Very discouraged


Detroit, Michigan
Best answers
Is any one else out there getting the run around when it comes to finding help from the AAPC? I have taken the extern route and got totally screwed. The company had no intention of training me as a coder. I really am getting frustrated:mad: I passed my coding test exactly one year ago in hopes of changing professions. And so far I have not found anything close to a coding job. I have absolutely no experience in the field except for the year my instructor told me I have with my certificate. I live in Michigan where jobs are already scarce to begin with.
I'm sorry to hear that. Are you sure the company's intentions were not to eventually give you mentoring and exposure in the coding field? I know some companies will have interns start off in other positions/departments and eventually work them into the desired position/department, to give them a good understanding of the billing process. I've never done the externship through the AAPC, but that has been my experience in the field.

All I can really advise is that if you're sure of the company's intentions were as you stated, then I'd definitely give feedback to the AAPC regarding that AOES. Other than that, just try to be patient and keep trying. Perseverance will prevail. :)

Good Luck!
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Thank you for the reply. Yes I was originally told that I would be trained in mostly facility billing and some coding. Then I guess they liked my work and they were going to actually hire me. Then they said I would only be doing follow up work. Understand that this all happened in less than one months time. Their stories kept changing. I will be reporting them to the AAPC. I just don't understand how they think that someone who is looking for coding experience will just settle for what they need. I feel used actually.
Well my friend you are diffently not alone. Here is my situation. I have been ceritified for 2 years. I went to go work for a hospital/physician practice hospital. I was told when I was hired on ( in March 2007 ) that they were glad I had my credentials because 2008 they were hiring a new medical coder. So my intentions were to work there until the position opened up. I left a job close to home taking a 1.00 an hour paycut to travel 40 minutes a day (5 days a week) making 10.00 an hour with gas being sky high.
So my boss tells me 2 weeks ago... " Val I am sorry to tell you this but the hospital decided to CUT the medical coding position for 2008." after they told me a month ago it was in the bag! I was hot! I am still HOTT over it! Not just that but my boss has asked me not to leave but I cannot see me working for a company and not wanting to pay me anymore than I make now. Not just that but I was actually helping the coders! Yeah I was helping them ( free cheap help) so I told my boss... I am not helping the coders anymore. If they want one they need to hire one not give false hopes. So here I stand... with my 5 years medical billing experince, working in outpatient pre certification and provider credentialing. They have 2 coders to a 58 dr facility and they send all the office visits to a bunch of non educated non trained "data entry" people to code and "key" into the computers, the only qualification they need? To read an ICD9 book and be able to key things into a computer. They have had so MANY mishaps and mess ups from the data entry people that the 2 coders we have now... are about to have a mental breakdown... My thoughts, " If the hospital want to screw up and hire un educated people to work for them, loose millions, and then turn around and complain. That is their own Darn Faults! Screw em! " I am stickin around until something better comes along ( wither it is coding or not! )

Another thing... I am so sick of hearing all these ads on the radio and TV about how " awesome and terrific " it is to be a medical coder. " money money money! Guarenteed a job!" All I can say is, " think twice before considering to be a medical coder" because like any other hospital job... you have to know someone to get a good job in the first place. TOO POLITICAL for me.
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Neither of you are alone, but I tell you one thing, persistence is the key and it will definitely pay off in the long run. It may not have happened for you this year and it may not happen next year, but keep on searching and you will find. What God has for you it is for you. Your time will come; you won't get an interview with every company you apply to and you won't get hired after every interview, but keep applying and interviewing and you will get what is yours. I am a certified coder as well, but that is not my title on the job, my title is Office Coordinator/Administrative Assistant but I am working in the capacity of a front office clerk and I do not receive coder pay. I am thankful that I do have a job, even though it is not the type of job that I want. I mean I do the billing and with billing some coding comes naturally. I would love to work in the capacity of a coder and have coding as my main and only job function, but it just has not happened for me right now, but I tell you one thing, I will not let anything discourage me. Regardless of the number of rejections I get from employers or not getting call backs from a job that I applied for, I am going to keep on keeping on and that's what you have to do. I see jobs all time requiring five or more years of coding experience but you know what, I apply for them anyway, to me it doesn't matter if I have one year, two years, five years or no years of experience, I take the chance of applying for the job anyway because I know that I can do the job. Who knows that may the job that is for me. So keep your head up, don't get discouraged and encourage yourself. Things will happen for you when the time is right.
I have to agree with Nakitta on this one. I had to go through 2 jobs before finding the perfect one. The first one was more billing/data entry for the most unethical lady I have ever met. When I would try to let her know that she couldn't and/or shouldn't bill for certain this she made it very vocal that she was not happy. I stayed there for a year. As I was taught in my classes to obtain my CPC ethics is very important. Now she is under investigation! I'm so glad I got out of there when I did. Second position was in a Cardiology clinic. This I thought was the ideal job at first. Until they hit me with the work bomb. Billing/AR/payments/coding for 5 cardiologists.....ahh that got old fast. What got me to leave is they started to get greedy, everything started to become a level 5 with no documentation to back it up! Again, ethics. When I would go to them and tell them they needed proper documentation to back up the level 5's, again tongue lashing. I stayed there for 2 years. Finally I found a audit position. Now I get to help the doctors with there E&M. It's great to educate them, ethics. So, like Nakitta says I think everything happens for it's strange reasons.
It's difficult, but rewarding!

I often try to tell new comers to keep being persisitant. I graduated in 2006, and it took me nine months to find my first coding job. My first job was working in the hospital. When they laid me off due to downsizing, I was crushed. I thought I would never get back into the field again! Then 3 months later, I found a job that honored my CPC-A, and brought me into the new income bracket.

The moral of the story: It takes persistance! I had been on hundreds of interviews and sent out thousands of resumes. I also drive more than an hour commute, but I know it will be worth the experience I'm getting. From what I've witnessed through other indiviuals, when you are credentialed and have a minimum of three years, you can go anywhere and will always have a job!

It's terrible what these associations and schools do to people. They make it seem automatically you are destined for a job, making 35,000 plus a year!!! That's not true in any field of study! I've learned education and credentials help alot, but experience is the most important.

When you get into the door, start pursing your education and credentials. This will make you an even more valuable asset. However, I only suggest getting your credentials through AHIMA and the AAPC. The other organizations are schemes to make money, and no employer really recognize them. At least the greater majority, anyways.

So keep will come! I'm living proof! Continue to make sacrifices to get experience, and from there broaden your horizons. Maintain your CPC, get that CCS, and go to school for your RHIT and/or RHIA. From there you'll be a coding powerhouse! Best wishes!

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Thank you so much for your support. My situation is a little different. I have been a school bus driver for 22+ years and since my children were little my full intention when they left the nest was to go back to school. However since I didn't want another 6 years of school I looked for the so called up and coming job. And since I have a background in medical terminology and wanted to be a problem solver I researched medical coding.
I was talked into getting my certificate, because then I could get a job right away, at least that was what I was told.
Now in the last 12 months since I got my certificate I've been on 4 interviews and this internship came along. Of course inorder for me to accept it I had to cut my hours at work of which I can not get back until the next school year.
I will not give up, but I will also not accept a position that will never result in a future in coding. I really enjoyed the course work and miss it.
An dright now I can't afford to take anymore classes but that is my goal to at least get my associates.
Again thank you all for your responses.
finding experience

While I was in school for Medical Coding my instructor was very adament that the best way to start a coding career was to get your feet wet in Health Information/Medical Records. I think you have to keep in mind that no matter what career you are in you have to start from the ground and work yourself up. I agree that it can be very hard to get into a clinic unless you know someone on the inside, especially when your in a small town, but I also agree that persistence will get you somewhere. It took me 10 months and many applications for many types of jobs before I finally got a position in a medical records department at a clinic a45 minutes away. I was still in school at the time. Then 3 months later a Physician Coding position opened up in the town that I lived in and I got it. I am very happy things worked out the way they did because what I learned in Medical Records helped alot in my coding position. I am still looking for my perfect job but the small steps I am taking now I have faith will get me to the place I want to be later. Keep your mind open and your expectations realistic when starting out a career. You'll get where you want to be.
I've been in the medical record, coding field for over 25 years. When I was looking for a new position because the doctor I worked for was moving out of state I was hired at a university hospital as a "Coding/Reimbursement Specialist". They advertised that they wanted a certified coder to do "complex billing". The job turned out to be insurance follow-up work. The university also hired non-certified people to do the date entry and there were alot of mistakes that I ended up correcting. When a coding position opened up I applied foe it and was told I wasn't qualified (not only have I been coding for 25 years, I've been certified with AAPC for seven). I lasted a year there and now I work for 3 Orthopedic doctors doing the coding and the billing. My point is don't give up. Even if you have experience you might not get the job you really want, or you will be disappoiinted with misleading job titles and unscurpulous employers.
Thank you so much it's so nice to know that others are also continuing to search for something else. I don't plan on giving up and I really want to continue my education it's just that not being in the field and not being around the healthcare profession I feel like I'm losing what I learned and it's puting me at even more of a disadvantage. But I will keep plugginf away.

I guess instructors are told to paint a fairy tale for the students. That we will be highly desirable for being new graduates and certified. The employers will eat us up!

I'll never forget being denied positions on my first three interviews. It was heartbreaking! Here I thought I went to school and got certified, where is my job?! Also, to be honest, I often felt I was discriminated against, due to my age!!

Instructors and institutions need to be straight forward and paint a realistic outlook for the upcoming coding professional. Many people feel they wasted their time and money after being repeatedly denied positions. In the end, they will give up.

Sadly, I think I'm one of the only people from my class to get into medical coding. Half of my peers got into medical reception and other jobs within the medical spectrum. The other half are still working in their old professions.

As for the employers, they complain they are understaffed, but will pass up dozens of newcomers. They will leave positions open for years, when they should implement a training program for the new coders. This program can help the employers bring the new coders up to their expectations, and train them to their preference.

Again, your key to success is based upon the old theory of survival of the fittest. Many will give up on the job quest, but if you maintain persistance, you will eventually end up in your desired profession.

Again, take it from me! After thousands of phone calls, sending five hundred resumes, and over forty interviews.....I have ARRIVED!! You just have to keep on keeping on, and don't let despair make you lose site of your ambitions!

I totally agree with you. These institutions paint a vivid picture for students while they are in school and once they are finished with school it's a totally different ball game. I went to one of those schools. I ended up completing the Medical Assisting program and could not find a job as a medical assistant. I had the same problem that many of the coders are having, the jobs wanted people with at least two years of experience.

I then decided that I wanted a job with little to no patient contact. I began working the front desk at a hospital and from there I have worked at another hospital and two doctors offices. I found all of these jobs on my own. The schools claim to have guaranteed job placement, which is all a LIE!! Most of the people in the career services departments are all about putting students on an externship and after you complete it you are on your own. They are too busy helping current students and finding externship sites for current students to help a student that has already graduated. I know this first hand because for one, I was once a student and for two, I currently train extern students.

Yes, it is very frustrating at times when you see all these jobs and they want five years of experience or a RHIT certification, but I apply for the jobs anyway. There is always a possibility that the employer will be interested in me and offer me at least an interview, but the thing that gets to me is most employers don't even want to give you a chance. One chance is all it takes to prove yourself. It's either you can do the job and perform it to the best of your abilities or you can't, it's plain and simple. I have been and will continue to be persistent in job search for a coding position and I hope that everyone who is looking for a coding position and can't seem to find one will do the same. I wish everyone much success and I hope that we all land a job as a coder very soon.

N.Williams, CPC
Tricks Aren't For Kids!

I always said the best thing to do, is try to bypass human resources! I use to always get interviews by contacting the coding supervisor directly. I also would offer them to test my skills. The first job was impressed with my score, they hired me. The second job I received, I nearly got a perfect score. I always tell people to check a wide variety of resources. Apply for "For The Record" and "Advance" magazine. Take a look at some websites, like and While having breakfast......READ THE NEWSPAPER!!! Most people bypass the paper nowadays, but it is still efficient. Go to those chapter meetings and network. Don't just go to the AAPC, try AHIMA's as well. Networking is a key component to finding job placement. Become affiliated with several staffing agencies. They might be able to better place you too. To keep yourself on top of coding....try, AHIMA's distance learning program, etc. There are hundreds of sites where you can keep on top of your game!!!
I just saw this post tonight and it's funny because I taught an icd-9 class at a community college and I just was not into "deceiving" the students they were "told" that once they finished these few classes like cpt4, icd9 and anatomy that they could get a job doing coding, and that they would pass any certification test easily. One student asked me alot of questions and I answered her honestly and the reality of it is she did not like what I had to say she said I was discouraging her from becoming a medical biller/coder but I felt it was my duty to be honest and to tell them the truth...

Most of the students understood but mainly the ones who had no medical background besides just coming to take these class could not comprehend, the student asked me if she should take the cpc or ccs test right after taking my icd-9 class I told her I would wait and get a job first doing billing or something to get her feet wet, she took me telling her that as saying there was no chance of her passing the exam.

But she was hanging on to the words the "people" at the school told her to get her money, now I'm not saying its a bad idea to take classes but just be realistic, do you really expect to make top $$$ to start.

Just wanted to add my 2 cents.

R.D.T, cpc
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It is important not to give up. My situation is different. I started at the other end. I have been coding for seven years and only certified for a year. I had some interviews that did want me certified but I also had many that took into account my experience rather than a certification. Don't give up there are many positions out there, you just have to come across the right one. I didn't have any problems finding a job and that's that I moved to Texas from Virginia. Keep your chin up something will come up.

Brandy, CPC
I fully understand

When I signed up for my Health Claims Specialist degree I was told that there would be so many job offers because the coding and billing field is growing faster than any other career. I tried "getting my feet wet" and applied for data entry, billing, medical records, even as a medical secretary. Every place told me I had no experience to even answer the phone! I applied at countless places ( well over 150 to date) throughout my 2 year program and nothing. (I do have a great resume with good experience and my CPC-A license, but no medical office experience)

For my internship I went to a pretty well known office. I got the run around just like others with the whole we will hire you and blah blah blah. Then I discovered and highly vocalized the intentional errors in the billing system. I was immediatly pulled off of all paper work and was resorted to putting address labels on envelopes (well for one last) I left because I discovered fraudulent acts that are not right and I can't take part of that.

I landed a internship at a hospital, but all they had was medical records. The people loved me, but unfortunately, there were no jobs just yet. I could take a per diem but I can't quit a job to go to my medical record job a few hours a week after driving 1 hour there and 1 hour back. A few coding jobs have opened up since then, but they want someone with experience.

Other hospitals that called me back wanted to see where I was in my coding career. Of course, they need more experience. I offered to take their coding test and I guarentee that I can pass it. I am not a cocky person, but I have the utmost faith in my coding abilities. I am still, after a month, waiting on replies on if I am experienced enough to take a test.

I ended up taking a job in data entry because I still am told I don't have to experience doing coding and billing even though I did that in school and on my internships. I am not pleased with the job, it feels degrating, but I can build experience for $10 an hour. I am starting to get into the billing aspect, with no raise, but my passion lies in coding. In all honestly, I can bill, understand all of the aspects that go into it, but I am bored as can be. I will take whatever job comes right now, but my future lies in coding.

This is my story. There is much more if you feel like sending me a message. I like talking to people that share my same experience in this "flourishing money making" (ha ha) career. I do understand what it is like out there and I live in the middle of 2 big cities that have millions of jobs and hospitals.