AAPC offered me a clear path to a career that didn't require me to necessarily have an advanced degree to be marketable--meaning I could pursue my academic interests while working at a very respectable position. AAPC also made me hirable from the date I received my exam scores.
There are those within our HIM industry who do not appreciate the benefits of AAPC membership. It saddens me to hear our own members grumble about what they perceive as AAPC's lack of support. I couldn't disagree any stronger. Although I recognize the fundamental difficulties in our present job market, demonstrating experience, willingness and aptitude toward the duties of a coder or biller is key to landing the job.
Many posts in this forum relay how one achieves positions that lead into potential coding, billing or allied work. It's wise to read these posts and take to heart what these experts tell you. I have been in this field nearly a decade and been very lucky the majority of that time. The key to furthering your career is never turning down learning opportunities, regardless of their presentation. This appears to be where most fall short.
By the way, Coding Edge and this forum provide far more detailed and focused discussion of coding topics than any other professional association.
Please remember that without AAPC, I doubt that coders would garner the wages and recognition they now receive. Although it is sometimes difficult to see individual benefits, it's the size, influence and voice of AAPC that make the most difference over time.
Good luck to you.
Kevin B. Shields, RHIT, CPCO, CCS, CPC, COC, CCS-P, CPC-P, CPC-I