Polk State College, regardless of how long ago you may have attended.
  • Complete Online Orientation. This takes about an hour and must be completed before you may register for classes.
  • Provide proof of Florida residency in the form of a Florida driver’s license and voter ID or vehicle registration. Take the documents to the Lakeland or Winter Haven campus Student Services office.
  • Students should complete a financial aid application at FAFSA.gov to determine if they are eligible for financial aid.  After completion of the application, students should meet with a Financial Aid representative to determine their eligibility and financial aid award. Please be aware, that all your transcripts must be received before financial aid will be paid for the courses.
  • AFTER completing the admission process, students may contact the Program Director for an appointment to plan their Program Pathway. All students must meet with the program director prior to enrolling in courses. Susan Whatley, swhatley@polk.edu.

Students must have completed any required college preparatory courses, if required.

  • Students entering college for the first time may be required to take the PERT placement test. The PERT is given daily on the Lakeland, Winter Haven, and Lake Wales campuses and there is no cost to take the exam. Students must place above REA 0002 and ENC 0010 course levels on the state-mandated college placement test in reading and writing (or complete these courses) prior to taking courses in the medical coding program. Students who have completed college-level English or an equivalent course may have met this requirement.  See an Academic Advisor for additional information. Students who had earned an AA, AS or higher degree may be exempt from taking the PERT. Transcripts showing you have completed a college-level English course or have earned a degree must be received prior to planning the program course pathway. Students who have not taken college-level English or earned a degree must take the PERT placement test prior to planning the program course pathway.

Program Admission 

  • The program is open admission. No formal application process is required; however, students are required to meet with the Program Director prior to enrolling in any medical coding program course. HIM-prefixed courses are restricted.
  • There are no prerequisites required prior to entering the program; however, individual courses have prerequisites and/or co-requisites.

Background Screening

  • Students should be aware that employment in the healthcare field usually involves national background screening as well as drug screening by the employing facility. Students who have specific conviction histories that might appear in a national background screening should be proactive in obtaining a background check prior to enrolling in the program. This should be discussed further with the Program Coordinator at the pre-enrollment consultation or Medical Coding Specialist Information Session.
  • Additionally, facilities that students visit during HIM 2810L, Coding Application Practicum, may require any or all of the following:    Completion of a comprehensive physical examination, completion of a drug screening, completion of a national background screening, completion of all required immunizations.
  • Specific conviction histories or positive drug screenings occurring after a student begins the program are addressed according to department policy and may include dismissal from the program.

Additional Information

  • All students who wish to pursue the Medical Coding Specialist program are required to contact Susan Whatley, swhatley@polk.edu, 863.669.2897, to plan a course pathway prior to beginning the program.  Please note: All HIM-prefixed courses are restricted enrollment and require permission of the Program Director before enrolling. Students should complete the Admission Process and take the PERT placement test prior to scheduling an appointment.