Florida, Colorado Considering Expanding Access to Computer Coding Classes—Possibly Spurring the Development of the New Health IT Workforce

According to a recently released blog by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), many state lawmakers across the country are considering allowing high school students to take computer-coding classes instead of foreign language classes.  As today’s healthcare industry uses computers in a much more sophisticated way, and patients and doctors can log into Web-based information portals to coordinate treatment plans and schedule appointments, new high school level educational offerings around IT could help educate the future health IT workforce.   

During the 2016 legislative session, Florida introduced Senate Bill 468 that would have authorized high schools to offer coding classes to fulfill foreign language credits, an idea supporters say exposes more students to coding and provide them with important skills for anyone considering a career in the healthcare and software development industries, which are experiencing explosive growth. The bill passed in the state Senate, but failed in the Florida House in March 2016. Other states, including Washington and Georgia, are looking at similar measures, but the idea has yet to make it into law.

Certain states have allowed computer-coding classes to substitute certain graduation requirements. For example, in 2016, Colorado House Bill 1198 was enacted and gave students the option of replacing certain math courses with computer coding courses.