Request for guidance


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Dear AAPC Medical Coding Forum,

I am 43 years-old with a chronic health condition and began a Medical Coding Certificate Program through my local community college last spring. So far, I have completed Medical Terminology, Pharmacology, Human Anatomy & Physiology, and this semester I am working through Intro to Human Disease (Pathophysiology). I still need to get into the "meat" of the program, ICD-10 coding, CPT coding, and Healthcare Reimbursement. I did take a beginning CPT coding course online through my local library. I passed the course. I currently volunteer once per week at my local hospital in the Quality Improvement Department.

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a Master of Arts in Training & Development. However, none of my past education is healthcare related. Part of the reason I wanted to get into medical coding is because I thought it was something I could do from home thus allowing me to earn money with my chronic health condition.

However, the more I look at discussion boards and job postings the more concerned I become about my future. Every position wants a minimum of two years experience. Also, I see that it one has to start in an entry-level medical office position before moving into coding. I am going to finish my medical coding certificate, and try for AHIMA's CCS or AAPC's CPC, as I do belong to AAPC as well. I know networking is important, and my health can often interfere with in-person networking and engagement.

Can anyone provide any information or insight into how best to proceed.

- Do my Bachelor's and Master's Degree give me any advantage in gaining employment?

- Is it possible to gain medical coding experience through an internship that can be done remotely or in an office a few times per week?

- How do I approach hiring managers about possible opportunities for experience? I am not expecting to be paid much or even at all as I really just want to get the experience necessary to obtain a position as a medical coder.

I realize I may be unrealistic here and may need to really push myself hard if I want to gain employment as a medical coder or HIM. I could just really use some guidance. I have worked with advisors in my medical coding certificate program, but I could really use the insight of professionals in the field. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to respond. I greatly appreciate it.


Jennifer Costello

AAPC Student Member 01435833


Vancouver, Washington
Best answers


If you haven't yet joined your local AAPC chapter, now is the time. They may have information about available local "intern" positions, and they also offer CEU's and free courses at chapter meetings which will add greatly to your knowledge base.