What I tell my students who are frustrated by this same situation...you have to get your name out there. I suggest to all my students that you attend your local chapter meetings every month and start making contacts and networking. Make up business cards that are short and sweet. Include you name, your credentials, and what your degree is in or going to be in. Include a phone number and an email address.
I have 1 student who actually took my advice and got out there and met with people at her local chapter meeting and she pursuaded them to take her on in an internship program while she was finishing her schooling. She has no medical coding/billing or health care experience for that matter but when she graduates she will have along with her degree.
It is a tough job market and you need to think outside the box in securing placement in the medical and dental field. That are a lot of other options besides working in a doctor's officer or a hospital as a medical coder or biller. Look at your local Medicaid office or Medicare office for an entry level position, look at health insurance companies also in your area, talk to your dentist, your doctor, the school nurse. The jails and prisons utilize health care, there are positions in utilization review and data entry for billing offices. You can also look at home care agencies or a software company that specializes in electronic health records or practice management systems. Look for jobs in the referral department or pre-authorization areas, or benefits and eligibility departments. The list of jobs for health information management professionals is endless and do not just stop with medical coder or medical biller.
The harsh reality of the situation is that without actual hands on experience most people will be hesitant to hire you. The billing and coding process is vital to the financial health of a health care organization and they are not going to feel comfortable turning over this huge responsibility without knowing you have a proven track record. While your schooling is to be applauded and having your credentials is an awesome achievment also think about where they are coming from when the bottom line of the organization falls to the medical coding and billing operations to bring the revenue in. They want to be sure that the money they are entitled to is being handled by coding and billing professionals that have a work history that shows there knowledge and expertise. So while you are frustrated, you also need to understand why they are hesitant to perhaps hire someone without experience.
Get out there and network at your local chapter meetings and get to know people. Networking is so very important as you embark on your new career or if you are changing roles in the medical billing and coding field.
I started out as a file clerk in a home care agency many years ago...I then got my coding credentials and my bachelors degree in health care administration and now I am a health care fraud specialist for a federal health insurance plan and an instructor for medical billing and coding courses.
But I cannot stress how important it is to get out to your local chapter meetings and start networking. The jobs are not going to just end up in your lap and your hopes of getting to work from home in a remote position without any actual coding experience are slim to none unfortunately even though I hear this a lot from my students that this is why they are going into medical coding and billing.
You can see from the posts from the very experienced coders both certified and non-certified, it is a tough job market out there.
I wish everyone luck in their search and to stay positive even though it can be very frustrating.
Ali Coleman ~ CFE, CPC, CEMC
Defense Health Agency
TRICARE/Department of Defense
Health Care Fraud Specialist