Wiki Second career - Where to Begin?


Blue Ridge, VA
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(I posted this in the General section elsewhere in te forum, perhaps this is a more appropriate site for my questions.)

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.
Where are you located? I to started my second career 11 years ago after Animal health for 25 years. I started as a claims examiner, and promoted up to coding and compliance Supervisor. I became Certified as a coder 3 years ago. Coders are wanted for HCC/RAF payment for Medicare advantage Senior HMO members, mostly in California.
:) Once you become Certified you can get 14-18 per hour. I know a after Animal work, even for profit, your reward is in the Animals not the money you receive.
Good won't be as hard as you think!
second career

Your first career may be a very good stepping stone. Check with Vetenarians (sp?) and vet schools. Since pet insurance is becoming more common, there will be a need there that your unique skillset might pull some weight.
Look for an Entry level job

I know what you ar going through. I recently started over my career in Medical Coding from accounting. I first worked in a hospital in administration to get my foot wet and learn some medical terminology. this was extremely help ful. I moved from NY to Tulsa OK and the change was great for my career. I think that in states like NY it is so competitve that its difficult to get a job with no experience. Everyone wanted at least one year which i didn't have. After the hospital I worked with a medical insurance company, processing claims and as a CSR. This was extremely helpful since i learned what causes claims to get denied and how insurance companies work. I was lucky to get a job in a doctor's office. This i believe is a great start, its a small office and they were OK that i didn't have that much experience. They sent me on a course pertainint to ENT coding which was great. Try small offices, hospitals anywhere that you can get billing or coding experience. Even medical records department will help in gaining relevant experience. Well, Goodluck!!! Don't give up. Oh by the way, I found this job through a medical staffing agency and I told the rep that I would not consider any other types of jobs. Only Medical coding, so she kept trying and I waited about a month before I got this job. It was worth it.

second career

This caught my eye as I am also embarking on a second career with coding. I was a casemanager for Senior Services for 20 years and wanted to change directions about 3 1/2 years ago. I got a job as an administrative assistant in a hospital to get my foot in the door of the health care system. After doing the AAPC independent study program and passing the exam, I let the organization know of my career goals. I live in a rural area and jobs are few and far between, so this organization is really my only possibility. Finally, 7 months after passing the exam, I was able to apply for and receive an offer for a coding job. My lack of experience, as many others have mentioned, has been a problem, but with three+ years as an employee, I was able to demonstrate my capabillities to the agency. I am scheduled to actually start on Nov 12th and am really excited about this opportunity.