Second career - Where to begin?


Blue Ridge, VA
Best answers
I am working on my second career in medical coding. The first 20+ years of my life have been spent working with wildlife and more recently, in a veterinary setting. I already have a BS degree in forestry and wildlife. I explored medical coding alot as it is a 180 degree change from my first career. I know I want to do this. I plan to finish my education (a coding certificate) at a local community college and take the exam in 2008. I am also collecting job ads along the way so I know where to go to apply for positions when the time comes.

My question is where does someone like me start as an entry level coder? Drs. offices? Local hospitals? Do I include my BS degree on a resume/application even though it is unrelated? My former "life" included a lot of animal health record keeping, permits, inventory updating, etc. My current job at the vet clinic includes chart auditing and I think there are many transferable skills as for as information managment goes.

Any advice more experienced coders may have would be appreciated as I embark on the second phase of my life.

After reading through the forum, by the way, the $ 13-14 dollar an hour figure sounds good to me after working in the animal care and non-profit field. I would be happy with such a wage.
I would recommend starting off in a larger 3rd party billing company. In order to be an effective coder it is essential to understand the fundamentals of the billing process as well. By working for a billing company you will generally have more opportunity to move around and work your way up rather quickly to obtain the knowledge needed to become a very effective coder. Most larger TPA's also have coding positions within and usually have very good continuing education which can be crucial for a new coder.

I started off coding within a physicians assistance division (essentially billing) of an international company which is now under the McKesson umbrella. I could not put a price on the experience and great training I received there.

Good luck!
I have also made that jump!

I am a new coder but I found that my current employer considered my previous BS degree to be an asset. I also think it might be a good asset in terms of salary...

Just have an answer ready as to why you have made the jump. I have found that to be the more relevant and... most critical issue to deal with.

Did that answer your question? (Well, one of them anyway...)

Fellow animal lover,