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How to Become a Medical Coder without Going to School

“You can learn a little bit about coding in 6 weeks, but a 6-week training program without other experience or skills may not be sufficient to land that first coding job,” according to Pamela J. Haney, MS, RHIA, CPC-H, CIC, CCS (“The Myths and Realities About Becoming a Coder,” Healthcare Business Monthly, February 2015). “Coding requires life-long learning and constant skills improvement. Hospital-based positions in particular require formal training with courses in health information management and various classification systems with a practical component or on-the-job experience to be proficient.”

Those who are properly trained and certified are more likely to find a medical coding job.

When employers say they want experience, what they really mean is “demonstrated skills.” They want to know that you can perform the job. Internships and practical training programs can help prove your skill set. The Chronicle of Higher Education surveyed more than 50,000 employers and found that managers unanimously ranked internships and volunteer experience above relevance of coursework, college GPA, and college reputation.

AAPC’s Practicode is a web-based training program allowing new medical coders to get real work experience. Complete the program while training for your certification exam to remove one of the two required years of your credential’s apprentice designation.

Go here for more information.

AdamShoop

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As I have been reading over these forums, I have noticed alot of discouragement coming in from those not being able to find work having no experience. Though I do feel for them, I wanted to also start a thread that might give hope to those people who have no experience and are looking for a job.

I'm wondering, how many people actually found work as a "Medical Coder, Medical Biller" without having ANY experience in said field? If you have, please share, and I believe it will encourage everyone currently looking.

Personally, I have not graduated with a CPC or anything yet. I did however call a hospital around my area (mid missouri) and she said she was willing to hire CPC-A's with no problem. She said of course, she would test the applicant, and that was that.

Thank you.
 

btadlock1

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I technically didn't, but...

As I have been reading over these forums, I have noticed alot of discouragement coming in from those not being able to find work having no experience. Though I do feel for them, I wanted to also start a thread that might give hope to those people who have no experience and are looking for a job.

I'm wondering, how many people actually found work as a "Medical Coder, Medical Biller" without having ANY experience in said field? If you have, please share, and I believe it will encourage everyone currently looking.

Personally, I have not graduated with a CPC or anything yet. I did however call a hospital around my area (mid missouri) and she said she was willing to hire CPC-A's with no problem. She said of course, she would test the applicant, and that was that.

Thank you.
I started out in commercial claims follow-up and appeals 3 years ago. I gained enough coding and compliance experience to get my certifications and get promoted to oversee coding compliance for all of our (120) providers. If you really want to do more hands-on coding, consider being a biller/charge entry rep - perferrably for a specialist. You'd be surprised at how redundant family practice encounters can be. Be willing to think outside of the box...if you can get your foot in the door, you can go wherever you want. ;)
 
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I started out at a front desk prior to education and certification. While in school I got a position in a billing office posting payments. I learned alot there. After receiving my associate's degree, and MA and CPC certifications I found a company that was willing to give me a shot with no "actual experience". They paid a little less, but it was worth it in the end.

Thanks for starting this thread, I think encouragement is needed.
 
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I started as a receptionist and easily worked my way into medical billing for an orthopaedic practice, with absolutely no medical experience, I picked everything up from the other staff, xray techs and event the doc. I evenutally went and got my associates in business, and now manage a 5 provider ortho practice with NO CPC certification.

I plan on getting certified for my own peice of mind, but if your willing to learn every aspect of a practice to answering phones to filing charts... You will do great!
 

rhedges

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I got my start at an insurance company because of good data entry skills & medical terminology knowlege in the claims processing department. From there, I learned everthing I could about the process which was very attractive to potential medical providers. I didn't become a CPC until I had been in the industry for about 17 years.

A positive can do attitude can get your foot in the door, a never stop learning approach will take you even further.

It has been a fun ride and the future is only going to get brighter for those of us who thrive in the environment of challenges with regards to coding, billing & behind the scenes patient accounts.

Ranae Hedges, CPC
Aberdeen, SD Chapter President
 

mkm1517

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worked my way up to coding

I started out working at the front dest of a physicians practice group that was associated with the local hospital. My billing/charge entry was the most accurate of all my co-workers so I started focusing on the billing/charge entry portion for the clinic. The office manager was very supportive and mentored me to get more into the coding side of things. I applied for a coding job at the hospital, which of course said you had to be certified and have experience, but the manager was willing to give me a chance and let me learn on the job. After about 9 months working in coding I took the CPC exam and passed on the 1st try and I haven't looked back since.

I think a lot of people who want to get into the coding world are put off by the so-called requirements of having experience. Just because the job posting says you have to have experience doesn't necessarily mean the manager won't give a non-experienced person a chance. The worst that can happen is you don't get hired, so just go for it! You won't get anywhere if you don't try. Also, you may have to take a so-called "lesser" job to get your foot in the door. Jobs in billing, medical records filing, front desk, etc open lots of doors that will lead into coding. Just keep your sights on your goal and you'll get there!

This was a wonderful thread to start. Let's encourage our colleagues!
 

BEVERLYMORRIS02

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Thank You Coders

I just wanted to respond to the coders and non coder that was trying to encourage the CPC-A. I was certified in November, but I don't have the experience. I am discouraged, but try to remain encourage, your responses just gave me some well needed encouragement. I live in Norfolk, VA. and I can't seem to get my foot in the door.

Thank You to all that responded, you have truly brightened my day!
 

coder25

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I was hired as a CPC-A with no experience in a general surgical office. I first started working there as a part-time transcriptionist and then went to check out; however, I did not particularly care for the position. It was at that time, I decided to go back to school for coding, which I took online and passed the exam. I also returned to a former employer as a transcriptionist (where I worked as a full-time transcriptionist) while I was taking the online class for coding.

After I passed my CPC exam, a coder that I worked with at the general surgical office told my former manager that I passed the exam. She later called and offered me a position to code their E/M and minor surgeries. Of course I jumped at the chance because I knew that I would be learning so much from an experienced coder. I am happy to say that I am going on three years and just recently passed my CEMC exam!

For those looking for work with no experience, don't give up! Try to obtain a position in an office, even if it is a receptionist, transcriptionist, check-out person, medical records, etc. That way at least you have your foot in the door, which could potentially lead to more possibilities.

Peggy
 
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2 months out of a continuing ed course at my local tech college i landed a job coding for three pain management clinics. Unbeknownst to me at the time my employer was on his way to federal prison. Within 3 months he was in jail, the doors to the business were shuttered and i was unemployed again. 2 months after that a company that i had applied to 3 times over the prior year was in need of someone to code pain management because the woman that was doing so was going on maturnity leave. I answered their ad on a whim. Not expecting much but got an interview. I was offered the position.
Since then i have coded pain management, wound care, physc, anesthesia, general practice, pediatrics and a little ob-gyn. I work for a management group and we do a lot of varied disciplines.
The group had purchased a new software platform three yrs ago but only had a handful of practices on the new software. Being kind of a techie I offered to start migrating the other practices over and that has become a large part of my job description for the time being.
I took and passed the CPC exam last Fall. The "A" comes off this July with a yrs experience and the schooling. I am sitting for the Auditor credential this fall.
I am the current Secretary and Treasurer of my local chapter.

I understand that the search can be frustrating. Believe me I lived it. The first employment i gained in this field ended up being a nightmare but it was enough experience to lead me to a better place. Persevere and you shall overcome.
 

dquon1

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Hi, recent CPC-A here.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who posted their stories of how they got into the industry. It is very encouraging to know that it can be done w/o experience [which is basically the boat that I'm in now].

Thanks again!
 

candicoder

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Keep your options open

Hi All,

I got a job at a neurosurgical practice while I was finishing my coding classes doing their charge entry. It was not a glamourous job and it was only part-time to start, but I learned a lot and really am glad I started out that way. I finished my schooling 5 months after I started and sat for the CPC-A and passed then got to be the full-time coder. I got a lot of great expereince and worked there for over three years and then was recruited by a hospital to work for them and have since been doing some consulting for other groups as well. Don't lose hope but please take a job that can get you som expereince in the office and find out how it works and runs and then you can show them what you can do as a coder. I started this journey 5 years ago and coding is the best career choice I could ever have made! Stay positive and keep your head up.

Candi
 
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Thanks for the encouragement! It is needed! I finished school in March and I've been applying for jobs constantly! I do not have the extra $300 for the test right now, need a job first. So, obviously, I am not applying for coding positions...I have been applying right and left to entry level office positions. No bites yet! I have been a stay at home mom for 20 years, so maybe that is what's holding me back. I hope to hear some news soon! Do hospitals allow volunteers in the charge entry area??
 

btadlock1

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Thanks for the encouragement! It is needed! I finished school in March and I've been applying for jobs constantly! I do not have the extra $300 for the test right now, need a job first. So, obviously, I am not applying for coding positions...I have been applying right and left to entry level office positions. No bites yet! I have been a stay at home mom for 20 years, so maybe that is what's holding me back. I hope to hear some news soon! Do hospitals allow volunteers in the charge entry area??
I really doubt it - too many privacy concerns. But, ANY job within the proximity of the billing/customer service side of a hospital or practice is a foot in the door for a coding position - it may even get you where you want to be, a LOT faster than you'd think. I really want to see what would happen if someone who's certified (or soon to be certified), and with NO experience, would put my theory on this to the test (although it will depend largely on how good of an employee the person is):

Find a medium-to-large sized physician group practice, hospital, or other well established medical facility/physician's office, that's advertising for an entry-level clerical position - even more entry-level than charge entry (think: receptionist or file clerk). Tell them that you are currently/soon to be certified as a coder, and you want to get used to the pace of the clinic environment, and hopefully, get an opportunity to learn real hands-on coding from an experienced coder; remind them that you can't get that kind of practical experience from any book.

-Your goal ("5 year plan") is to someday ___________. Fill in the blank with something beyond coding, like practice management, consulting, auditing, or even just running a coding or billing department, if that's you passion - the key is to make the goal a few steps bigger than just 'become an experienced coder', even if you don't expect to achieve it within 5 years. What you'll be communicating is, "I'm ambitious, and not only do I have a plan to make this my long-term career, by applying for this job, I'm already putting my plan into action." Showing that your plan is thought out beyond one step into the future demonstrates critical thinking and initiative, which are valuable traits in any employee. The receptionist position is Step 1: getting acclimated with how the practice operates by learning the whole process, from patient check in to claim appeals.
Step 2: is to learn as much as you can - become the 'jack-of-all-trades' of the clinic. People love to teach others what they know, when the pupil shows a genuine desire to learn from them, especially. You may not be granted time on the clock to intern around the office right away, but if you're seriously dedicated, use your break times or other spare off-the-clock time to learn a new skill (especially if you can sit with a coder), and make sure your efforts are noticed by your supervisor(s). Don't make a big deal about it - just say, "'So-and-so' said she'd be happy to help me develop my coding skills [in my personal time/during my lunch breaks] by observing her at work; but we thought we should check with you first, to make sure it's alright." (*You'll score bonus points, if your proposed mentor is recognized as a top performer...) Make sure you've been there for at least a week or two, and have already shown that you're competent and a good student, by proving yourself in your current position. (Be the best darn file clerk that's ever worked there!:D)
It's really not much different than an unpaid internship, except you don't have to bother with all of the privacy/security hassles of a non-employee intern. You wouldn't be working(technically), or training for a position that's been promised to you (yet), so it's not likely that your unpaid presence - strictly for your own academic benefit - will violate any labor laws (check with your state if you're unsure). If you're really lucky, they might be impressed enough to allow you a little bit of paid training from the beginning; but either way, if you make a good impression on your trainer, it'll get back to the supervisors - and they'll start to see that you're a good investment. The next opening in a position you want will be as good as yours! ;)

This might sound obvious to most people, but dress professionally (you'd rather be over-dressed than under-dressed...no scrubs), even when you're just picking up the application/turning in your resume. Ladies, I hate saying this with every cell in my body, but a little bit of make-up honestly does go a long way to helping you land a job (that's not my opinion - it's been backed up by several scientific studies - I don't agree with it, but it is, what it is...people are hard-wired to have a preference for attractiveness) I'm not saying you've got to raid the cosmetics counter - just give the impression that you put some effort into how you look.
Guys, shave and spring for the button-down shirt over the polo - for extra points, also add a tie.

My prediction, is that anyone who really wants to become a coder (or beyond), and is willing to match that ambition with serious work ethic in any task they're given; will get a job where they want to work, in the position they want to be in, in a fraction of the amount of time, as they would if they stayed on the beaten-path. If you're out of ideas and try mine, please let me know how it works out! :D

Good luck!
 
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mharrislow

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I graduated with an Associate's degree in Medical Administration. Upon graduation, I began researching some of the companies in my area, not really focused on a specific job title. The company that placed #1 on my list is the one that hired me as an uncertified Medical Coder. Stay encouraged.
 

AthensCoder

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:eek:I got hired for a billing/coding position right out of a technical school. I believe the only reason I got the position because it was a A Native American Health Center and I had Native American preference. There is hope. The Office Manager I worked for was not very happy about this at first as she wanted someone more qualified, but after she saw what kind of work I produced and how good I was that quickly changed. It is now 8 yrs later and we are really good friends, she even comes to me with questions, so there is hope out there.
 
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Brandi,

I will do your experiment! I am willing to do what it takes! I'll keep you updated :D

I have Indian preference and have been looking, almost daily, at the res web site...waiting for an opening! I had a feeling that might be a good way to go.

Thanks again for the encouragement!


Elizabeth
Soon to be CPC-A
 

btadlock1

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Brandi,

I will do your experiment! I am willing to do what it takes! I'll keep you updated :D

I have Indian preference and have been looking, almost daily, at the res web site...waiting for an opening! I had a feeling that might be a good way to go.

Thanks again for the encouragement!


Elizabeth
Soon to be CPC-A
Heck yeah! That's awesome!!!:D

Good luck! I know you can do it - anyone can, as long as they show that they're dedicated, and truly interested in learning everything they can, to become a knowledgable and valued employee. Let me know how it goes! My email is: brandi.tadlock@umchealthsystem.com


:)
 
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I thought it was time this thread made it back to the top so that others could be encouraged and/or contribute their experiences.....
 

Pam Brooks

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Brandi gives excellent advice....as someone who has recently interviewed brand-new coders for entry level jobs, I often ask what everyone's five year plan is. I am not impressed by many of the answers...

"I want to be coding"

"I want to be working full-time"

"I want to learn more about coding".

Good grief. I feel like I have to hold a mirror under their noses to see if they're breathing.

Here's what I want to hear.....

"I want to obtain my specialty certification in ______

"I'd like to be in a supervisory role"

"I want to be able to audit and teach physicians".

"I am interested in compliance"

"I'd like to get my degree".

Frankly (and I think I speak for other managers), I am looking for people who will fit into my succession plan. I need employees who are going to grow with and complement our hospital. I am never interested in anyone who just wants a job. In fact, those people are not hired, by me anyway.

So think ahead five or ten years, before you apply, because coding isn't 'just a job'. It's a career with a lot of growth potential. So if you don't approach this as an opportunity to shine, you're not going to get a chance to get your foot in the door.

May I rant?????

I also know that many of the people (mostly women) that I have recently interviewed are looking for jobs that they can work their lives around. I'll be honest here. I'm very flexible when it comes to sick kids, family vacations, and the occasional (key word) family issue, but I am not running a daycare, and I can't afford to have people tell me when they can and can't work. I am unable provide a 'work from home' situation, and I can't always accomodate "mother's hours". If you want a great career...you have to be willing to work for it....40+ hours a week, and sometimes later in the day than the schoolbus arrives. It annoys me when I bring someone in for an interview for a 40-hour postiion, and when I ask them if they are available 7-3:30, Monday-Friday to have the candidate tell me 'Well, I can't be here Wednesday, because I don't have childcare, and Thursday afternoons I have to leave early because of Cub Scouts, and then Friday morning, I volunteer at my kids' classroom." Nothing against supermoms....but you have to be very balanced and organized to work in this field.

Just wanted to point this out, because I do see a lot of posts from women (I assume) who are trying to work around the kids. My opinion, for what it's worth, anyway.
 

Rperry

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Keep the faith !!!

Good Morning Fellow Coders,

I started in the Medical Field over 15 years ago. I was the first male employee in a Medical Records Department at a Clinic. I worked my work up in several Hospitals and Insurance companies and did billing and coding without being Certified. I am know Certified as a CPC and studying to take the CPC-H exam this fall.

If you have to take a job just to get into the company as an entry-level Biller do it and keep you eyes on the job posting Board and develop good relationships with your co-workers, managers, directors and Supervisors and prove your worth to the organization !!

I am currently a Manager of Revenue Operations. So do not give up keep your nose to the grind stone and never give up !!!

:)
 
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I graduated High school in 86', went to a community college for 3-4 years & worked in a restaurant during same time. I was going to college for computer programing. My typing skills & shorthand skills were very good (60-80 wpm). In 89', a boyfriend's mother got me job with a Home Health Care group doing data entry/phones. Did that for about 2-2 1/2 years when they had a opening in another office for a biller. I said that I would be interested in doing this so I got transfered & trained. Been billing ever since. I bounced around to different specialties & learned alot. I did take a billing class just so it looked good on my resume. Now, after 20+ years, I work for a billing service & have 6 accounts that I am responsible for.

All you need is that first foot in the door.

:cool:
 
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Good news

I am a coding and billing instructor, CPC and just completed the course to become a CPC-I. I sit for the exam in two weeks. That being said I have seen my share of new coders. The good news is what you are feeling is not unusual. Every single one of my students have sat in front of my desk about half way through the course and said they thought they were nuts for doing this. It is to hard. Then the corner is turned and they "Get it". Next step is the wall you hit finding a job. Think about this. Would you want to have your Surgeon to be brand new and you were his first patient in sole practice? What would he do to sell you on the idea that he is the one to do your surgery and not Dr. Greybeard. There are positive things to being new and eager to learn. You are on top of the latest coding issues. You have proven you are quick learner because you just put yourself through a vigerous course and passed the CPC exam. MARKET YOURSELF!
In the past I had five students who completed the course at the same time. One had a baby and decided to wait to get a job, one went on to continue her education, and two got jobs in a hospital coding for the clinics when I told them the should not be discouraged if they didn't get the job. They did it anyway and got the jobs!!!! They are not even certified yet. When they pass the CPC exam they get a raise.
Alicia, CPC
 

MrBob75

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gettin my foot in the door

Hi Alicia,

I just completed my online medical coding course a few days ago but haven't taken the CPC exam yet. I have no experience whatsoever in this line of work. I've been employed in the mortgage industry for 10 years. Since i'm done with my online course what are the chances that a general practice or hospital will hire me without any experience other than what I learned online? the sunday ads and what I looked at on Career Builder want at least 3 or 4 years experience in the field.

I read all the previous post and feel encouraged. I'm just afraid I will begin to forget what I learned and if I do find something I wont remember much.
 
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As I have been reading over these forums, I have noticed alot of discouragement coming in from those not being able to find work having no experience. Though I do feel for them, I wanted to also start a thread that might give hope to those people who have no experience and are looking for a job.

I'm wondering, how many people actually found work as a "Medical Coder, Medical Biller" without having ANY experience in said field? If you have, please share, and I believe it will encourage everyone currently looking.

Personally, I have not graduated with a CPC or anything yet. I did however call a hospital around my area (mid missouri) and she said she was willing to hire CPC-A's with no problem. She said of course, she would test the applicant, and that was that.

Thank you.
I am a recently certified CPC-A and am located mid-missouri. I was wondering who (what hospital) you talked to. Please email me at phillipvillemure@live.com.

I have applied at numberous hospitals in the area for coding positions.

Thank you
 

bfontaine

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I am loving all the stories on this thread!!! Good job all you hard working people. Keep sharing your successes! We all need encouragement but especially our soon to be and current CPC-A's!!! Go Get um!!!!:D
 

mary60

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Thank you, everyone, for the words of encouragement. I am a career changer with 3 credentials under my belt....but no healthcare experience. I, too, am searching to get my foot in the door in this industry. I wish everyone who is in my shoes the best of luck. We will find something soon! WE WILL!
 
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No medical field experience

I had absolutely no medical field experience at all and took on-line classes in Advanced Medical Terminology and Medical Coding. I passed the CPC on my first try and then started looking for a way in to the field. I got an Xtern position and less than 3 months later, they hired me based on my Xtern reviews. (I was the first coder they had hired in 3 years, so I figure they had many experienced coders apply.) Oh and this was after I turned 50. So DO NOT get discouraged. It is all about getting your foot in the door and showing what you can do.
 

ealasaid76

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I'm in the same boat...

I have been in medical collections for 8 years. I have my CPC-A. I know a lot about how billing in hospitals work. I have a BA in Communication. I have a certificate in medical billing and coding.

I just wonder how my 8 years isn't experience? :confused: I have interviewed with many people. I need some advice. What was I doing wrong? When I was tested for a coding position I was not allowed to look in either a CPT or an ICD-9 manual. We did that for the exam, why wouldn't a CPC-A, (which is seen as a novice, correct?) be able to look at the manuals they passed the exam with? I know I don't have a photographic memory, therefore I wouldn't know the exact code for the exact procedure/diagnosis, if I wasn't coding on a daily basis. (Which I'm not, unfortunately.)

Anyone?
 
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I worked for UHC as a claims processor for the past 4 years. At the same time, I went to a community college to obtain my medical billing and coding certificate. I just finished up all my classes in may 2011 and sat for the cpc exam on may 14; passed it on first try thank God. I interviewed with 3 companies in a two week span. One company wants me to meet their physians for a coding analyst position and another made me an offer to be their inpatient physician coder; the other company they selected someone else since they figured they'd have to offer me more for their coding analyst position. I never thought i'd find a job so quickly especially since I have no actual billing and coding experience. I was just trying to get my foot in the door and get any medical position available to show my work ethic and work my way up. But now I have the chance to get some valuable coding experience even though i'll have to travel 40 miles, i'm willing to. I agree with many of the posters' here, keep the faith and market yourself. Show them what you know about the field and why they want you. Sell yourself to them as if you were selling a product.
 

jackson7591

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Audit/review

I Was able to get a job in a small family practice by offering to review their billing for specific types of patient visits. This then progressd to investigating why reimbursements for specific types of patient visits varied over the past 12 to 24 months. This lead to developing policies for improved or consistent billing practices.

In short, most practices have coders already. However, very few offices have oversite or rewiew of their coding practices. As such, offer them what they dont have, information about how their coders are doing. You dont have to step on any toes. Let the coders do their work. The last thing a busy coder wants to go is go thru 24 months of records to look for trends. In most cases you get to prove how good a job they are doing and gain from their experience.

Anyway, that is how i got in the door.

Note: I started by reviewing their billing practices based on frequency of specific types of office visits and reimbursement results, not for accuracy of coding practices. My findings started discussions regarding how to ensure standard coding practices. These discussions lead to investigating insurance policies, clarifying coding practices, and staff education. Just want to be clear, i didnt start out auditing coders. I started out summarizing what they coded and the results of their coding.
 
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rconley

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just starting out

Thanks for starting this thread. I just completed 8 months of school in medical billing and coding and now studying for the exam. I too am a little frustrated that you need 2 or 3 years exp. But that being said I will go out and apply to every job out there. Thanks and I will keep you posted if I get anything......

Thanks,
Rena
 
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Current student.

Is it really possible to get a job after school, with no experience? I am a little nervous, I have never done anything like this, and have no office experience, ut willing to do something i feel a lot of passion for. Jus the underlyig factor is I have no experience.
 
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I graduated as an RHIT with zero experience. I took a job as an unofficial PA in a podiatry clinic in a very small town to get my foot in the door (no pun intended).

While cleaning feet in a rural community so toenails could be cut was NOT what I thought I would be doing, it did get me the physician reference I needed, as a "willing to learn person", for the local small hospital (who really was not hiring but when I applied with "willing to work any hours", they took me on as a very part time vacations/nights/weekends ER coder).

While that podiatry job was not ideal, it was what it took to get a job in the field. Fourteen years later I am experienced coder in multiple specialties and work for multiple physicians.

The experience one gains from working in the office with other coders can not be measured. There are a lot of things to learn that while in a "perfect" education world you are to code, what really can be billed in the "real" world is an education unto itself.

With the best of luck wishes~

Christine
 

tebby

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Thanks so much for the inspiration. We have done the training and paid for it. We keep studing and that is endless. If you thought that you could memorize some words and numbers and get a job it's on the next train coming up. Hey we just gotta jump out of nest, hold our nose and go for it. For us who really put the work into it where is there left to go except up!!
Thanks for your insights.
 

Sweeny

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volunteering as a coder

Stepheny,
I created an coding internship at my local hospital as a volunteer. I worked data entry in the coding department for three months. After my certification (CPC-A, CPC-H-A), they hired me as an associate and put me in the basement as a file clerk. After eight months by myself filing patient charts, the department manager advised me that if I TRULY wanted to be a coder, my future lay elsewhere. So I left.
cheers,
Gordon
 

dhann1639

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I wanted to share my story with all the CPC-A's that are looking for a job. I became a certified in September 2010. I was so excited about passing my test and I was ready to hit the workforce running. I won't lie...it's very hard to find a job. But with hard work, determination, and support from friend and family...something comes up when you aren't looking for it. This past April, I applied for a registration receptionist job at a local hospital and received the job. I worked there for three months and was let go due to the fact that I wasn't a good fit for the company. So there I was with no job. For over a month, I was applying for any and every job that was in the medical field with no response. Several weeks ago I found a job ad for a coding job at another hospital. I went ahead and applied (even though I only had 3 months of actual coding experience). A week later I received a phone call to schedule an interview for the coding position. I was very humbled for the opportunity to go in for an interview for a job that I'm very passionate about. The interview went well. However, there was a 2 hour coding exam that I had to complete. The test was very difficult but I was happy to step up to the challenge and do the best I could. About a week ago, I got the call everyone wants to receive. I was offered the coding job. I feel very blessed that I was chosen for this position but at the same time I thought about all the other people who applied for this same position. I guess the moral of my story is to not give up hope. There are jobs out there. We just have to put a bit more effort and really look. I know the AAPC has a website that has job openings which was helpful to me when I was looking for a job. Continue to educate yourself. Just because you received your CPC doesn't mind you stop there. The medical field is growing more and more everyday and things are always changing...even ICD-9 will be a thing of the past beginning Oct. 2013. I wish all of you who are looking for that coding job the best of luck.

God Bless,
Deidre Hann, CPC-A
 
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So many options

I had thought about coding fifteen years ago when I worked in the medical records department of a small hosptial. My office was right next to the coders. They were a great group and loved what they did. Life happened and fast forward to a move from Missouri to Texas. I started working with a Home Health Agency as a scheduler. I hated it and got transfered into the auditing department. That was much better. Soon I was coding. I decided it was time for me to take the leap and go back to school. One of the local colleges had a Medical Billing and Coding program so I worked during the day and went to night school. I tested out of some of the classes which helped. I didn't find a coding position and was layed off at the HHA when they changed hands. Checking back at the college I spoke with the administrator and he offered me a position teaching. Honestly, I don't have the most experience as a coder but I do love to teach. I decided I would make sure that my students knew not only how to code but how to market themselves in todays workforce. The students teach me so much. Their questions have added to my knowledge of coding guidelines.

If you aren't finding a coding job think outside the box and think of all the different places that need a coder.
 

Aleifer

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Coding is the only profession that I know of where the credentials are not trusted. In every other profession, once a person passes their license or certification they are not retested by each individual potential employer, ie. CPA, MD, RN, LPN, MSW, Esq., etc. Patients lives are in the hands of some of these professionals.
Credentials are a uniformly recognized demonstration of mastery of a particular field. What is the point of CPC, CPC-H, CPC-P, CCS or CCS-P if everyone needs to be retested by each potential employer all the time. Only people without credentials should be tested by potential employers.
 

kljr1983

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I started out working at a hospital in a couple different departments...first surgery. I worked in the surgical waiting room, data entry, surgery holding area and then surgery control desk. I then worked in outpatient registration as a medical registrar checking in patients for outpatient procedures and registration for outpatient labs, xrays, etc. I have also worked for an offsite billing company as a patient account rep and also for a private physician's office as a front desk receptionist/medical biller. I am now in the O&P (Orthotic/Prosthetic) field as an office manager, which I am seeking other opportunities right now since the practitioners do the coding in this field. You may not immediately get the position you want, but if you can get a job somewhat similar to your field, then you have a good chance of obtaining the position you want. I am now a CPC-A and like many others, am struggling to find a coding position or internship/externship, but I keep on looking and applying for positions. I have 2 interviews scheduled tomorrow, so I am pretty happy about that. :)

Kaylee Blodgett, CPC-A
 

ktkep23

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I just got my CPC-A 1 week ago. The following week I went to a chapter meeting and I was participating. An office manager (fellow CPC) was there also and was impressed. She asked the chapter secretary for my contact information to set up an interview. I went to the interview and today found out I got the job. So the chapter and participating really helped me get "my foot in the door":D
 

PickChick

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In the Phoenix area, there appears to be a glut of MBC postions posted requiring years of experience. Many of these posted positions have been on the job boards for months. At some point, the industry has to give and let the freshman in. Many excellent newbies are searching for jobs. If given a chance, I'm sure a great many of them would prove to be excellent employees.

Many of the replies to this thread mention starting in front desk positions. The same multi year requirements are requested in those postings as well. Equally as frustrating.

When did "entry-level" get such a bad rap? I realize it takes time to get a new employee up to speed but think how great it would be to mold your new trainee into your facilities standards and practices, especially because your way is the right way! Entry level employees have a lot to offer and are often much more eager and willing than those who have been around and bring with them bad habits and jaded attitudes.
 

stephife

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Where did you study online? I'm looking for an EXCELLENT --- meaning highest quality; online program that does not try to cram all training into 4 months.
 

Butler

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I thank everyone for the words of encouragement, but I am also unable to find any job in the medical field...let alone a coding job. I have my CPC-A and my CHAA (also taken a Professional Medical Coding course, Medical Insurance Reimbursement, Patient Access Fundamentals, Medical Terminology, and Anatomy and Physiology I) . I do not have an extern program in my area. But I do need to work full time to survive.
I have no experience in the medical field. I do have 8 1/2 years of personal lines insurance experience (Home, Auto, Boat, Motorcycle. I was a processor). I am willing to take ANY entry position to learn and get environmental experience. I have applied for receptionist, customer service, billing, medical records, patient access representative, patient access specialist, unit secretary, clerk, etc. I have applied at several places. I too am starting to feel that it is not as easy to get someone to give you a chance at a job in the medical field as it once was. I did renew my credential, but I have mixed feelings. I see a lot of schools offering training and worry that the market is flooded. In a bad economy or even a good economy are there too many new coders out there and too few jobs? Need help and words of encouragement : )
 
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mary60

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In the same boat

I have been trying to change careers for the past 6 years now, but have not yet been successful. I have the credentials, but lack the actual WORK experience in health care. I believe this is why I am constantly turned down. I have had several really good interviews, but no offers. There are just so many coders out there and so few opportunities right now. I was out of work for over a year and have had to fall back on my former career to find work. I just can't wait any longer. I need health benefits and was shocked by the number of physicians that offer minimum wage positions with absolutely NO health benefits! Maybe my timing is off....or maybe I have made a mistake in all this? Either way, it is very disappointing. I have also pursued volunteering at the local hospitals, but the requirement is a 1 year comittment with specific hours worked per week. I feel like I've hit a brick wall.

I have made a huge investment in my career change and I'm not giving up. I'm going to continue to search for a job in health care while working in my former field. I just thank God that I was able to find work at last! I truly believe that those of us who don't give up will be blessed.

Best of luck to everyone,
Kathy,
NRCMA, NRCCS, CPC-A
 
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Thank you!

I wanted to thank you for the encouragement. I am a CPC-A as of Nov. 2010 and work at the Medical Academy I graduated from, while I enjoy what I do and keep up with my CEU's and have my hands in the coding education I have yet to work in a direct coding environment and this gives me hope,

Allison Hamilton CPC-A
 

SusanWhite83

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Love this thread!!!!!

Thank you so much for the encouragement! I am kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place, maybe whoever reads this next can give me some advice.....
I work for a place that does preauthorizations for radiology exams (MRI's CT's things like that) and I also have an Associate Degree in Medical Billing and Coding, and an Associate Degree in Health Insurance Specialist. Now my delimma.....
It took me so long to find a job, I guess I am scared to leave it. The internship I had went well and they had made me PRN at an Ambulatory Surgery Center. I was answering phones, billing and filing. The position ended, I was no longer needed and I am looking for something as maybe a file clerk or something if I can't somehow get anything else. My question is...
Should I leave the preauthorizing and look for a file clerk job, office job, or something at a hospital or do I stay at the preauthing place and go into claims there? No matter what, I want to code. I am just unsure of how to go about it from here. Please help.....:eek:

Susan
 

YPUllom

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I had absolutely no experience in the medical field whatsoever. I was running a child care service out of my home when I decided I wanted something better & more reliable, that didn't tie me to my house all the time.
My only experience in the medical field was as a patient!!! I did a bit of research about what I would like to train for and I was looking seriously at medical transcription. I went to my ex-husband's niece for advice because she had been in transcription for years. She advised me against it because she knows I am partially deaf and she was concerned I would have too much difficulty discerning what the doctor's were saying because they talk quite fast in the dictation and many have heavy accents. She recommended that I look into coding instead.
I went to school online and continued with my daycare for the first couple of semesters before I decided to close up shop and devote more time to studying & classes. I graduated with honors and set about looking for work in a medical office. I got a lot of the "no experience" turn downs and set my sights lower. I signed up for a temp service that specialized in office placements and asked for any position in a medical office. I got placed in a patient greeter position and kept applying for coding jobs
Finally during an interview where I was getting the same old song & dance about no experinece I just asked her exactly how I was to GET experience if no one would give me a chance. I wasn't angry or rude or anything like that. I figured I had already was off the prospect list for that position and I truly did not understand how to get over this hurtle. I asked hoping for may be some sort of helpful advice. Instead I got a moment of silence followed by "You know what? You're right. I like you. Welcome aboard." I got lucky, really. I tell people in any field having this problem don't give up because somewhere out there is the person who is going to give you a chance.
That job lasted 6 months before She got let go & the whole department I was in got revamped & I was the last one in, so I was the first one out. I filed for unemployment & went about pounding the pavement again. About 2 months later I got a call out of the blue from a company I had never heard of called Medassurant. They said they found my resume on CareerBuilder.com and wanted to know if I would be interested in a remote coding position. They emailed me a couple of tests to take. I passed them & I was hired. I have been working from home ever since. Two years for Medassurant then two more for Outcomes Health Information Solutions. Outcomes generally has no work for remote people most of the spring & summer but you do get plenty to do the rest of the year. Medassurant kept me busy year round. Try your luck with them. I still had my apprentice tag when they hired me.
 
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