Minute with an AAPC Member
Jennifer Rodriguez, CPC
Medical Coder/Documentation Trainer/Auditor
Tell us a little bit about how you got into coding, what you’ve done during your coding career, and where you work now.
I first became interested in medical coding while looking at the class offerings at my local technical college. They offered a Medical Administrative Specialist associate degree. We had the option of choosing either medical transcription or medical coding. I fell in love with coding after a few classes. The challenge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and coding what was done at a particular encounter really sparked my interest.
In my coding career, I definitely have learned and grown by tackling different specialties. It has made me become a more well-rounded coder. This year, I applied for an officer position at my local chapter, and it has helped me get to know fellow coders within the community. I am so glad I applied.
I work for a local hospital in the Rockford, Illinois, area as a medical coder/documentation trainer/auditor. I love that there is always something new to learn at my job and I have a variety of tasks to do throughout the day. Meeting with providers and educating them on documentation improvement is also something that enriches my career as a medical coder.
What is your involvement with your local AAPC chapter?
I am the member development officer for the Rockford, Illinois, local chapter, and I serve on the board. Our chapter is always striving to better serve its members by providing new and interesting ways to network and learn. This year, we created a chapter newsletter and a Facebook page to keep our members informed about what is happening in our chapter.
What AAPC benefits do you like the most?
I really enjoy the Passport Savings feature that AAPC offers. I like that it gives discounts to local area businesses. I shop local whenever I can.
How has your certification helped you?
My certification helped me land my current job. More and more employers are looking for the Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) credential.
Do you have any advice for those new to coding and/or those looking for jobs in the field?
Do not give up. The test can be challenging. Study and work hard for what you want — it will pay off in the long run. Network and visit your local chapter, too; often, they have more job opportunities than what you can find online because employers reach out to chapters to scout for potential employees.
What has been your biggest challenge as a coder?
My biggest challenge as a coder is keeping up with all of the coding changes. It definitely keeps me on my toes!
If you could do any other job, what would it be?
As I am an avid reader, I would love to be a librarian. I grew up visiting the library often, and I worked in the library for 5+ years before I started my coding career. The library is like a second home to me.
How do you spend your spare time? Tell us about your hobbies, family, etc.
I spend my spare time reading and gardening. If my nose isn’t in a book, it’s smelling the flowers in my yard – the more fragrant, the better! I have flowers lining all the pathways in my yard. They brighten my day when they’re in full bloom.