The sad hunt as a CPC-A

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I just got my Associate's coding degree in December and I became certified just this month in February. The vibe I'm getting is that it is all meaningless without actual coding experience.
Anything I find wants 2-5 years coding/billing experience or is an entry level receptionist type job that pays less than my current non-healthcare job. Is that a sacrifice I will have to make just to get an in with the medical industry and hope to maybe move up? I am utilizing as many networking resources as I can and it seems like PractiCode is a good first step for a CPC-A, but I feel like it doesn't even matter if you have apprentice status or not until you have actual on-the-job experience. Please tell me there is some hope to just keep applying and searching.
 

Victoria323

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Yes you need to make the sacrifice and get a job within the healthcare industry if no one will hire you. Do billing, front desk.... something. You can’t just get your dream remote coding job overnight because you passed an exam or got a degree, that’s an insult to the rest of the coders who worked their butt off to get where they are at now- working from the bottom up (with still a degree and a certificate).
 

hperry10

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Unfortunately, in most organizations, coding is not an entry level position. That being said, it is not impossible to get a coding job without coding experience, some companies will hire people with no experience. The last two coders in my organization were internal hires with no experience. Keep in mind that there are lots of people in your shoes, if a coding job for a non experienced coder opens up you may be competing against hundreds of other candidates. If you truly want to break into this field you may need to take an entry level job. Having coding knowledge can lead you down many different paths - there is so much more than just coding. The AHIMA career map might give you ideas of where to start....and where you can go.

https://my.ahima.org/careermap
 

Pathos

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I just got my Associate's coding degree in December and I became certified just this month in February. The vibe I'm getting is that it is all meaningless without actual coding experience.
Anything I find wants 2-5 years coding/billing experience or is an entry level receptionist type job that pays less than my current non-healthcare job. Is that a sacrifice I will have to make just to get an in with the medical industry and hope to maybe move up? I am utilizing as many networking resources as I can and it seems like PractiCode is a good first step for a CPC-A, but I feel like it doesn't even matter if you have apprentice status or not until you have actual on-the-job experience. Please tell me there is some hope to just keep applying and searching.
I would not go as far as to call your hard work and money spent worthless or wasted. No credentialing company can guarantee a job after certification, and AAPC is not exempt of that either. Even new grad nurses don't automatically have jobs lined up for them. Granted, they don't have to step down to a CNA before they can work as an RN, however perhaps coding is unique in that sense.

You write that you currently have a non-health care job which pays more than a receptionist job. Jumping into coding without any medical office experience is a gutsy move, which might put you at a disadvantage at the get-go. CPC-As has so much to learn just about the coding portion, and without having a solid foundation on medical office/insurance (I am assuming), then you might set yourself up for failure. I believe this is one of the reasons why so many companies want coders with medical/coding experience.

I think what this really boils down to is what you really want to end up doing. If you really want to work as a medical coder, then you may have to do what it takes to get your foot in the coding door. Whether that means switching over to an entry level medical office job (receptionist, patient registration, billing, claims, etc.), getting hired straight up as a CPC-A (there are some companies that do hire freshly minted CPC-As, but as hperry states you'll be competing against many other CPC-As unless you're transferring internally; and even that is a non-guaranteed move.

If you're ready to give up then you already have your answer, but is now out time and money. Your certification and degree have then been rendered pointless and for naught. I hope the latter is not the case as a career in the medical coding field can be very rewarding and versatile in the same sense.

Hope this helped and good luck!
 

LenaDowd

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I just got my Associate's coding degree in December and I became certified just this month in February. The vibe I'm getting is that it is all meaningless without actual coding experience.
Anything I find wants 2-5 years coding/billing experience or is an entry level receptionist type job that pays less than my current non-healthcare job. Is that a sacrifice I will have to make just to get an in with the medical industry and hope to maybe move up? I am utilizing as many networking resources as I can and it seems like PractiCode is a good first step for a CPC-A, but I feel like it doesn't even matter if you have apprentice status or not until you have actual on-the-job experience. Please tell me there is some hope to just keep applying and searching.
Yes, It has been 2 years for me so far looking for a coding job.
 
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I just got my Associate's coding degree in December and I became certified just this month in February. The vibe I'm getting is that it is all meaningless without actual coding experience.
Anything I find wants 2-5 years coding/billing experience or is an entry level receptionist type job that pays less than my current non-healthcare job. Is that a sacrifice I will have to make just to get an in with the medical industry and hope to maybe move up? I am utilizing as many networking resources as I can and it seems like PractiCode is a good first step for a CPC-A, but I feel like it doesn't even matter if you have apprentice status or not until you have actual on-the-job experience. Please tell me there is some hope to just keep applying and searching.
Yep, I am finding the exact same thing as you are. I got my CPC-A in October 2019 and I am still looking for someone to hire me without experience. I too have a non-medical job. I guess I will have to bite the bullet and take an entry level medical-related job instead just to get a foot in the door. This sucks!!
 

Achum2sum

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I am feeling the same way. I was in healthcare many years though, paying claims and doing billing and I also had the brick wall trying to get coder jobs they all want 2 years experience. I suggest the 'stepping stone' job strategy where you work in customer service or billing preferably for a clinic or hospital, then look to transfer into coding when those jobs open up as they will. That worked for me started as a biller January 2019 got into coding November 2019. Also the coding jobs for specialty like home care, DME, ophthalmology, are not the full spectrum of the CPT manual and they should be less strict about experience level. Keep at it.
 
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All of the previous comments are correct, coding is hard to get into without experience and the best way to get into is to take an entry-level position in another healthcare position as a bridge. Use this position as an opportunity to continue your training because you will still be building skills and knowledge that will be important to your coding career. Coding is not an entry level job and it is a misconception that one can pass a certification test and be all set for this career. It is complex and challenging, and employers know that the proper skill set comes from experience. Once you get your foot in the door, the pay is there, the remote work is there, but you have to start from the bottom like everyone else.
 

fwnewbie

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I am an RN with many years of clinical experience. I got my COC-A this month and I'm having trouble getting my foot into the coding world! And I thought my knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology would make me desirable. There's something wrong with this scenario. All I want to do is work in peace in a corner somewhere doing a job I find fun and challenging.
 

Rhyde520

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To put things in perspective, I started as an assistant to the Senior Director of Patient Accounts department at a local community hospital. After two years I was hired as a Medicare/Medicaid Outpatient Biller. About 1,5 years into the billing position I made the decision to enroll into an AAPC course. It took me 6 months to finish the prerequisite classes (Anatomy/Medical Term) & another 6 months to finish the COC coding prep course. I sat for the exam in December. I failed, miserably, but my employer acknowledged the hard work and determination & they personally contacted me and said to apply for an open ER facility/professional coding position. So, after 2 years of working as a glorified secretary and 2.5 years of an outpatient biller, i was granted a coding position. I have a year to get certified to keep my job. I have never been so eager to learn this area of the revenue cycle. It's truly awarding and it most certainly has real potential for growth in every respect of the word. My point is, I started from the bottom of the bottom and management noticed. Like anything else in life, nothing good comes easy. Keep your head up and realize the sacrifices you have to make in this field really never go away. It's too complex, involved and even with a certification, it does not automatically make you a qualified candidate.
 

fwnewbie

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Well, I have been noticed for an RN Revenue Auditor position which I'll take in a heart beat. I'll still get to do the coding puzzles and be better paid than an entry level coder.
 
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It is frustrating to be in that vicious cycle of you need experience to get the job and it seems like nobody wants to give you the chance to get that experience. Every coder out there with experience eventually found someone who gave them a break and let them get started. Don't give up hope! Just try to get yourself job-wise into a medical setting so you'll be in the right place at the right time.
 
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sriojas

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I started coding/billing back in 1987 not realizing that I was doing coding. I did not get my CPC certification until 2008 which I did not pass the first time (very frustrating cuz I was already 20 years experience in coding). But did pass the 2nd time and now I have three credentials and will continue working on another. I have even worked as an auditor in a compliance setting and continue to learn more skills. The point is never give up. Having that certification will take you places and you will see the potential as you continue to work hard and move forward in your medical career.
 
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I also have found this employment hunt very discouraging. When I went to college to earn my degree and earned my certification for coding. I was under the impression that there were jobs for out there for apprentice coders (at least that is what I was told). I feel like, (and I'm sure I'm not the only one here), that we were mislead. I am very disappointed. These certifications aren't cheap, as everyone here knows. So the hunt continues for the many all over the country trying to break into this medical system. Sad...
 

fwnewbie

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I agree to the misleading of students, and I get that nobody wants to hire "new". But sooner or later there's going to be an exodus of workers from the field and the companies will have to grin and bear it and start molding their own employees and help the entry level workers get started.
 

Capecodtenor

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Pathos said,
You write that you currently have a non-health care job which pays more than a receptionist job. Jumping into coding without any medical office experience is a gutsy move, which might put you at a disadvantage at the get-go. CPC-As has so much to learn just about the coding portion, and without having a solid foundation on medical office/insurance (I am assuming), then you might set yourself up for failure. I believe this is one of the reasons why so many companies want coders with medical/coding experience.
Like the original poster, I'm coming at this from a non-medical field job. I'm not sure what field the original poster is in, but I have 20 years in the legal field doing a variety of jobs, the last 13 years as either a Records Clerk, a Litigation Docketing Clerk (essentially complex data entry), and I'm finding it difficult just trying to get in the medical field, and I've applied to all kinds of positions, even entry level positions. So, for me, I'm either over qualified, under qualified, or qualified, but not with the right information on the resume, in other words: medical. I have a friend who's a talent acquisition recruiter for a major Boston area hospital. I've sent her my resume, who she then forwarded it on to friends of hers, and I still can't get a call for an interview. I just don't know. I'm going to get certified, but getting a job will be very difficult, and I will admit to already being discouraged.
 

jasrsing

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I can so relate to this thread and the comments here . I too have non medical experience and went on to do my medical billing and coding course from career step and even cleared my CPC-A in first try . This just goes on to show my determination but the job front has been so demotivating and sad . I can’t even set the foot in the door with the patient rep jobs . I have been applying non stop since October but no luck . The irony is they want not even coders but all medical billing profiles with experience but then how will someone get experience if no one is ready to give you a chance .
 

Capecodtenor

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I can so relate to this thread and the comments here . I too have non medical experience and went on to do my medical billing and coding course from career step and even cleared my CPC-A in first try . This just goes on to show my determination but the job front has been so demotivating and sad . I can’t even set the foot in the door with the patient rep jobs . I have been applying non stop since October but no luck . The irony is they want not even coders but all medical billing profiles with experience but then how will someone get experience if no one is ready to give you a chance .
Back to that old saying, "Can't get a job without experience, but can't get experience without a job. "
 

Pathos

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Pathos said,


Like the original poster, I'm coming at this from a non-medical field job. I'm not sure what field the original poster is in, but I have 20 years in the legal field doing a variety of jobs, the last 13 years as either a Records Clerk, a Litigation Docketing Clerk (essentially complex data entry), and I'm finding it difficult just trying to get in the medical field, and I've applied to all kinds of positions, even entry level positions. So, for me, I'm either over qualified, under qualified, or qualified, but not with the right information on the resume, in other words: medical. I have a friend who's a talent acquisition recruiter for a major Boston area hospital. I've sent her my resume, who she then forwarded it on to friends of hers, and I still can't get a call for an interview. I just don't know. I'm going to get certified, but getting a job will be very difficult, and I will admit to already being discouraged.
After I graduated from college, I had a bachelor of science and couldn't get nothing for 6 months. I applied, interviewed, did my "song and dance" but no-one seemed to want me. I didn't have any medical experience. It literally boiled down to the point where if I didn't get a job within next month, I was going to flip burgers at the local McDonalds, or move back home. Then my local hospital finally gave me a chance with an entry level Patient Registration job at Admitting Services. Not exactly my dream job right out of college, and definitely wasn't making 100k/year!

But that first job was my stepping stone into the medical field, and I have gradually climbed up from there. I have done insurance, compliance; and then finally went into coding working for a provider owned clinic. They put me through coding as I was coding/auditing at the same time. This actually made perfect sense even though I had never given medical coding much thought prior to that job. But because of coding, many doors have opened up for me. My current job is a direct result of my past achievements, and I wouldn't want it any way.


My purpose behind sharing my coding story is to sum up what I have often shared on these forums whenever I see frustrated new grad coders. I get it. I have struggled with the "no experience, no job offer; but can't get experience because no one wants to hire me" adage for years! My experience on this whole ordeal boils down to two things: Preparation and timing.

  1. I have heard that "If you are prepared, you shall not fear". Do everything in your power to nail that first medical job. Make sure your resume/application is top notch. Spar mock interviews with trusted people that could help you prepare yourself for a dynamite job interview. Apply, apply, apply. And then apply some more! Job hunting is at least a part-time job, perhaps even another full time job. It takes a lot of work, sweat, tears and maybe even blood (paper cuts?).
  2. Even if you are the perfect candidate for a job, you have the best application/resume and you totally nail your interview, you might still not get the job you just applied for. It took me almost a whole year to get the job I have today, from the time I seriously started applying to the time I showed up to my first new work day. I can't even count how many applications I have sent out (several out of state), done many job interviews (including management), but I persisted and suddenly I had two good jobs lined up for me. I ended up choosing the one that made the most sense to me at the time, and I haven't regretted that choice since.
Although my path to medical coding did not include coding school, but I was supported by the company I worked for as they put me through coding; I am seeing more and more discrepancy of what coding instructors are "promising" coding students and reality. At least that is the feedback I am seeing here on the forums. I too would be discouraged and upset if I was promised a pretty much guaranteed job right out of school, only to learn that thousands of other CPC-As are vying for the same job I am. It's unfair and unjust, but apparently that's the landscape at the moment. My best advice is still to get into the medical field any way you possibly can, and earn that medical experience. Stay on top of current coding changes so you can be ready when a coding spot opens up.


I hope this is helpful.
 

Rhyde520

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After I graduated from college, I had a bachelor of science and couldn't get nothing for 6 months. I applied, interviewed, did my "song and dance" but no-one seemed to want me. I didn't have any medical experience. It literally boiled down to the point where if I didn't get a job within next month, I was going to flip burgers at the local McDonalds, or move back home. Then my local hospital finally gave me a chance with an entry level Patient Registration job at Admitting Services. Not exactly my dream job right out of college, and definitely wasn't making 100k/year!

But that first job was my stepping stone into the medical field, and I have gradually climbed up from there. I have done insurance, compliance; and then finally went into coding working for a provider owned clinic. They put me through coding as I was coding/auditing at the same time. This actually made perfect sense even though I had never given medical coding much thought prior to that job. But because of coding, many doors have opened up for me. My current job is a direct result of my past achievements, and I wouldn't want it any way.


My purpose behind sharing my coding story is to sum up what I have often shared on these forums whenever I see frustrated new grad coders. I get it. I have struggled with the "no experience, no job offer; but can't get experience because no one wants to hire me" adage for years! My experience on this whole ordeal boils down to two things: Preparation and timing.

  1. I have heard that "If you are prepared, you shall not fear". Do everything in your power to nail that first medical job. Make sure your resume/application is top notch. Spar mock interviews with trusted people that could help you prepare yourself for a dynamite job interview. Apply, apply, apply. And then apply some more! Job hunting is at least a part-time job, perhaps even another full time job. It takes a lot of work, sweat, tears and maybe even blood (paper cuts?).
  2. Even if you are the perfect candidate for a job, you have the best application/resume and you totally nail your interview, you might still not get the job you just applied for. It took me almost a whole year to get the job I have today, from the time I seriously started applying to the time I showed up to my first new work day. I can't even count how many applications I have sent out (several out of state), done many job interviews (including management), but I persisted and suddenly I had two good jobs lined up for me. I ended up choosing the one that made the most sense to me at the time, and I haven't regretted that choice since.
Although my path to medical coding did not include coding school, but I was supported by the company I worked for as they put me through coding; I am seeing more and more discrepancy of what coding instructors are "promising" coding students and reality. At least that is the feedback I am seeing here on the forums. I too would be discouraged and upset if I was promised a pretty much guaranteed job right out of school, only to learn that thousands of other CPC-As are vying for the same job I am. It's unfair and unjust, but apparently that's the landscape at the moment. My best advice is still to get into the medical field any way you possibly can, and earn that medical experience. Stay on top of current coding changes so you can be ready when a coding spot opens up.


I hope this is helpful.
I found your post very insightful and direct. I truly empathize with those seeking employment. You're right about how applying for jobs is a full-time job in itself. I have worked plenty of undesirable positions throughout the years - from fast food, manual labor, retail and sales. I have also struggled finding work & was unemployed for 6+ months. I'm sure others can relate, as we have all faced a competitive job market at some point. I believe coding appeals to most people because of the flexibility. But some fail to realize coding isn't exactly an entry-level position. I won't reiterate what other's have already said. There's plenty of great advice on this thread and Pathos does a fine job with shining light on the subject. I'd just like to conclude saying do not give up. Having a certification in coding is already a huge step up from the vast majority. You've taken a huge step and gained invaluable knowledge. Best of luck to everyone.
 

Casstavia

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I found your post very insightful and direct. I truly empathize with those seeking employment. You're right about how applying for jobs is a full-time job in itself. I have worked plenty of undesirable positions throughout the years - from fast food, manual labor, retail and sales. I have also struggled finding work & was unemployed for 6+ months. I'm sure others can relate, as we have all faced a competitive job market at some point. I believe coding appeals to most people because of the flexibility. But some fail to realize coding isn't exactly an entry-level position. I won't reiterate what other's have already said. There's plenty of great advice on this thread and Pathos does a fine job with shining light on the subject. I'd just like to conclude saying do not give up. Having a certification in coding is already a huge step up from the vast majority. You've taken a huge step and gained invaluable knowledge. Best of luck to everyone.
"But some fail to realize coding isn't exactly an entry-level position."

Add myself to that list. Very well put.

It is that exact reasoning that has helped to put my future medical coding/Health Information career into perspective. Now, I don't fret about not having a coding job immediately. Now, I am more open to the idea of an entry level position in the medical field.

Accurate, timely coding isn't easy. Not necessarily a job you can walk right into.

But it IS attainable. With some time, effort, and fortunate circumstances, those who wish to continue on this path just may reach their destination. One way or another!
 

slasha90

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I just signed up for my AAPC membership and CPC exam. I have felt so discouraged already and have not made it pass the exam. Pathos post really helped me feel better about the journey. I took this step to start coding because I have done billing, financial counseling, and Registration for patients and reviewed coding a lot. It is unfortunate for me because I no longer work in the medical field and it has been a pain to get back into. I loved this post because it gives me hope.

Thank you




After I graduated from college, I had a bachelor of science and couldn't get nothing for 6 months. I applied, interviewed, did my "song and dance" but no-one seemed to want me. I didn't have any medical experience. It literally boiled down to the point where if I didn't get a job within next month, I was going to flip burgers at the local McDonalds, or move back home. Then my local hospital finally gave me a chance with an entry level Patient Registration job at Admitting Services. Not exactly my dream job right out of college, and definitely wasn't making 100k/year!

But that first job was my stepping stone into the medical field, and I have gradually climbed up from there. I have done insurance, compliance; and then finally went into coding working for a provider owned clinic. They put me through coding as I was coding/auditing at the same time. This actually made perfect sense even though I had never given medical coding much thought prior to that job. But because of coding, many doors have opened up for me. My current job is a direct result of my past achievements, and I wouldn't want it any way.


My purpose behind sharing my coding story is to sum up what I have often shared on these forums whenever I see frustrated new grad coders. I get it. I have struggled with the "no experience, no job offer; but can't get experience because no one wants to hire me" adage for years! My experience on this whole ordeal boils down to two things: Preparation and timing.

  1. I have heard that "If you are prepared, you shall not fear". Do everything in your power to nail that first medical job. Make sure your resume/application is top notch. Spar mock interviews with trusted people that could help you prepare yourself for a dynamite job interview. Apply, apply, apply. And then apply some more! Job hunting is at least a part-time job, perhaps even another full time job. It takes a lot of work, sweat, tears and maybe even blood (paper cuts?).
  2. Even if you are the perfect candidate for a job, you have the best application/resume and you totally nail your interview, you might still not get the job you just applied for. It took me almost a whole year to get the job I have today, from the time I seriously started applying to the time I showed up to my first new work day. I can't even count how many applications I have sent out (several out of state), done many job interviews (including management), but I persisted and suddenly I had two good jobs lined up for me. I ended up choosing the one that made the most sense to me at the time, and I haven't regretted that choice since.
Although my path to medical coding did not include coding school, but I was supported by the company I worked for as they put me through coding; I am seeing more and more discrepancy of what coding instructors are "promising" coding students and reality. At least that is the feedback I am seeing here on the forums. I too would be discouraged and upset if I was promised a pretty much guaranteed job right out of school, only to learn that thousands of other CPC-As are vying for the same job I am. It's unfair and unjust, but apparently that's the landscape at the moment. My best advice is still to get into the medical field any way you possibly can, and earn that medical experience. Stay on top of current coding changes so you can be ready when a coding spot opens up.


I hope this is helpful.
 

Capecodtenor

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After I graduated from college, I had a bachelor of science and couldn't get nothing for 6 months. I applied, interviewed, did my "song and dance" but no-one seemed to want me. I didn't have any medical experience. It literally boiled down to the point where if I didn't get a job within next month, I was going to flip burgers at the local McDonalds, or move back home. Then my local hospital finally gave me a chance with an entry level Patient Registration job at Admitting Services. Not exactly my dream job right out of college, and definitely wasn't making 100k/year!

But that first job was my stepping stone into the medical field, and I have gradually climbed up from there. I have done insurance, compliance; and then finally went into coding working for a provider owned clinic. They put me through coding as I was coding/auditing at the same time. This actually made perfect sense even though I had never given medical coding much thought prior to that job. But because of coding, many doors have opened up for me. My current job is a direct result of my past achievements, and I wouldn't want it any way.


My purpose behind sharing my coding story is to sum up what I have often shared on these forums whenever I see frustrated new grad coders. I get it. I have struggled with the "no experience, no job offer; but can't get experience because no one wants to hire me" adage for years! My experience on this whole ordeal boils down to two things: Preparation and timing.

  1. I have heard that "If you are prepared, you shall not fear". Do everything in your power to nail that first medical job. Make sure your resume/application is top notch. Spar mock interviews with trusted people that could help you prepare yourself for a dynamite job interview. Apply, apply, apply. And then apply some more! Job hunting is at least a part-time job, perhaps even another full time job. It takes a lot of work, sweat, tears and maybe even blood (paper cuts?).
  2. Even if you are the perfect candidate for a job, you have the best application/resume and you totally nail your interview, you might still not get the job you just applied for. It took me almost a whole year to get the job I have today, from the time I seriously started applying to the time I showed up to my first new work day. I can't even count how many applications I have sent out (several out of state), done many job interviews (including management), but I persisted and suddenly I had two good jobs lined up for me. I ended up choosing the one that made the most sense to me at the time, and I haven't regretted that choice since.
Although my path to medical coding did not include coding school, but I was supported by the company I worked for as they put me through coding; I am seeing more and more discrepancy of what coding instructors are "promising" coding students and reality. At least that is the feedback I am seeing here on the forums. I too would be discouraged and upset if I was promised a pretty much guaranteed job right out of school, only to learn that thousands of other CPC-As are vying for the same job I am. It's unfair and unjust, but apparently that's the landscape at the moment. My best advice is still to get into the medical field any way you possibly can, and earn that medical experience. Stay on top of current coding changes so you can be ready when a coding spot opens up.


I hope this is helpful.
This is a great post, Pathos. It shows how hard it is to get a job in this field, especially as a new coder. I know some of the frustration, for me at least, is just trying to get a job in the medical field, and it'll happen, it'll just take time. I would like to point out that directly working in the medical field as a coder isn't the only way to go. Insurance companies use coders, as do law firms that do medical malpractice. I've worked for a couple of firms that had nurse paralegals on their staff. You may not be directly working in the medical field, but it'll be using your new skills. The first time I showed up to my local chapter meeting, I met a guy who worked for an insurance company and he's a coder. So there are other options until a medical field position opens up for you.

Edited to add: You had said, "I have heard that "If you are prepared, you shall not fear"' I believe this is true. If you have everything you need to be successful, then something will open up, it might not be what you want right away, but something will open up.

I found your post very insightful and direct. I truly empathize with those seeking employment. You're right about how applying for jobs is a full-time job in itself. I have worked plenty of undesirable positions throughout the years - from fast food, manual labor, retail and sales. I have also struggled finding work & was unemployed for 6+ months. I'm sure others can relate, as we have all faced a competitive job market at some point. I believe coding appeals to most people because of the flexibility. But some fail to realize coding isn't exactly an entry-level position. I won't reiterate what other's have already said. There's plenty of great advice on this thread and Pathos does a fine job with shining light on the subject. I'd just like to conclude saying do not give up. Having a certification in coding is already a huge step up from the vast majority. You've taken a huge step and gained invaluable knowledge. Best of luck to everyone.
I've been looking for a full-time permanent job since Jan. 2019 when I was laid off, so I feel your pain. I've been lucky in that I've been working temp jobs, the current temp job has kept extending me, so I'm doing something right, but still...not permanent job with benefits. I'm not certified yet so I'm not looking for a coding job in the medical field, but I am looking for a job in the medical field, and they are hard to get into...even reception work.

"But some fail to realize coding isn't exactly an entry-level position."

Add myself to that list. Very well put.

It is that exact reasoning that has helped to put my future medical coding/Health Information career into perspective. Now, I don't fret about not having a coding job immediately. Now, I am more open to the idea of an entry level position in the medical field.

Accurate, timely coding isn't easy. Not necessarily a job you can walk right into.

But it IS attainable. With some time, effort, and fortunate circumstances, those who wish to continue on this path just may reach their destination. One way or another!
I was like you when I first started, but learned quickly how hard it is to get a job as a coder. I'm hoping, with hard work, starting from the bottom, entry level, that I'll be a coder some day.

I just signed up for my AAPC membership and CPC exam. I have felt so discouraged already and have not made it pass the exam. Pathos post really helped me feel better about the journey. I took this step to start coding because I have done billing, financial counseling, and Registration for patients and reviewed coding a lot. It is unfortunate for me because I no longer work in the medical field and it has been a pain to get back into. I loved this post because it gives me hope.

Thank you
Keep at it and work hard, your day will come. Persistence and determination.
 
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I just got my Associate's coding degree in December and I became certified just this month in February. The vibe I'm getting is that it is all meaningless without actual coding experience.
Anything I find wants 2-5 years coding/billing experience or is an entry level receptionist type job that pays less than my current non-healthcare job. Is that a sacrifice I will have to make just to get an in with the medical industry and hope to maybe move up? I am utilizing as many networking resources as I can and it seems like PractiCode is a good first step for a CPC-A, but I feel like it doesn't even matter if you have apprentice status or not until you have actual on-the-job experience. Please tell me there is some hope to just keep applying and searching.
I received a diploma for Medical Coding and Billing in Dec 2018. I attended one more semester to obtain AAS - Medical Administrative Assistant and graduated May 2019. I passed the CPC exam in May 2019 right after graduation.
I found out that the diploma counts for one year experience. I completed the Practicode offered by the AAPC and passed to get the other year of experience. This removed my apprentice (A) letter. This may be an option for anyone wanting to have just CPC after their name.
 
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I just finish college in this field and I started to work as a medical receptioist and yes the pay is low but... I had to understand that in order to have my foot on the medical coder job door I need to start at scratch. So, i have to be patient in order to do so...
 

Capecodtenor

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I just finish college in this field and I started to work as a medical receptioist and yes the pay is low but... I had to understand that in order to have my foot on the medical coder job door I need to start at scratch. So, i have to be patient in order to do so...
And a lot of people don't understand that and don't want the low pay as a receptionist, but that's what you have to do to get in. I'm willing to put up with the low pay to get in, but just getting one of those jobs are damn near impossible to get.
 

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I started coding/billing back in 1987 not realizing that I was doing coding. I did not get my CPC certification until 2008 which I did not pass the first time (very frustrating cuz I was already 20 years experience in coding). But did pass the 2nd time and now I have three credentials and will continue working on another. I have even worked as an auditor in a compliance setting and continue to learn more skills. The point is never give up. Having that certification will take you places and you will see the potential as you continue to work hard and move forward in your medical career.
My experience is very similar to yours - started as a Medical Assistant in a small physician office about 30 year ago (yikes!). I was responsible for coding/billing for three providers, transcription and also working as a medical assistant. It was a perfect mix of things and I really got to experience the clinical side as well as the business side. After five years I decided to stick with the business side and moved on to various coding positions. Now, all these years later, I have four certifications and work for a payor in a job I never imagined I would be able to "have". I feel very fortunate for how my path led me and I'm glad I followed it without really knowing or expecting where I would end up. I learned so many things along the way that put me where I am today.

To everyone just getting started - it's so different now from when I started but the main thing is get your foot in the door and learn as much as you can. Take your experience and move forward when the opportunities present themselves.
 

Capecodtenor

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My experience is very similar to yours - started as a Medical Assistant in a small physician office about 30 year ago (yikes!). I was responsible for coding/billing for three providers, transcription and also working as a medical assistant. It was a perfect mix of things and I really got to experience the clinical side as well as the business side. After five years I decided to stick with the business side and moved on to various coding positions. Now, all these years later, I have four certifications and work for a payor in a job I never imagined I would be able to "have". I feel very fortunate for how my path led me and I'm glad I followed it without really knowing or expecting where I would end up. I learned so many things along the way that put me where I am today.

To everyone just getting started - it's so different now from when I started but the main thing is get your foot in the door and learn as much as you can. Take your experience and move forward when the opportunities present themselves.

I've mentioned this before, but having a CPC behind your name opens up so many doors, so if the one door you want doesn't open, wait and see what does. And, after working in that area for a while, see if the one door you want does open.
 
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