Wiki What would you say to someone considering becoming a medical coder?

I would say don't get discouraged when you are credentialed and looking for a job without success. Just because you are credentialed doesn't give you a shoe in the door automatically for coding, unfortunately experience is preferred over credentials. I'm not trying to be disrespectful to anyone just saying what I would want to hear. I see a lot of newly credentialed coders both AAPC and AHIMA on the Facebook threads upset because no one will give them an opportunity. For me, I can only speak for myself, you start at the bottom with billing/customer service. You learn from the calls from patient's and reviewing accounts how payors handle submitted claims and rejections. Once you have the under your belt you'll be able to apply the coding piece to the mix and that's a plus to employers. There are coders, there are billers and there are coder/billers; all equally critical to the Revenue Cycle process however, when it comes down to it the coder/billers know from the front-end to the back-end and are the most sought out. I worked Ophthalmology for 25+, starting in 1996 as a biller and did not get certified until 2008 which I used with the same position at the time - my reasoning was the addition of an ASC. I now work for a Large medical group as a Compliance Coding Auditor and love it, it's not for everyone but I'm very analytical so it's a great fit for me. Whatever your passion and drive is, don't give up you might just need to start somewhere else for awhile and gain that experience to apply to your credentials. Best of luck to everyone and never forget number 1 "yourself". #LetNooneStealYourThunder
Being a bit of a detective, but when first starting out, don't expect to get the plum choice jobs. If you have to, take a front desk position and be ready to move when something opens up there OR somewhere else. My biggest advise is this: NEVER, EVER burn your bridges. Leave all of your coworkers like they are your pals because they have a tendency to show up later. For good or for ill.
I am in the same boat with over 20 years of Pre-hospital and clinical Medic work, both civilian and military/contracting overseas. I even looked for "Entry-Level" postings, most say 0-1 year experience, and they would take both CPC-A or CPC. What a joke! The AAPC has no answers which indicates clearly they governing body only cares to pump out as many graduates of their programs, but caters to only those already in the field. They just want $$$$. I immediately took the Practicode "apprentice" course and that did not matter either. It just doesn't make sense that AAPC propaganda claims Medical Coding is growing at rates up to 36% per year (or whatever it is now) and they are so proud to have a worldwide standard now. They make you think you have a chance, but given the amount of student graduates printed on the back of the monthly reviews, I can only guess now that the majority are already Coders and are just looking for the CPC formality to bump up their pay.

December 2023 will mark over one (1) year applying to hundreds of jobs and all being rejected. I even have the 2023 manuals sitting right next to me still fully wrapped from shipment in their plastic, never opened once. I figure, why should I? I was excited to add another title to the back of my name, but, starting 20224, I am going to scrap my dreams of working as a Medical Coder and I will never support the AAPC with my money or presence again. I will also never recommend anyone to ever get any credential from AAPC or AHIMA unless they are already working in the job title they wish to advance in. Why? Because, it seems only the AAPC and AHIMA are the governing bodies for these certificates and education in this field, but lack the resources to help their graduates land even the simplest entry-level jobs. Promoting more courses is not experience, and I did not take the CPC courses to become a Medical So, what would I say? Don't do it unless you already are one.

Good luck to everyone else, but come January I will wash myself of becoming a Coder, recycle my books, and write off the costs as a loss.
Oh, I forgot to mention that Medical Coding just might be replaced by AI someday in the near future simply because it is pretty straight forward and follows simple, algorithmic logic. If-Then statements if you will, then the code(s) to match. So , if there will be any growing need as AAPC loves to put it, it will be replaced by AI programs at the insurance levels.
To someone considering medical coding as a profession I would say:

This position involves critical thinking skills, a lot of reading and researching and you cannot have children, spouses and pets interrupting you because you have metrics to meet.

Do your research as to what the job entails?

Go to your doctor's office and ask to speak to the billers and coders?

Ask to see what resources coders use in order to do their job?

If you are still interested go to your local community college and check to see if they have that program WITH AN INTERNSHIP.
No internship then don't do it.

Although it may be less of a hassle to do a course online, UNLESS you have connections DO NOT DO AN ONLINE COURSE EVEN IF THEY SAY THEY HAVE A VIRTUAL INTERNSHIP CALLED PRACTICODE.
Several online schools say that and they even charge more than AAPC for the Practicode subscription.
I have seen job ads that say Practicode is not considered experience. So if you want to do it as extra practice or to remove -A
that's fine but don't expect employers to think of it as real world experience.

MOST PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GO TO 3-4 DAY BOOTCAMPS. If you have connections for finding a job and are very diligent in actually learning instead of just passing a test then you may be okay doing one of these boot camps.

If you have found a local community college that will provide an internship then IMMEDIATELY get a job doing something at a physician's office, hospital or health insurance carrier - preferably something with access to medical records and billing/coding.

AI integration is real and part of my job included training the AI bot. Frankly, AI did horribly. I am not worried about AI even when it does get better because it will make the coding job more attractive in my opinion. The simple cases would be coded by AI but humans would have to review them - maybe not all of them as the technology gets better but a percentage of the cases. Also, if AI gets good at taking care of the simple cases then coders can work on the more interesting and complex cases.

I have read that on average it takes 4 years to get a medical coding position doing actual coding.

I found a position as a medical claims analyst three months after I was certified and an actual coding position 3 years after. I did have some minor ancillary coding experience in the past.

Medical coding is not a path to get rich quick and you can't do it on the beach sipping margaritas. That is a flat out distortion of the profession. However, you can be an asset to this field and be paid well as you gain experience if you are diligent and map out a path of progression. Some may want to stay in the same specialty for years on end. Others do not. There's something for everyone.
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I lucked out at getting my first coding job back in 2007. The thing is, I applied for front desk and during the interview, the office manager noticed my CPC-A. So, she decided to hire me as a Coder (I only worked 21 hours a week and got paid minimum wage) with no experience. I lasted over a year, and I still don't know how that happened. I then got a position at the hospital (a little over minimum wage) as a Scheduling Clerk, and my soon-to-be supervisor went to church with my mother. I wouldn't have applied for the position, except a fellow coder encouraged me. I worked there for over four years. I then went back and forth between positions and finally ended up working for a DME company, which took me on with no billing experience. Basically, you have to work your way up to get where you thought you didn't want to go. I would love a remote position, but I know I have to work my way up to that. It takes hard work to get where you want to go. You don't get the dream job right away. It took me over a decade to get where I'm at and at a pay rate that is unusual for where I live.