Am I wasting my time and my son's money?

lindabree

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Just enough history: I am 57yo and have been working in offices for nearly 25 years (not medical). Recently unemployed due to employer going out of business because of the economy. I'm VERY detailed oriented and diligent and enjoy working with accounts payable and receivable. I thought I would do well in the medical accounting industry, so I am enrolled in med. terminology and basic coding. I planned to take advanced coding & anatomy next semester. My grown son is paying for my classes/textbooks (yes, he is a gem).

Now I'm panicking! Am I even going to be employable with the cpc certificate? I had no idea about the -A indication before reading through some forum threads. I've been working VERY hard at the classes and thought I was working toward something good. But now I'm wondering if it is going to get me anywhere!

I would appreciate your comments and advice. I'm just a hard-working 99% who is trying to get employed again.
 

kumeena

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Hi,

Age is not a criteria. If you are a hard worker & love to do coding definately you will find a job . Do not give up.

Good luck .
 

kwylie

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Go ahead and complete your classes and take the test. BUT take any job you can get in the medical field to get started. As one who hires coders I would not hire someone with no medical experience. The medical industry is like no other.
 

jmcpolin

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Keep going, you will be amazed how fast time flys by, I started as a receptionist and now I have had my CPC for almost ten years.
 

lindabree

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Thank you all for your thoughts! I went into this expecting to work hard to learn, basically, a new industry, and am ready to take any job I can to start getting experience in the medical field. I've even thought about doing some volunteer work at the local hospital. So it's encouraging that your responses seem to be a validation that I _am_ going the right direction. And it's nice to know my age is not a deal breaker! You see, I had read the thread about the changes in AAPC testing and there seemed to be so many negative observations on the value of the CPC certificate and the over-glut of the market with Newby Coders, that I got some scary feelings of having been "scammed." You know the feeling -- 'OMG! Did I not look before I leaped?' I am taking my courses from an accredited local community college. I actually enjoy the coding and love learning all the new medical terms, procedures, science behind the body, and everything else. So I have nothing to worry about. Right?
 

cathyvasil

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Like Kwylie said, go through all the work and pass the test and then accept ANY job in the medical field. I started as a medical receptionist and ended up running the office as well as doing all of their billing and coding for four years. Now, I'm back in school getting my Bachelor's in Health Administration. Turns out I like running the office better than coding...lol...I questioned getting the CPC years ago, but now I'm really glad I did. The A stands for apprentice and is only there until you have a little bit of experience. That's not something to worry about right now. Just focus on doing your work and learning as much as you can. Good Luck!!!
 
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Start job hunting now

Linda,
You are approaching this the right way. You also have many years of valuable general office experience. In your shoes, I'd start looking for a receptionist or filing position in a physician's office now.

Sell the skills / qualities you have perfected in your years of office work to a new setting. For example ... You will have the maturity and work ethic that many practices cannot do without. You will understand and be sensitive to the privacy issues of patients, the worries of a parent for his or her child, etc. You can handle multiple phone lines ringing, and an anxious walk-in at the same time without getting flustered.

It may be more difficult to work and go to school at the same time, but if you have a job in the medical field - even an entry level office position - you will be at an advantage when you complete your training and are ready for the CPT test.

And, Yes, you son is a gem. He obviously had a great mother!

Hope that helps.

F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC
 

mdjanssens

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Keep on going

I was a CPC-A before I actually graduated from my program in December and now I have been trying to find a job. I really love coding and one day I want to be able to take the auditor test.

I graduated from the program with my friend who is 60 and she actually got a job in NE before I did. Age is nothing. I encourage all of my friends to go back to school and pursue their dreams. Besides, the more skills you acquire, the more marketable that makes you.

When you are a hard worker, you can do anything you set your mind to. :)
 

jennylynh

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I say if it's what you really want to do, go for it. I didn't think I would find a job either, it took me 6 months. But I got really lucky and ended up getting an entry-level Radiology coding job. Now I help with the cancer registry and am getting ready to start helping out with Pain/GI coding. I can't say enough that networking is very important, put yourself out there as much as you can. Always keep in touch with professors because most of the time they are also working in the industry and know tons of people. Good luck!
 

kimcornish

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Wasted time and money

I'm 49 and have over 15 yrs office administration experience,(not medical). I completed the Health Info Tech program with honors, passed the CPC on first attempt. I couldn't get an interview. So, I went back to the local community college and completed my associates degree with honors. Still, I can't get an interview, even for file clerk, receptionist, entry level positions. I'm now faced with continuing CEU's, cost of new code books, ICD-10 training, etc. All positions want at least 2 yrs experience in the medical field, even for a receptionist. I've completely wasted time and money, both of which I don't have.
 

ronjones

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I don't mean to throw cold water on this, but I am 58, passed the exam on my first attempt back in September, 2011, and have been trying to find a position, any position, in the medical field since then.

Maybe it is where I live, (about 50 miles north of Kansas City), but I have received absolutely no response to job applications, or queries, either by email or phone.

While I am very fortunate that I have a full-time job in another field, I feel I was sold a bill of goods about the great prospects for medical coding employment.
 

Pam Brooks

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Make sure you attend your local chapter meetings. This is a great networking opportunity for you to meet coders in your area, and to introduce yourself to hiring managers. I have hired several of my entry-level staff after having met them at our local chapter meetings.
 

lindabree

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I appreciate each and every reply. I think it is fair to say that just getting the certification will not, in itself, get me a job. I will make networking a top priority and try to get a job somewhere in the medical field at any level. I know a local hospital that is always advertising for a part-time admitting representative. Maybe I could qualify for that. I understand Kaiser will be building a new facility within 25 mi of my home in 2013 and that may open up things. There is a local AAPC meeting coming up, so I'll go to that.

Thank you all for your time and opinions.
 

BABS37

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Hi! I know with my area, hospitals will only take on those who've had a number of years experience as those jobs are remote. As for our clinics- most of them outsource to a billing company. I know there is a coder who is 2hrs away and is in the same boat so she's traveling that distance for an internship. If you get on your local board, maybe you could intern to get your foot in the door and some places will even pay you for the internship too! But don't give up!
 

lindabree

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Hi! I know with my area, hospitals will only take on those who've had a number of years experience as those jobs are remote. As for our clinics- most of them outsource to a billing company. I know there is a coder who is 2hrs away and is in the same boat so she's traveling that distance for an internship. If you get on your local board, maybe you could intern to get your foot in the door and some places will even pay you for the internship too! But don't give up!
When you say "get on your local board," do you mean the local chapter of AAPC?
 

BABS37

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Oh sorry! Yes, definitely go to the chapter meetings like others have said and network! I found when I signed up for an interventional radiology class and drove to Chicago, that also helped me network and get to know people. It seems as though people hold on to their coding positions until they retire- well, at least in the three jobs I've had with coding. It sounds like you have a ton of qualities and experience to rock this field!!! :)
 

patchapman

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don't give up

Linda
I urge you not to give up. You have a history that will go along with your new quest. Age is no longer a factor in getting a job.
Do apply for even a part time job in one of the local medical offices or hospitals. Even a volunteer job will get your foot in a door and once you start hearing and seeing some of what you are learning it will make so much more sense.
Even volunteering at the Emergency Medical Service in your area will open doors.
Good luck in your new quest. :)

Pat,
RHIT-CCS-CEDC
 

lindabree

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Oh sorry! Yes, definitely go to the chapter meetings like others have said and network! I found when I signed up for an interventional radiology class and drove to Chicago, that also helped me network and get to know people. It seems as though people hold on to their coding positions until they retire- well, at least in the three jobs I've had with coding. It sounds like you have a ton of qualities and experience to rock this field!!! :)
I thought it was ironic that a meeting I would like to attend at the local chapter is on the same night as the class! It is on remote coding, too, so darn! I don't know if I will "rock this field!!!" (that made me smile), but I am exacting, detailed oriented and tenacious, which I think will go far at this type of work!

Thanks for your comments.
 

lindabree

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Linda
I urge you not to give up. You have a history that will go along with your new quest. Age is no longer a factor in getting a job.
Do apply for even a part time job in one of the local medical offices or hospitals. Even a volunteer job will get your foot in a door and once you start hearing and seeing some of what you are learning it will make so much more sense.
Even volunteering at the Emergency Medical Service in your area will open doors.
Good luck in your new quest. :)

Pat,
RHIT-CCS-CEDC
Thank you for the encouragement, Pat. I am going to re-do my resume to address a Admitting Representative position (part-time, on call) at a local hospital. I've worked a little at a living assisted center, been a hospice respite care volunteer, and am guardian for my mother and brother (which has put me in the position of dealing with many medical related matters). I've got my medical terminology and basic coding classes almost completed, too. So I'm not entirely lacking in experience and knowledge :) I'm going to GO FOR IT!!!
 

davisph

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Your money is not wasted!

Well, my philosophy is that where there is a will there is a way! My husband was in sales for well over 25 years and he always held to the fact that it may take 10 NO's to get a YES. That being said, when you are applying for positions you keep applying! To everything there is a purpose and a season under heaven(not to be Biblical), but each of us has their seasons we go through. In this economy, you have to be persisitant about what you are applying to. If that means you have to move then do it! In my geographical area most coders don't have any type of degree and that limits them in the job market. Employers want someone with a diverse background and I believe your accounting skills will be an asset to you. To me those who say it is a waste have not knocked on all the doors. I get available new jobs sent to me just about every day. If you are not getting a response on your resume then maybe you need to have someone review it to see if there is something you are missing or you are not presenting in the best way. Also, get involved with your local chapter on the board, that helps with employers seeing that you are involved with CODING! If you are persistant it will pay off. Don't expect to walk in and get a job paying what someone who is seasoned is making. Six months of experience can get you moved up the ladder sooner than NO experience. Keep trying!! That is my advice. It doesn't matter what someone else is saying if you want to achieve your goals. It is up to you!

-Phyllis D- CPC,CPC-P, CPC-I:eek:
 

lindabree

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Well, my philosophy is that where there is a will there is a way! My husband was in sales for well over 25 years and he always held to the fact that it may take 10 NO's to get a YES. That being said, when you are applying for positions you keep applying! To everything there is a purpose and a season under heaven(not to be Biblical), but each of us has their seasons we go through. In this economy, you have to be persisitant about what you are applying to. If that means you have to move then do it! In my geographical area most coders don't have any type of degree and that limits them in the job market. Employers want someone with a diverse background and I believe your accounting skills will be an asset to you. To me those who say it is a waste have not knocked on all the doors. I get available new jobs sent to me just about every day. If you are not getting a response on your resume then maybe you need to have someone review it to see if there is something you are missing or you are not presenting in the best way. Also, get involved with your local chapter on the board, that helps with employers seeing that you are involved with CODING! If you are persistant it will pay off. Don't expect to walk in and get a job paying what someone who is seasoned is making. Six months of experience can get you moved up the ladder sooner than NO experience. Keep trying!! That is my advice. It doesn't matter what someone else is saying if you want to achieve your goals. It is up to you!

-Phyllis D- CPC,CPC-P, CPC-I:eek:
YES YES YES! I completely agree with what you are saying! I _so_ much needed to be a part of this group and I'm glad that I joined. Real-world input from all of you is SO appreciated! I think I will continue to get some more classes under my belt as I go along here. Thanks for responding!
 

ajbalducci

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I know how you feel. I worked full time, went to school 3 evenings a week for Medical Coding and Billing (15 months),lots of homework,tests,projects, I did very well, passed my CPC while having to study on my own, at the same time, learning a new X-ray system and computer program at work. Spent over $6000 for school,$300 for the exam,$ to join AAPC so I could take the CPC exam cannot get a job in this field and faced with the same ICD-10 challenge, do I spend another $700 plus for boot camp! I am in the healthcare field! Very discouraging:(
 

lindabree

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I know how you feel. I worked full time, went to school 3 evenings a week for Medical Coding and Billing (15 months),lots of homework,tests,projects, I did very well, passed my CPC while having to study on my own, at the same time, learning a new X-ray system and computer program at work. Spent over $6000 for school,$300 for the exam,$ to join AAPC so I could take the CPC exam cannot get a job in this field and faced with the same ICD-10 challenge, do I spend another $700 plus for boot camp! I am in the healthcare field! Very discouraging:(
Someone earlier made the comment that they wondered if certain geographical areas were harder than others for getting into the medical coding field. What state are you in? Is anyone in Oregon? That's where I am....I'm wondering how this area is for jobs....

You sure put in a lot of work, time and money! My instructor would say, yes, do the ICD-10 training because a lot of older coders are going to retire rather than go through learning something new....
 

ajbalducci

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I am in Connecticut. Thank you for the encouragement however I do feel age is a factor. They would rather hire someone in their 40's figuring they may at least be there for 20 years. Just a feeling I get.
 
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jmcpolin

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I got my CPC when I was 32 while working in a coding position at a University Hospital billing company with 4 years prior coding experience. I think you are right though I think employers link age with experience.
 
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