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Project Xtern Frequently Asked Questions

Coder Questions and Answers

You can call 1-800-626-2633. Please note that each Approved Official Extern Site (AOES) is an independent facility and will only have information about how the AOES is operated in their company.

Yes, the students applying for an externship must be current members of AAPC to be placed at an AAPC-AOES facility.

Normally externships are not paid positions. Project Xtern is set up so that the AOES provides hands-on mentoring. In the event that the AOES is willing to provide compensation of any kind, please know that it would be arranged between the AOES facility and the member. This question is most appropriate when asked by the prospective extern at an official AOES facility.

Log in at AAPC.com and go to Project Xtern under Resources, then select Locate Xtern Site.

You need to hold a current membership and an AAPC credential. (i.e. CPC-A®, COC-A™ (formerly CPC-H-A®) or CPC-P-A®.)

Yes, but all time must equal a year. If you are working for 3 months at your externship facility; your apprentice status will not be removed, but can go toward the year of experience, leaving 9 months left until you have 1 full year of experience.

Please provide your resume and proof of AAPC membership. The AOES staff will notify you if they need any additional items for the specific externship for which you are applying.

Please contact our Externship department with a list of surrounding facilities in your area that you think may be interested (name, address, phone). We will work to contract with them. Or you can print a copy of the letter and get a chance to introduce yourself to these companies, getting your foot in the door.

Externships require hands-on involvement and cannot be done remotely. Externships depend on direct, face-to-face communication to ensure a quality experience for the extern and the AOES.

The externship typically functions during normal business hours. Exceptions may be made by the AOES, but under most circumstances evening hours are not available.

Externs can work anywhere from 10-40 hours per week. This is decided on an individual basis as determined by the AOES.

This program is not designed for you to be hired directly by the AOES. It is at the sole discretion of the hiring facility, their employment needs and whom they chose to hire. Most members completing an externship hope to be hired for employment at the conclusion of the externship.

No, the AOES is typically a billing and/or coding service, physician group, or facility that mentors you while you code actual narrative reports (i.e., operative reports, office notes, radiology reports, hospital admission records, etc.) and gain exposure to industry-specific companies and their work flow.

When the school requires the student to complete an externship prior to program completion as a mandatory part of the student’s studies, the school’s official extern coordinator must contact the AOES and facilitate the student’s interview. If the AOES decides to place the student at their facility, the “extern coordinator” will make all of the necessary arrangements with the AOES.

You should direct both your school’s program director and extern coordinator to AAPC’s website for Project Xtern information. Inform your school of your interest to be placed at one of the AOES sites if one is listed as available in your local area. Remember, this is a certified AAPC member benefit only.

  • Prepare or update your resume and references
  • Network with your local chapter, friends, and family. The more people who are on your side the quicker it will be to find an externship/job
  • Volunteer to assist during vacations and breaks
  • Communicate
  • Have a good attendance policy. Show up when you’re scheduled to work.
  • Go to in-services, meetings, and any other function that would apply to coding/billing
  • Gather resources for yourself (find the materials you need to be efficient)
  • Evaluate yourself and ask to be evaluated by your supervisor (What experience have you gained? Where can you improve?)
  • Be outgoing and tactful
  • Remember externs are advised not to share with others information that may have been disclosed by other externs or employees at their externship that may be privileged or confidential
  • Our Approved Official Extern Sites (AOES) are volunteers and businesses. Please treat them professionally and understand they are volunteering their time and money to help you gain work experience.

Yes, you would be a volunteer extern. You would contact the AOES in your local area and arrange an extern interview. This externship is done through you as the member and the facility.

The biggest benefit of an externship, either paid or unpaid, is the experience you gain from hands-on experience in the industry. Experience is paramount when being considered for any position in the medical coding and billing field. The other key factor to remember is that this is the time to impress the facility who has offered you the position. An employer who is impressed by your positive attributes and skills will be more willing to offer a permanent position if in the event there is an open position available.

No, Project Xtern can only be utilized by certified members, new and experienced. This program assists all certified members. If you want a new experience in a new specialty, are relocating to a new area, or are unable to find employment.

No, AAPC is not a placement agency. AAPC acts as a third party in the project and is a resource only to our members. Please contact the AOES directly for placement as AAPC cannot directly perform the functions of placing externs. All of the contact information for each facility is found on AAPC’s website and is listed as a resource only.

AAPC encourages each facility to check with their risk management and or administration faculty for appropriate waiver verbiage. The verbiage differs from state to state. AAPC has a sample general waiver of liability on our project extern website. This is a sample only and is not to be used prior to clearance with the facility’s risk management team, legal department or administration. It should also be noted that when a student is placed at a facility as part of a program requirement prior to graduation, the educational institution typically covers all liability for the extern while they are completing their educational requirements at the facility.

AAPC’s website is updated and the AOES facilities once a week. If you do not see your site listed within two weeks of submitting your online agreement, please contact Project Xtern Program Manager Ashlyn McGlone at ashlyn.mcglone@aapc.com.

Yes, AAPC rewards facilities by providing them with one free webinar a year for every year they are an approved facility. The reward will be included in the facility welcome packet with your certificate and welcome letter. Thereafter the free webinar certificate will be mailed to you at your anniversary sign-on date. This is just our way of saying thank you for giving back to our AAPC medical coding and billing community.

Yes, you may provide Xternships for any other college/school or program that you desire. We only ask that when an AAPC member contacts you with regard to Project Xtern that you follow our limited program rules as outlined on the AAPC-AOES agreement form. We encourage you and your facility to participate in as many mentorship programs that you are able to.

This is up to your facility. Most programs have a window of six to 12 weeks of required externship.

Yes, you will find it on the “Project Xtern” web page located at www.aapc.com. This form should be used at the end of the Xternship and a copy should be provided to your Xtern.

This is determined completely by the needs and availability of the AAPC-AOES. We understand that some facilities will be able to have more Xterns at their facility based on need and mentor availability. Some AAPC-AOESs will only place an Xtern when a job opening becomes available and may use the Xtern program as a training mechanism. AAPC appreciates the AAPC-AOES involvement at any level.

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