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How many gained employment with NO experience?

  1. Red face Keep your options open
    Medical Coding Books
    Hi All,

    I got a job at a neurosurgical practice while I was finishing my coding classes doing their charge entry. It was not a glamourous job and it was only part-time to start, but I learned a lot and really am glad I started out that way. I finished my schooling 5 months after I started and sat for the CPC-A and passed then got to be the full-time coder. I got a lot of great expereince and worked there for over three years and then was recruited by a hospital to work for them and have since been doing some consulting for other groups as well. Don't lose hope but please take a job that can get you som expereince in the office and find out how it works and runs and then you can show them what you can do as a coder. I started this journey 5 years ago and coding is the best career choice I could ever have made! Stay positive and keep your head up.

    Candi

  2. Default
    Thanks for the encouragement! It is needed! I finished school in March and I've been applying for jobs constantly! I do not have the extra $300 for the test right now, need a job first. So, obviously, I am not applying for coding positions...I have been applying right and left to entry level office positions. No bites yet! I have been a stay at home mom for 20 years, so maybe that is what's holding me back. I hope to hear some news soon! Do hospitals allow volunteers in the charge entry area??

  3. #13
    Default
    Quote Originally Posted by elizabetharonson View Post
    Thanks for the encouragement! It is needed! I finished school in March and I've been applying for jobs constantly! I do not have the extra $300 for the test right now, need a job first. So, obviously, I am not applying for coding positions...I have been applying right and left to entry level office positions. No bites yet! I have been a stay at home mom for 20 years, so maybe that is what's holding me back. I hope to hear some news soon! Do hospitals allow volunteers in the charge entry area??
    I really doubt it - too many privacy concerns. But, ANY job within the proximity of the billing/customer service side of a hospital or practice is a foot in the door for a coding position - it may even get you where you want to be, a LOT faster than you'd think. I really want to see what would happen if someone who's certified (or soon to be certified), and with NO experience, would put my theory on this to the test (although it will depend largely on how good of an employee the person is):

    Find a medium-to-large sized physician group practice, hospital, or other well established medical facility/physician's office, that's advertising for an entry-level clerical position - even more entry-level than charge entry (think: receptionist or file clerk). Tell them that you are currently/soon to be certified as a coder, and you want to get used to the pace of the clinic environment, and hopefully, get an opportunity to learn real hands-on coding from an experienced coder; remind them that you can't get that kind of practical experience from any book.

    -Your goal ("5 year plan") is to someday ___________. Fill in the blank with something beyond coding, like practice management, consulting, auditing, or even just running a coding or billing department, if that's you passion - the key is to make the goal a few steps bigger than just 'become an experienced coder', even if you don't expect to achieve it within 5 years. What you'll be communicating is, "I'm ambitious, and not only do I have a plan to make this my long-term career, by applying for this job, I'm already putting my plan into action." Showing that your plan is thought out beyond one step into the future demonstrates critical thinking and initiative, which are valuable traits in any employee. The receptionist position is Step 1: getting acclimated with how the practice operates by learning the whole process, from patient check in to claim appeals.
    Step 2: is to learn as much as you can - become the 'jack-of-all-trades' of the clinic. People love to teach others what they know, when the pupil shows a genuine desire to learn from them, especially. You may not be granted time on the clock to intern around the office right away, but if you're seriously dedicated, use your break times or other spare off-the-clock time to learn a new skill (especially if you can sit with a coder), and make sure your efforts are noticed by your supervisor(s). Don't make a big deal about it - just say, "'So-and-so' said she'd be happy to help me develop my coding skills [in my personal time/during my lunch breaks] by observing her at work; but we thought we should check with you first, to make sure it's alright." (*You'll score bonus points, if your proposed mentor is recognized as a top performer...) Make sure you've been there for at least a week or two, and have already shown that you're competent and a good student, by proving yourself in your current position. (Be the best darn file clerk that's ever worked there!)
    It's really not much different than an unpaid internship, except you don't have to bother with all of the privacy/security hassles of a non-employee intern. You wouldn't be working(technically), or training for a position that's been promised to you (yet), so it's not likely that your unpaid presence - strictly for your own academic benefit - will violate any labor laws (check with your state if you're unsure). If you're really lucky, they might be impressed enough to allow you a little bit of paid training from the beginning; but either way, if you make a good impression on your trainer, it'll get back to the supervisors - and they'll start to see that you're a good investment. The next opening in a position you want will be as good as yours!

    This might sound obvious to most people, but dress professionally (you'd rather be over-dressed than under-dressed...no scrubs), even when you're just picking up the application/turning in your resume. Ladies, I hate saying this with every cell in my body, but a little bit of make-up honestly does go a long way to helping you land a job (that's not my opinion - it's been backed up by several scientific studies - I don't agree with it, but it is, what it is...people are hard-wired to have a preference for attractiveness) I'm not saying you've got to raid the cosmetics counter - just give the impression that you put some effort into how you look.
    Guys, shave and spring for the button-down shirt over the polo - for extra points, also add a tie.

    My prediction, is that anyone who really wants to become a coder (or beyond), and is willing to match that ambition with serious work ethic in any task they're given; will get a job where they want to work, in the position they want to be in, in a fraction of the amount of time, as they would if they stayed on the beaten-path. If you're out of ideas and try mine, please let me know how it works out!

    Good luck!
    Last edited by btadlock1; 04-29-2011 at 02:04 AM. Reason: further strategy advice added

  4. Wink
    I graduated with an Associate's degree in Medical Administration. Upon graduation, I began researching some of the companies in my area, not really focused on a specific job title. The company that placed #1 on my list is the one that hired me as an uncertified Medical Coder. Stay encouraged.

  5. Default
    I got hired for a billing/coding position right out of a technical school. I believe the only reason I got the position because it was a A Native American Health Center and I had Native American preference. There is hope. The Office Manager I worked for was not very happy about this at first as she wanted someone more qualified, but after she saw what kind of work I produced and how good I was that quickly changed. It is now 8 yrs later and we are really good friends, she even comes to me with questions, so there is hope out there.
    Sonja Little, CPC

  6. Default
    Brandi,

    I will do your experiment! I am willing to do what it takes! I'll keep you updated

    I have Indian preference and have been looking, almost daily, at the res web site...waiting for an opening! I had a feeling that might be a good way to go.

    Thanks again for the encouragement!


    Elizabeth
    Soon to be CPC-A

  7. #17
    Talking
    Quote Originally Posted by elizabetharonson View Post
    Brandi,

    I will do your experiment! I am willing to do what it takes! I'll keep you updated

    I have Indian preference and have been looking, almost daily, at the res web site...waiting for an opening! I had a feeling that might be a good way to go.

    Thanks again for the encouragement!


    Elizabeth
    Soon to be CPC-A
    Heck yeah! That's awesome!!!

    Good luck! I know you can do it - anyone can, as long as they show that they're dedicated, and truly interested in learning everything they can, to become a knowledgable and valued employee. Let me know how it goes! My email is: brandi.tadlock@umchealthsystem.com



  8. Default
    I thought it was time this thread made it back to the top so that others could be encouraged and/or contribute their experiences.....

  9. #19
    Location
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    Posts
    1,970
    Default
    Brandi gives excellent advice....as someone who has recently interviewed brand-new coders for entry level jobs, I often ask what everyone's five year plan is. I am not impressed by many of the answers...

    "I want to be coding"

    "I want to be working full-time"

    "I want to learn more about coding".

    Good grief. I feel like I have to hold a mirror under their noses to see if they're breathing.

    Here's what I want to hear.....

    "I want to obtain my specialty certification in ______

    "I'd like to be in a supervisory role"

    "I want to be able to audit and teach physicians".

    "I am interested in compliance"

    "I'd like to get my degree".

    Frankly (and I think I speak for other managers), I am looking for people who will fit into my succession plan. I need employees who are going to grow with and complement our hospital. I am never interested in anyone who just wants a job. In fact, those people are not hired, by me anyway.

    So think ahead five or ten years, before you apply, because coding isn't 'just a job'. It's a career with a lot of growth potential. So if you don't approach this as an opportunity to shine, you're not going to get a chance to get your foot in the door.

    May I rant?????

    I also know that many of the people (mostly women) that I have recently interviewed are looking for jobs that they can work their lives around. I'll be honest here. I'm very flexible when it comes to sick kids, family vacations, and the occasional (key word) family issue, but I am not running a daycare, and I can't afford to have people tell me when they can and can't work. I am unable provide a 'work from home' situation, and I can't always accomodate "mother's hours". If you want a great career...you have to be willing to work for it....40+ hours a week, and sometimes later in the day than the schoolbus arrives. It annoys me when I bring someone in for an interview for a 40-hour postiion, and when I ask them if they are available 7-3:30, Monday-Friday to have the candidate tell me 'Well, I can't be here Wednesday, because I don't have childcare, and Thursday afternoons I have to leave early because of Cub Scouts, and then Friday morning, I volunteer at my kids' classroom." Nothing against supermoms....but you have to be very balanced and organized to work in this field.

    Just wanted to point this out, because I do see a lot of posts from women (I assume) who are trying to work around the kids. My opinion, for what it's worth, anyway.
    Pam Brooks, MHA, COC, PCS, CPC, AAPC Fellow
    Coding Manager
    Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
    Dover, NH 03820

    If you can dream it, you can do it. Walt Disney

  10. Default Keep the faith !!!
    Good Morning Fellow Coders,

    I started in the Medical Field over 15 years ago. I was the first male employee in a Medical Records Department at a Clinic. I worked my work up in several Hospitals and Insurance companies and did billing and coding without being Certified. I am know Certified as a CPC and studying to take the CPC-H exam this fall.

    If you have to take a job just to get into the company as an entry-level Biller do it and keep you eyes on the job posting Board and develop good relationships with your co-workers, managers, directors and Supervisors and prove your worth to the organization !!

    I am currently a Manager of Revenue Operations. So do not give up keep your nose to the grind stone and never give up !!!


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