How to get Bachelors

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Hello all,
I have been coding at a rural health facility in KY since 2010. I have an Associates in Applied Science, which I received thru a local Community/Technical College.
I recently passed my CPC. The clinic I work in is multi specialty: General Practice, pain mgt, radiology - including mammo and breast bx’s, high complexity lab, addiction services, mental health, OB/GYN, and PEDS. We have over 30 providers - MD, DO, APRN, and PA’s, who also see Patients at our local hospital, and SNF, and some providers make visits at assisted living facilities and home visits. Oh yeah, and dental... I feel I have a pretty good knowledge of different coding scenerios. There are some days we see over 500 PT’s PER DAY! With that all being said...where I work falls short on one thing, THEY DON’T PAY CODERS what they deserve, at all, or billing staff for that matter, we are considered “same as front desk” *** SIGH****
So, I feel I would be selling myself short without checking for other opportunities that may be available...I just seen where the University of KY is hiring a person to be assistant to the Head Coder...per Job Description, they want a BA or equivalent, which one of the equivalents is CPC.
My question: as a person who loves Coding with all my might, am I better to attain more letters after my name (credentials) or should I get a BA - and what kind of BA would I need?? ?
All thoughts are much APPRECIATED!
 

Annette

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Next career step

I obtained my CPC while completing my Bachelors in Health Care Administration. If I had to do it all over again, I would go to an accredited AHIMA school an obtain my Bachelors there, while also obtaining my AHIMA certification. That certification opens up doors in hospitals, such as in Medical Records management, as the Joint Commission actually requires the AHIMA certification for its MR Managers. That, or get an LPN license and then work on becoming an Auditor. Medical Background with a CPC is extremely valuable.
 
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Thank you Annette!

I obtained my CPC while completing my Bachelors in Health Care Administration. If I had to do it all over again, I would go to an accredited AHIMA school an obtain my Bachelors there, while also obtaining my AHIMA certification. That certification opens up doors in hospitals, such as in Medical Records management, as the Joint Commission actually requires the AHIMA certification for its MR Managers. That, or get an LPN license and then work on becoming an Auditor. Medical Background with a CPC is extremely valuable.

Thanks, Annette, for that information. I have asked for information from Drexel and Ashford! One of those has a Masters in Healthcare Risk Management....
 

mitchellde

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A BA is not an equivalent to a CPC. If you want a BA then you will need to go to a college and look at the offerings for a health related degree such as health information management. A BA is usually equivalent to 120 semester hours of class work which is about 4 years. A masters degree can be anywhere from 32 to 64 additional hours depending on the course of study. An MSPH which is a masters in public health is 64 hours of graduate hours. To obtain a masters degree you must first have a bachelors degree.
 

HangarPilot

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I'm a strong supporter of education and have several degrees. I have multiple A.A.S. (Associate of Applied Science) degrees from my time in the Air Force as well as a B.S. is Business (Accounting). That said, education and degrees are not the same thing!

The A.A.S. degrees are basically to vocational "certificate" programs and most employers could care less. My B.S. degree looked good on my resume, until employers were turning me away for being "overqualified"... I applied for tons of bookkeeping jobs but was "overqualified" to be a bookkeeper and "under-qualified" to be an accountant! Just like the Ph.D. that gets laid off and can't get a job at McDonald's ... no one wants to hire you because they can't pay you what you're "worth" and assume you will continue looking for a better paying job and leave at the first opportunity. The fact that I wanted a $10/hr bookkeeper job just didn't make sense to anyone! Eventually I threw in the towel and started fresh in the health care world!

Many employers will accept education in lieu of experience year-for-year. Meaning, if they want 2 years experience and you have no experience but a 2-year degree, they would consider you. But since you have the experience, I don't think a degree would help you much with "coding jobs." Now if you want something more like supervisory or managerial work - by all means, a degree would help "set you apart" from you peers.

Before you invest any money in any program - I suggest you throw your resume out there and see what you find. I think a head coder job is well within your reach without any additional degrees or certifications. You have the knowledge/education/experience! Good luck!
 
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Makes Perfect Sense!

Thanks, Jeffrey, that makes sense! I do have the experience, I work hard, and don't mind going the extra mile...I just lack confidence, which no degree or credential can change....In my heart, I know that I know my stuff, it's just I always in my mind, think, "wow, there's no way I could get that job, everyone is smarter than me"...you know the drill....I guess it's time to throw my line in the water, and see what I can catch.
 

kroemer4

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Another Perspective

From my perspective, if you love hands-on coding then you'll likely over-qualify yourself with another level of higher education. My experience has taught me that higher education--something I once thought would significantly qualify a person--can work against attempts as well.

My story: I came across coding after I had a bachelor's degree (in business administration) in my quest towards non-profit management/change of industry and then became a little sidetracked while learning about billing and coding. The majority of my peers in multiple practices either had no higher ed and had been coding forever, or had a certificate/vocational associate degree; my bosses were also generally under-educated for their management positions considering it was non-profit work. Admittedly, my over-qualifications didn't garner me invitations to personal-time events and it likely didn't help that I was unhappy with the job opportunities overall and was working towards another degree. Practical coding has never been something that ignites my passion, but interpreting Medicare regulations & implementing theories does spark goodness inside of me. My bachelor's degree qualified me to teach vocational associate degree students and work in compliance. My master's degree (in organizational leadership) supported a promotion to my current role, but also introduced me to a ceiling of upward movement. I am currently trying to initiate change/expand my horizons without acquiring another degree--or even another certification--but in a manner that ignites me intrinsically.

Moral of the story: If you love what you do--and you are lucky enough to do it--continue along that path. If you no longer want to do what you are doing--or a promotion requires it--go back to school to expand on how you want to grow. Every level of degree opens and closes doors of opportunity. Make sure you know what you want before you begin the journey.
 
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