I am wondering about the same problems. I have not yet begun the actual coding studies; I am just now in Medical Terminology. One piece of advice given to me by a CPC in a physician's office is to volunteer for doctor's offices, hospitals, etc without pay just to get some experience. Or perhaps you could arrange to review some coding work (sort of as a double-check) and get experience that way.
I recently had the significant other of an area urologist give me encouragement about the field. She said if I became discouraged just to talk to her 'other'. He has to do all his own coding for hospital work and feels it is a growing career field.
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