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Feeling Defeated

Deb Sue

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:( Feeling very defeated these days. I graduated from Andrews School of Medical Coding 3 years ago. I retired from state government after 31 years of employment. Got a job as a "secretary" immediately with a large Level 1 Trauma hospital within 30 miles of where I live so I could "get my foot in the door". I have applied for every coding job (25+) that has come open in this hospital since the day I started working here. I have been rejected every single time due to "no experience". Even for the "Coder 1" positions (which are entry level-type positions) they want to only hire coders with YEARS of coding experience. Personally, someone would "years of experience" should want a better paying job than in a Coder 1 position. I have lost track of the "Remote" coding positions I have applied for all over the place. I have only had 2 interviews out of the 25+ I applied for here at the hospital. I've talked with 3 recruiters, and still nothing. I am wanting to give it up. I am a CPC-A. I've talked with HR here at the hospital, and the only answer I get is "keep trying". I've contacted other coder supervisors and asked "Who can I talk to about getting a coding position" and absolutely NO ONE knows who is "in charge" over the coding for the entire hospital system - Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin. Every year I purchase all the code books, and outside of reviewing what changes are in them, they don't get used. They aren't cheap. I keep up on my CEUs....and that cost money.

I am not looking for sympathy here.....Just expressing my disappointments, as I was told that the medical coding field was a "growing" field to be in, and that facilities/physicians are in desperate need of good coders. I considered myself a very good coder while in class, but after 3 years I feel I am losing all the coding knowledge I had with every passing week that goes by, and maybe I should go back to school again. I wish there wasn't so much "hype" about the need for coders. In my opinion, there's not that big of a need. ICD-10 did not cause seasoned coders to leave/quit/retire, as many professionals thought. I am trained and passed my AAPC assessment in ICD-10 and ICD-10-PCS. I had high expectations that because of the ICD-10 training my chances to secure a coding job would increase dramatically (along with the fact that I became certified through AAPC). Just not so!!

Thanks for listening.

Deb
 

Kristen Bensel

Networker
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26
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Chin Up!

Deb,
I understand your frustration. It is tough to break into the coding field in my opinion because you really need to be in the right area (city, state) to be able to land your first coding job. There are so many physicians offices that have their set coder/billers. I live in a Rural eastern Oregon area and coding jobs are scares...
You mentioned that you applied for Remote Coding jobs- these are a coders dream, and I am all to familiar as well with not getting a chance for those jobs because I didn't have enough experience in inpatient coding or some other specialty.
But maybe to help you with getting "experience" look into the company Altegra Health (it may have changed names as when I worked there it was being acquired by another company) but it gives you good experience in different areas and may help you add work experience to your Resume as you still work at your current job. Just a thought.
 

cgaston

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You may be running into a brick wall at the hospital because the CPC Certification is for professional coding, not inpatient coding. When I started my coding journey they pointed out that there are two types of certification and to make sure you were signing up for the correct certification for the one you wanted to pursue.

Have you tried billing companies or doctor's offices? That is the type of coding your CPC certification qualifies you to perform.
 
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Accounts Receivable Assistant

Good Day,
May I ask, Where are you located? We're a Federally Qualified Health Center looking for Coders, located in Westchester County, NY.
This is an onsite position, I can relate to how you're feeling.



Sincerely

D Miller
 

Riehen

Contributor
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I understand

I've been a coder for 5 years now and I have the same problem. Everyone wants experience in a certain area like urgent care or any other specific area. My 5 years of coding experience in hematology/oncology and now pathology aren't good enough.
To add insult to injury there are books in specific areas that will tell you what you need to know however no one will give me a chance because i'm not seasoned in whatever area they want.
 

Deb Sue

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Good Day,
May I ask, Where are you located? We're a Federally Qualified Health Center looking for Coders, located in Westchester County, NY.
This is an onsite position, I can relate to how you're feeling.



Sincerely

D Miller

I am located in Des Moines, Iowa.
 

KellF

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4
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I can sympathize. I'm actually an Andrews student, currently in Module IV and planning to graduate later this summer. I've been searching for remote coding work since I got my CPC-A last September. The nearest "coding" hospital is about four hours round trip for me. Plus I live in NW ND so we have some major winter weather that makes driving not so nice. Now that the intros are over, have you looked into any HCC or risk adjustment coding? I did a stint briefly with OS2 from December through February. It was "end of season" though, so ended earlier than anticipated. I think they generally begin hiring again in the spring (which could mean any time now.) Best of luck in your continued quest! :)
 
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rblount

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The feeling is mutual

I second your feeling of defeat. I am in the same boat, I graduated in Sep 2015 from Virginia College with the degree Healthcare Reimbursement. I have been trying since graduating with no luck either because everyone wants experience even if it says <2 yrs. I retired from the military with 24 yrs + in Human Resources and Logistics. I wanted a different path and chose this field for the same reason as you. I am currently working at the VA Hospital as a secretary as well trying to get my foot in the door. I have been applying for medical coding positions here too and can never even make it to get an interview because of experience. I was a straight A student and took my coding classes very seriously and I am trying to keep up with my knowledge but I know I am forgetting a lot of it because it has been two years and you know if you don't use it, you lose it. So, I truly feel your pain and I am trying to network by attending our monthly AAPC Chapter meetings in which I'm the Secretary there too. Good luck and many blessings to us and everyone else that is experiencing this too!

Robbie
 

LadyRenee

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I Feel You

:( Feeling very defeated these days. I graduated from Andrews School of Medical Coding 3 years ago. I retired from state government after 31 years of employment. Got a job as a "secretary" immediately with a large Level 1 Trauma hospital within 30 miles of where I live so I could "get my foot in the door". I have applied for every coding job (25+) that has come open in this hospital since the day I started working here. I have been rejected every single time due to "no experience". Even for the "Coder 1" positions (which are entry level-type positions) they want to only hire coders with YEARS of coding experience. Personally, someone would "years of experience" should want a better paying job than in a Coder 1 position. I have lost track of the "Remote" coding positions I have applied for all over the place. I have only had 2 interviews out of the 25+ I applied for here at the hospital. I've talked with 3 recruiters, and still nothing. I am wanting to give it up. I am a CPC-A. I've talked with HR here at the hospital, and the only answer I get is "keep trying". I've contacted other coder supervisors and asked "Who can I talk to about getting a coding position" and absolutely NO ONE knows who is "in charge" over the coding for the entire hospital system - Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin. Every year I purchase all the code books, and outside of reviewing what changes are in them, they don't get used. They aren't cheap. I keep up on my CEUs....and that cost money.

I am not looking for sympathy here.....Just expressing my disappointments, as I was told that the medical coding field was a "growing" field to be in, and that facilities/physicians are in desperate need of good coders. I considered myself a very good coder while in class, but after 3 years I feel I am losing all the coding knowledge I had with every passing week that goes by, and maybe I should go back to school again. I wish there wasn't so much "hype" about the need for coders. In my opinion, there's not that big of a need. ICD-10 did not cause seasoned coders to leave/quit/retire, as many professionals thought. I am trained and passed my AAPC assessment in ICD-10 and ICD-10-PCS. I had high expectations that because of the ICD-10 training my chances to secure a coding job would increase dramatically (along with the fact that I became certified through AAPC). Just not so!!

Thanks for listening.

Deb
Hi, Deb. Sorry to hear how difficult it has been for you. I recently passed the CPC and became certified. I'm now doing Practicode to remove my "A" designation. Afterwards, I'm thinking of doing an externship through AAPC. If there are externship participants in your area, that may be a promising path for you to gain entry into a permanent position with that company. Have you considered that option?

And I think that cgaston hit upon something, too. AHIMA preps students for hospital coding, while AAPC preps students for outpatient coding. It could be a matter of shifting focus and looking at billing companies and more intensely at doctor's office, and such for a position.

I pray your strength in staying your course and getting what you worked for!

God speed.
Renee
 
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Right there with you

:(
I received my certification this past September. I was under the impression it was a growing field, full of opportunities. I worked hard because I thought it would pay off and create a better future for myself and my children. 9 months out and nothing. I feel defeated. I've applied and applied, to any and every thing. Even positions I knew I was not qualified, just hoping for a chance. But, as soon as they find out that my experience is not "paid", it's next! I don't know what to do. I also feel the further I get away from my certification, the more I lose as I am not actively coding. I am willing to do part time, full time, office, remote, anything. Just to get that golden experience under my belt. I'm at my wit's end. It's truly frustrating.
 

cmoegelin

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Keep trying!

I know it's frustrating, but keep trying. I took the exam last February and got my CPC-A, put out applications and resumes every few months, and just got a job offer to code for a large physician practice (I work in medical records right now).

If you aren't determined that you have to work in coding for the facility you are currently at, start looking at other physician practices or clinics in your area. Hit up their websites once or twice a week (I find most update their open positions on Friday) to look for opportunities. If you want to work at a hospital, make sure that your CPC is the credential they're looking for; if not, plan to test for the correct one. Continue to apply, even if you don't have the amount of experience they're looking for (the position I was offered was asking for four years [that I don't have]). Follow up any interview with a thank you note and any additional questions you may have.

Keep going!
 

david.wagner

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Local Chapter Officer
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I am located in Des Moines, Iowa.
I am also in Iowa. I got my first coding job at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. They hire people off the street with no coding experience, no certification, all the time. They hirenon-credentialed coders, contingent on them passing their CPC within 18 months. If you already have your CPC, you would definitely have a leg up.
 
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I Feel the same way...

:(

I graduated from a coding course on 08/2016.
got certified in 12/2016. Like you I have applied everywhere and because of no experience I can't get hired.
I have been an LPN for 23 yrs and wanted to have a different job. Even though I have the terminology experience is not enough.
I too read that there were many jobs out there once I graduated but is not so.
I guess we have no choice but to keep trying. Maybe some one will take a chance on us.

Blanca
 

daedolos

Expert
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415
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Long Beach
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:(

I graduated from a coding course on 08/2016.
got certified in 12/2016. Like you I have applied everywhere and because of no experience I can't get hired.
I have been an LPN for 23 yrs and wanted to have a different job. Even though I have the terminology experience is not enough.
I too read that there were many jobs out there once I graduated but is not so.
I guess we have no choice but to keep trying. Maybe some one will take a chance on us.

Blanca
Attend your local AAPC chapter meetings. Networking helped me a lot as I also passed the CPC in Dec 2016. Did you get the A stricken because of your years with being a LPN? Don't give up. If I can do it, you certainly can.

Peace
@_*
 
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Jess0523

I am in the same situation. I have been certified for a year now and can not find a coding job. I have now started looking into positions in the revenue cycle and other areas such as scheduling, reception, and verification but those positions prefer experience and I find myself competing with people already working in those positions. I too was told by my school that I would be employed immediately because of the implementation of ICD 10 and the retiring of old coders. That did not happen. I attend more than one meeting a month to network and try to keep up with new coding but I too feel like I am loosing my knowledge. For those of you who are looking for a job try the revenue cycle and other areas such as scheduling, reception, and verification. The president of one of the chapter meetings I attend suggested to all of the newly certified coders to start there and work up to a coding position. Good Luck to everyone searching and don't give up!
 

Lmedina86

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you're not alone

Hi there,

I am a student of the same program you completed. I am even considering dropping out in the last part of the program but that's more due to personal unforeseen circumstances that are just not realistically allowing me to devote enough time to study, etc.

However, I did receive my CPC-A back in September, even got above a 90% on my first try. I know I'm very capable of this type of work. I've accomplished many things academically in my past. The few dozen resumes/applications I've sent out for "practice" since passing and getting my cert, have had zero responses. I had hoped to make a career change, however with the wages people are reporting and the difficulty of obtaining an actual coding position after education (foot in the door, no thank you), I am thinking I made a mistake. The job I left paid mid-20's per hour and while I would not want to spend the rest of my working life in my previous career, I could probably go back to it with relative ease if necessary.

Please note that I am not trying to complain or sound entitled to anything. I respect that people breaking into a field have to start somewhere. I'm simply acknowledging my error in not fully considering this, because I am not at a point in my life where I can go back to "foot in the door" positions or taking anything I can get. I am also in a situation where I'm pretty limited with what type of schedule I could work but that's another story in and of itself (and what is leading to me possibly giving up on pursuing this field right now).

I just wanted to reply and express that while it's great to hear some are finding the jobs, I would really appreciate more honesty and transparency about the prospects of this field, there is so much out there online that does paint an inaccurate picture of the coding job market. I find this very unfortunate and if I had to give a prospective student a piece of advice, I would tell them to make sure that they do NOT have limitations on where they might start out, and to seriously think about the difficulties they may face once they graduate, and to make a plan for how to overcome them or address them.

Best of luck to you all.
 

twizzle

True Blue
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Feeling defeated

Hi there,

I am a student of the same program you completed. I am even considering dropping out in the last part of the program but that's more due to personal unforeseen circumstances that are just not realistically allowing me to devote enough time to study, etc.

However, I did receive my CPC-A back in September, even got above a 90% on my first try. I know I'm very capable of this type of work. I've accomplished many things academically in my past. The few dozen resumes/applications I've sent out for "practice" since passing and getting my cert, have had zero responses. I had hoped to make a career change, however with the wages people are reporting and the difficulty of obtaining an actual coding position after education (foot in the door, no thank you), I am thinking I made a mistake. The job I left paid mid-20's per hour and while I would not want to spend the rest of my working life in my previous career, I could probably go back to it with relative ease if necessary.

Please note that I am not trying to complain or sound entitled to anything. I respect that people breaking into a field have to start somewhere. I'm simply acknowledging my error in not fully considering this, because I am not at a point in my life where I can go back to "foot in the door" positions or taking anything I can get. I am also in a situation where I'm pretty limited with what type of schedule I could work but that's another story in and of itself (and what is leading to me possibly giving up on pursuing this field right now).

I just wanted to reply and express that while it's great to hear some are finding the jobs, I would really appreciate more honesty and transparency about the prospects of this field, there is so much out there online that does paint an inaccurate picture of the coding job market. I find this very unfortunate and if I had to give a prospective student a piece of advice, I would tell them to make sure that they do NOT have limitations on where they might start out, and to seriously think about the difficulties they may face once they graduate, and to make a plan for how to overcome them or address them.

Best of luck to you all.
Your observations are spot on. It is regrettable that coding organizations are not up front about job prospects in the coding field. I have never, ever seen any guidance offered to prospective coders saying 'hey, are you sure you want to enter this field? Do you realize that jobs are very hard to come by if you have no experience? You may need to start out doing something mundane for a pittance of $12/hr. Is that acceptable to you?'
Nope, all they want is your money to train and get certified, then you're on your own bud.

I feel for you, I really do. When I started out on my first job hunt (2009) I got disillusioned real quick. Yes, nearly 10 years ago but things were not hugely different then, and yet these organizations still allow thousands and thousands of would-be coders to certify without a hope in Hades of getting a job.

it's time to rethink the whole coding certification and training process because the current system is letting too many people down.

I wish you the best. You sound as if you have a good brain that could be put to good use in the coding field. If I was a recruiter I would want to know more about you and give you a chance. Don't give up.
 

steels816

Expert
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336
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I understand completely

I received my certification in 2015 for CPC-A and COC-A and still no job offers. I even applied for front desk, verification and no interviews. I even thought about letting my certification lapse but decided against it. To me in my case, it seems like they want experience in every thing but how am I supposed to get it if no one gives me a chance. I hoped that someone out there will give us a chance .
 

JCaillouet

Networker
Messages
77
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The only thing I can say is network. It's trite but that's how I got the current job I have now.

And to try to not lose faith. Consider writing for the AAPC if you have knowledge in a subject. It's a..ice breaker if you run into someone else at a convention and it apparently helped impress the people who hired me now.
 

hperry10

Guru
Messages
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Hyannis
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Your observations are spot on. It is regrettable that coding organizations are not up front about job prospects in the coding field. I have never, ever seen any guidance offered to prospective coders saying 'hey, are you sure you want to enter this field? Do you realize that jobs are very hard to come by if you have no experience? You may need to start out doing something mundane for a pittance of $12/hr. Is that acceptable to you?'
Nope, all they want is your money to train and get certified, then you're on your own bud.

I feel for you, I really do. When I started out on my first job hunt (2009) I got disillusioned real quick. Yes, nearly 10 years ago but things were not hugely different then, and yet these organizations still allow thousands and thousands of would-be coders to certify without a hope in Hades of getting a job.

it's time to rethink the whole coding certification and training process because the current system is letting too many people down.

I wish you the best. You sound as if you have a good brain that could be put to good use in the coding field. If I was a recruiter I would want to know more about you and give you a chance. Don't give up.
I agree with you about rethinking the coding certification and training process. The last two coders we hired came to us with no coding experience but had passed the exam. We very slowly broke them in. They caught on right away and were handling a full load within a few months. I understand that some employers do not have the time or resources to train inexperienced coders but it would be nice if employers that require a coding certification had a program to integrate inexperienced coders into their workforce. If I was a hiring manager I would do that. I think it's good to have a mix.
 
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I understand

Believe me I feel you on this. I've gotten my CPC, was able to have the A removed because of some experience from working at a surgery center combined with education but in my area, it's the same thing with experience. I currently work for a level 1 trauma hospital but the physician group side of things. No job postings at all and even the local physician offices are requiring a ton of experience for entry level. I think it depends where you live, because I wanted to move back to NYC and I saw many openings willing to train you and give you a chance. Unfortunately moving back won't be an option because of cost of living. I was thinking of doing the practicode just to get more experience, does anyone have experience with it? I would love a remote job for weekends to start so I can get my feet wet.
 
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Believe me I feel you on this. I've gotten my CPC, was able to have the A removed because of some experience from working at a surgery center combined with education but in my area, it's the same thing with experience. I currently work for a level 1 trauma hospital but the physician group side of things. No job postings at all and even the local physician offices are requiring a ton of experience for entry level. I think it depends where you live, because I wanted to move back to NYC and I saw many openings willing to train you and give you a chance. Unfortunately moving back won't be an option because of cost of living. I was thinking of doing the practicode just to get more experience, does anyone have experience with it? I would love a remote job for weekends to start so I can get my feet wet.
Where did you find openings to train entry level coders in NYC? I've been applying for the last month and haven't found any. A lot of the entry level jobs in NYC require at least 1-2 years experience. I am also not able to remove the A from my credential, because I can't find anyone to give me a chance.
 

kimalajoy

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Me too!

I am right there with you. I completed my CPC-A in August and have gotten nothing but denials because I don't have experience. I, too, feel pretty mislead about the actual job opportunities for coders, because it seems like no one in my area (or remote positions that I have applied for) is willing to give me a chance without years of actual coding experience. I was working on completing the Practicode for experience, and to remove my A, but then I read in several places that employers don't consider this to be experience, so all that work doesn't get you ahead anyway, so I gave up on it.

I have begun expanding my job search away from coding jobs because I just can't even get an interview. I really had high hopes for a career change with opportunities for growth and a future and it seems like I just wasted my money and time!
 
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Where did you find openings to train entry level coders in NYC? I've been applying for the last month and haven't found any. A lot of the entry level jobs in NYC require at least 1-2 years experience. I am also not able to remove the A from my credential, because I can't find anyone to give me a chance.

I saw a lot of listings on Indeed and Ziprecruiter. This was a couple of months ago. Also at the time Sloan Kettering was hiring and willing to train with a sign on bonus. I looked at several hospitals as well. A family friend is a coder there for the VA hospital and she had to work in smaller hospitals for so so pay until she got the experience behind her. I live in Savannah and hardly any openings here and they want 3-4 years of experience.
 
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I saw a lot of listings on Indeed and Ziprecruiter. This was a couple of months ago. Also at the time Sloan Kettering was hiring and willing to train with a sign on bonus. I looked at several hospitals as well. A family friend is a coder there for the VA hospital and she had to work in smaller hospitals for so so pay until she got the experience behind her. I live in Savannah and hardly any openings here and they want 3-4 years of experience.
You're in Savannah? I see a few outpatient coding positions available in this area. 1 for the hospital and the other is at an orthopaedic office. I've applied for the one at the hospital several times but haven't heard back.
 
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The hospital one you saw,is it from St Joes/Candler? I saw that one and was thinking about it but I think it was posted a few months ago. I work at Memorial but there are no coding jobs at the moment,honestly would prefer to stay with them and transfer to coding so I don't lose my benefits. The ortho place I interviewed with them before I sat for my cpc but after finishing my program, they were looking for at the time more experience although maybe they are flexible if you are certified.

Getting into the hospitals can be a pain. I've applied over the years between both hospitals for admin positions and it took me 5 years of trying to finally get a call from memorial lol. It helped my manager was new to the practice I work at and actually looked at job applications. Maybe try to get in doing another position just to get in the door?
 

doctordrakeramoray

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I am right there with you. I completed my CPC-A in August and have gotten nothing but denials because I don't have experience. I, too, feel pretty mislead about the actual job opportunities for coders, because it seems like no one in my area (or remote positions that I have applied for) is willing to give me a chance without years of actual coding experience. I was working on completing the Practicode for experience, and to remove my A, but then I read in several places that employers don't consider this to be experience, so all that work doesn't get you ahead anyway, so I gave up on it.

I have begun expanding my job search away from coding jobs because I just can't even get an interview. I really had high hopes for a career change with opportunities for growth and a future and it seems like I just wasted my money and time!
You shouldn’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for Practicode.

Again, it’s the myopic middle aged management systems that are, in my opinion, holding the entire coding industry back from being as prosperous as it could be. To expect years of experience out of every applicant and constantly turning away newly certified coders or people who have coded a different department/service line is ridiculous and suggests one of three things is true:

1. “We’re embarrasingly bad at judging talent and ability”

2. “We’re too lazy to actually do our jobs and train people”

3. “We think you’re too stupid to learn how to code”

It’s a system set up to enable laziness and act as some sort of a secret society of which new people cannot be apart.
 

steels816

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Thank you for posting your comment

You shouldn’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for Practicode.

Again, it’s the myopic middle aged management systems that are, in my opinion, holding the entire coding industry back from being as prosperous as it could be. To expect years of experience out of every applicant and constantly turning away newly certified coders or people who have coded a different department/service line is ridiculous and suggests one of three things is true:

1. “We’re embarrasingly bad at judging talent and ability”

2. “We’re too lazy to actually do our jobs and train people”

3. “We think you’re too stupid to learn how to code”

It’s a system set up to enable laziness and act as some sort of a secret society of which new people cannot be apart.
I agree with your comment 109% I feel this way all the time- I get rejected all the time and even for entry level positions- to me it comes down to no one wants to train you for anything- the recruiters in hr just look for experience and reject everyone else-
 

doctordrakeramoray

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I agree with your comment 109% I feel this way all the time- I get rejected all the time and even for entry level positions- to me it comes down to no one wants to train you for anything- the recruiters in hr just look for experience and reject everyone else-
And don’t get me wrong, I understand that training a new employee requires a great deal of time and resources, but the combination of condescension/myopia projected by coding managers is so very frustrating.

When I went through the interview process for coding at my current place of employment, I met with management 4-5 times, and each time I was outright asked if I was certain that this is what I wanted to do. I paid nearly $2k up front (most of which reimbursed by my employer thankfully), spent months taking my distance learning course, and took a day off of work to drive two hours and sit for an exam that took another four and a half. I wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t interested, and I certainly didn’t go through all that to have my motives and desire questioned. I found it incredibly offensive given the audacity required to actually ask me that.
 

steels816

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336
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And don’t get me wrong, I understand that training a new employee requires a great deal of time and resources, but the combination of condescension/myopia projected by coding managers is so very frustrating.

When I went through the interview process for coding at my current place of employment, I met with management 4-5 times, and each time I was outright asked if I was certain that this is what I wanted to do. I paid nearly $2k up front (most of which reimbursed by my employer thankfully), spent months taking my distance learning course, and took a day off of work to drive two hours and sit for an exam that took another four and a half. I wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t interested, and I certainly didn’t go through all that to have my motives and desire questioned. I found it incredibly offensive given the audacity required to actually ask me that.
I do understand as to why but I do think employers need to give new coders a chance.
 
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Think outside the box

I decided to go back to school after the financial crash years ago. I was laid off and thought going from paralegal to medical cider would be a good transition. I was familiar with the employers wanting experience but not willing to give it. It is the idea that they don’t want a new employee, they want someone else’s. Over the course of 7 years I would do the normal. Answer adds on Craigslist, zip recruiter, monster, temp agencies..... I would get an interview here and there and afterwards get the rejection letter in the mail. Going through that over and over, I would get so deflated I would stop for awhile to mentally regroup. But I finally decided to do something different. Instead of looking for a coding job, I decided to cold contact all medical billing companies in my area and offered to be an unpaid intern. That worked. I got one internship, which was okay. But my second one was heaven. And in the end they hired me full time and I have been there ever since.... So my only advice is to get creative... Keep your head up. I wish you the best of luck.
 

pscanlan

Networker
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My experience was not typical. I got my first coding job with a very small billing company, one that had never had a coder on staff (!). At the time I was hired, I had no experience in coding, no experience in billing whatsoever, no certification. In the first two weeks I educated myself on the credentials available, and I told my boss I would be studying for the CPC exam. I decided that I would need to stay at least a year (despite rather poor working conditions) in order to have the desired experience that everyone has mentioned in this thread. That employer did not reimburse me for my exam, my books, or my extra efforts. I did not use any schools, classes or courses to prepare - I just bought the books and studied. At about the year mark I scheduled my exam and scheduled a few days off to cram. The Monday following my exam (which I passed, I later found out) my boss laid me off. Turns out he had lost two clients while I was on PTO and he didn't have the business to support my position.

So three months of unemployment later, I had a few job offers, one of which I accepted and still work for. It takes time, and a bit of luck (I'm based in Dallas-Fort Worth, a big metroplex) to get callbacks.

Two pieces of advice. I know we coders like to think of ourselves as separate from billers, as our knowledge-base is not exactly congruent with theirs. However, many companies fold coding operations into their billing departments, or charge entry, or what have you. Smaller doctor's offices often cannot support separate positions for each role, and so combine the roles into coder/billers, or coder/charge entry. If you lack relevant experience, take any job you can get in any of those positions. There are a lot more billing positions than coding positions, and it's an easier transition to coding from billing than from something like secretarial work or hospital intake. From my limited experience there are usually 5-10 billers (account reps, whatever they're called in your company) for every coder, and those odds speak to why coders are valuable. Coders hold the institutional knowledge at companies, whereas reps typically have high turnover, as people cycle into or out of the industry. That is your foot in the door, and it's closer to your goal than secretarial work.

Second, use your local chapter. My chapter here in Dallas just had a meeting where the speaker's topic was professional networking. I mean how germane can you get. I wasn't able to attend for personal reasons, but I sorely wish I could have. Even if you don't have speakers specifically talking about networking, simply going to meetings and asking people if they know of current openings is another way to meet coding managers and the like.

One other comment regarding what doctordrakeramoray said earlier in the thread: "1. “We’re embarrasingly bad at judging talent and ability” 2. “We’re too lazy to actually do our jobs and train people” 3. “We think you’re too stupid to learn how to code”"

These attitudes seem pervasive in the industry. Many companies seem to shy away from the expense of training new coders. Hospital systems typically will, even after they demand 2-3 years of experience. And honestly, there should be training no matter what experience you've got. No two PM software systems are identical, and the more you as a coder or biller are asked to do in a software system, the more you have to understand the mechanics of it. That takes time, and honestly most billing companies do a horrible job of training new staff. Both of my positions basically threw me in the deep end and said "sink or swim." I don't know, perhaps it's because of the mix of skills and education it takes to be a good coder. You need medical knowledge, but not so much that you went for a nursing or medical degree. You need attention to detail, but not so much that you've further specialized into auditing or documentation specialties. It's a peculiar Goldilocks-zone problem.
 

Dmullenix

New
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Keep Trying

I live in a big city and have found that for CPC-A's to get in the field some start as AR or collections. Having your CPC while doing this helps. It gets you familiar to the codes and they way the insurance works. Just a thought.
 

doctordrakeramoray

Contributor
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I live in a big city and have found that for CPC-A's to get in the field some start as AR or collections. Having your CPC while doing this helps. It gets you familiar to the codes and they way the insurance works. Just a thought.
I have 5 years of revenue cycle experience and it makes no difference whatsoever.
 
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I feel the same. I graduated from The Andrews School also and have my CPC-A and CCS certifications and can't find employment anywhere due to not having any experience. I have put out at least 200 applications. I was told coders were in demand and needed but I have found that to not be the case. I do like coding but I almost wish I would've done something else.
 

TThivierge

Guru
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Try Insurance Company First

Hi

You can gain experience if work as claims examiner with insurance payer. the have hard time getting coders. Or do some free coding for a doctor to gain experience.

I hope this helps you

Lady T.
 
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Any updates?

I feel the same. I graduated from The Andrews School also and have my CPC-A and CCS certifications and can't find employment anywhere due to not having any experience. I have put out at least 200 applications. I was told coders were in demand and needed but I have found that to not be the case. I do like coding but I almost wish I would've done something else.
I find it really discouraging that you can't find a coding job with the CCS. I thought the CCS was the golden standard to coding. I am sorry you are going through this. This has me wondering if pursuing coding was even worth the money, time and effort. I was going to take the CCS after the CPC, but stopped because I struggled finding employment as well with the CPC-A. These jobs want at least 1-2 years and the internships/xternships on this site are no help either.

Most people are suggesting billing and claims, but easier said than done, they want experience to do those jobs as well. You can't just jump into it like it's nothing. Volunteering in a HIM department is another bureaucratic process, because again, they won't just let anyone in a hospital/office unless help is really needed.
 

daedolos

Expert
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Long Beach
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Your best bet for CPC-A is to network and one of the best resources for networking is the AAPC chapter meetings.

Peace
@_*
Don't give up.
 
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I am Feeling Defeated too.

I echo so many of your same thoughts. I feel like the schools/training programs promote this certification to their benefit. I have been in healthcare for 25+ years. I coded for a doctor for 17, but was uncertified. It's crazy, the jobs I have applied for start at $12. I really feel that the illusion of "working from home" and being considered a professional is just that, an illusion. With the cost of maintaining my CEUs and the fact that AAPC won't allow you to self-submit other pertinent education for CEUs, I am considering this a sunk cost. Education is never wasted, and the class was hard. However for 2 years I have been told, hang in there. The thread is wearing thin.
 

twizzle

True Blue
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Feeling defeated

I echo so many of your same thoughts. I feel like the schools/training programs promote this certification to their benefit. I have been in healthcare for 25+ years. I coded for a doctor for 17, but was uncertified. It's crazy, the jobs I have applied for start at $12. I really feel that the illusion of "working from home" and being considered a professional is just that, an illusion. With the cost of maintaining my CEUs and the fact that AAPC won't allow you to self-submit other pertinent education for CEUs, I am considering this a sunk cost. Education is never wasted, and the class was hard. However for 2 years I have been told, hang in there. The thread is wearing thin.
I totally feel your pain. It is so very easy to get sucked into those 'illusions' created by educational organizations who promise 'earn $60000 a year and work from home in a career in medical coding'. That is exactly what I did and was soon disappointed and kicking myself. The reality however is that those illusions can turn into reality but it takes time.
Let's be honest, the 'organizations' are in it for the money but they need to take the honorable route and provide would-be HIM professionals with a more realistic overview and tell it like it really is. I think it's called being transparent.

When I finally got a break and an interview for that first coding job I offered to take a really low hourly rate ($12 funnily enough but that is what I asked for) because I was pretty sure that given an opportunity, I would make good. I got the job and several raises within the first few months.

The other factor that plays into the problem is the number of certifications being handed out. Just take a look at Healthcare Business Monthly's newly certified section. The apprentice status certifications alone account for almost 1000 newly-certified coders in one edition of the publication. The job market just cannot absorb even a small percentage of these people and that is a big problem.

I wish I had a solution for you other than to go for jobs that offer $12/hour because you never know where it will take you. I know it's an insult to your intelligence and all you've fought for but just go with it should the opportunity arise.

Good luck.
 
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