Don’t Limit Yourself to Medical Coding Careers

Don’t Limit Yourself to Medical Coding Careers

We know: You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job. So, stop and think about it: is what you are doing now where you expected your career path to take you? I never dreamt that I could have such a fun and interesting career in healthcare, especially since I majored in music performance in college. My first medical coding-related job in a physician’s office was a lucky move for me. I was young, willing to learn anything, and making more than minimum wage.

I got experience from working the reception desk, scheduling, insurance, collecting on bad debt, pulling and filing medical records, and yes, coding. If you have been in the field for many years, your journey may have started in an area other than coding. I truly believe that having a well rounded background is important, it teaches how all of the different areas of the office work together. Every role in the billing office plays a part in getting every claim paid. It turns out getting into a hospital or physician’s office entry-level, might just be the smartest thing you could do. It was the smartest thing I did.

Now let’s think about occupations outside of the physician’s office. There are so many employers that have a need for your knowledge base as a medical coder.

Here are a few places to consider when beginning your search:
• Insurance companies
• Workman’s compensation companies
• Professional liability companies
• Hospitals
• Nursing facilities
• State government agencies
• Federal government agencies
• Career colleges
• Information technology services
• Medical billing service
• Law firms
• Medical laboratories
• Dental offices
• Rehabilitation services
• Collection agencies
• Clearinghouses

Broaden your search parameters when landing that coding position. It may be a foot in the door that is in a different role than you anticipated or it may be with a different type of company than you expected. Experience in any setting will be beneficial, so continue to expand your knowledge base. Any starting point can be a catalyst for moving into other areas of healthcare such as practice management, nursing, credentialing, compliance, administration, or even non-physician practitioner or a practitioner.

You need to stop fighting the path and start following it. You can’t sit around wondering why the path to employment is hard. Take action. Get that credential, start entry-level, volunteer to get experience, join a local chapter, and network your way up—until the system, in turn, works for you. The bottom line is simple, getting a job in coding depends on how badly you want to be a coder.

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Brenda Edwards

Brenda Edwards

Senior Managing Consultant of Risk Adjustment at Medical Revenue Solutions
Brenda has over 25 years’ experience and is employed with Medical Revenue Solutions. Her experience includes chart auditing, coding and compliance education, and has written many articles for national publications including Healthcare Business Monthly, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and BC Advantage.Her humorous and engaging presentation style has made her a conference favorite at both national and regional conferences for AAPC as well as local chapter meetings across the country.Brenda is a Certified Professional Coding Instructor (CPC-I), AAPC ICD10-CM/PCS Training Expert, and an AAPC workshop presenter. She served on the AAPC Chapter Association board of directors from 2010-2014 and held office as chair.
Brenda Edwards

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Brenda has over 25 years’ experience and is employed with Medical Revenue Solutions. Her experience includes chart auditing, coding and compliance education, and has written many articles for national publications including Healthcare Business Monthly, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and BC Advantage. Her humorous and engaging presentation style has made her a conference favorite at both national and regional conferences for AAPC as well as local chapter meetings across the country. Brenda is a Certified Professional Coding Instructor (CPC-I), AAPC ICD10-CM/PCS Training Expert, and an AAPC workshop presenter. She served on the AAPC Chapter Association board of directors from 2010-2014 and held office as chair.

2 Responses to “Don’t Limit Yourself to Medical Coding Careers”

  1. Renee Billinger says:

    Great words of wisdom Brenda! So many of us, myself included, tend to focus on one aspect of the coding world and block out an opportunity that could be knocking at our door. Great advise for our new aspiring coders too!

  2. Jen says:

    I understand there is a path one must take in order to gain employment as a medical coder and dues must be paid. However, how does one with chronic health issues deal with gaining experience if one’s ultimate goal is to work remotely? The thought of having to work the reception desk in a chaotic office or calling patients to collect on unpaid bills fills me with dread and anxiety. I have a BA in Liberal Arts and an MA in Training & Development. I have spent the last 15 years working in higher education in a clerical capacity and I currently volunteer at my local hospital in the Quality Management Department. I was hoping medical coding would open some new and different career paths for me where I can work more autonomously. I have already spent one year on the path to becoming certified as a medical coder. I hope to take the CPC exam by the end of 2016. I realize I will have a CPC-A designation at first, given I pass the exam. I like what I have learned so far and I really think I can do this, but is front desk reception, heavy telephone work, etc. the only way to gain a position as a medical coder?

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