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Lack of exprience

  1. #11
    Sarasota FL
    Default Experience
    Medical Coding Books
    I have put forward my thoughts on this very subject several times and will happily do so again.
    I paid for an online coding course which really was not very good. In the end the college acknowledged this and paid a partial refund which I was happy with. I guess I did not research the subject enough (I had moved to the US from England making it doubly difficult).
    To cut a long story short I self-taught to some extent and took the AHIMA CCA certification which I highly recommend. Having passed the test I applied for a coding job requiring 2-3 years experience preferably in cardiology and holding the CCS-P certification (AHIMA again). I was therefore not at all what they were looking for.
    I got an interview (suprisingly there were very few applicants which is often the case here in Florida) and was offered the job. I absolutely love it and have gained further certifications in my two and a half years as a full time coder.
    So, do not be discouraged. Register with as many job agencies as possible (Monster and Indeed is what I used and how I found the job) and apply for everything coding-related even if they want experience. As far as remote coding is concerned it most definitely is not an option for those without experience. Those schools that promote it as an option really should be avoided at all costs. They just want your money.
    Good luck to all of you who have understandably become disillusioned (I was getting to that stage myself but I was persistent in my quest). Please do not give up. Coding is an exciting and challenging specialty but sometimes you may need to look to alternative certifications such as the one I took. To my mind the CPC is hugely over-subscribed and does not adequately separate the good from the mediocre.

  2. #12
    Up until recently I was having the exact same issue. I was beginning to wonder if there was anyone out there willing to hire a coder who didn't have experience (rather than volunteering to code for free, which wasn't an option).

    The truth is: Yes, there are businesses out there hiring inexperienced coders. The tricky thing is that these positions are filled through word-of-mouth/networking and are rarely advertised. The absolute best way to find a job in this economy is to network as much as possible, which is how I was able to find my job. I found that the local chapter meeting was the best way to network. I attended meetings, chatted up the officers and other members, and volunteered to help at our recent conference. I never would have found my job otherwise.

    As a person who is fairly shy and reserved by nature, I really hated networking at first. Then I came to realize that the kind of people who gravitate toward coding are the kind who want to help others out, even if they don't know them very well. It really is worth it to attend meetings and put yourself out there. Also, don't be afraid to let people know that you're actively looking for a job; mention what areas of coding interest you, or might be of interest to you.

  3. #13
    Dover Seacoast New Hampshire
    I do occasionally hire entry-level coders. Your resume is the first thing I look at...and you'd be surprised at how many of them land in the trash because of things that make me wonder about your abilities.

    Misspellings. And then you go on to say you pay "attention to detail"??

    Funky email address, "". I wish I were joking here. While we're on the topic, I've seen some funky screen names on this board. If your email/screen name tells me you are crazy, sexy, disasterous, or mom to six kids, well, I'm not sure I need the drama in my office. Healthcare is a conservative field.

    Overstating your experience. "Mastery of CPT", "Extensive knowledge of.....". All this with no job experience? A CPC-A? It's nice that you think so highly of yourself, but my bull$--- radar shifts into high gear when I read this kind of stuff.

    Your resume looks like everyone elses. A local Coding school offers a course to 'assist' new coders with putting together a resume. They all look exactly alike. Exactly. I need to know what sets you apart, and what you've done in the past that you can translate into coding work. Believe it or not, factory workers sometimes make the best coders--they work quickly, are organized and understand deadlines. So tell me that in your resume.

    No cover letter. Or a generic one. Find out what my name is, and what I do, and what's different about my hospital, and then I know that you did some research. I need coders who can do research.

    Hard to read. Use a conservative font, such as Times New Roman, or Tahoma. I'm not looking for an advertising executive, so leave off the cutesy fonts.

    Hope this is helpful. Keep submitting your resume....Network (AAPC meeting contacts are how I hired my last two apprentices), and don't limit yourself to just coding jobs.

    Good luck.
    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

  4. #14
    I like and appreciate your honest comments Pam. It is nice to hear this point of view from someone who is responsible for hiring coders. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  5. Default Who Investigated Before Investing?
    I usually try to avoid the controversial posts, however, I think the coding profession is starting to take an unfair beating, so here is my two cents.

    First: Pam, I love your post. I see these e-mails and screen names all the time and think the same thing. Your insight on resumes is also very valuable as well.

    Second: The medical coding profession is not a scam. It has been targeted in several ways by dishonest individuals, but so have many other professions.

    As with any successful career, in any field, individuals must thoroughly investigate it prior to investing, obtain a solid education, work hard, start out in the entry level and grunt work positions, work yourself up the ladder, etc. etc. This also includes marketing yourself, networking, and searching out those available jobs. Volunteer, get involved in your local chapter, and utilize all avenues.

    In a slumped economy jobs are harder to find.

    A few years ago CPC-A were getting hired at a quicker rate. Now those entry level positions are being filled either by over qualified individuals who just need a job, or they are being eliminated. It is not just medical coding either. College graduates with four year degrees in multiple areas of study are experiencing the same thing all over our nation. I think there are multiple factors to consider here.

    Over three years ago I was so fed up with the scams targeting this field so I took my own money and countless hours of my time to create an educational website for individuals considering this career.

    The site is a tool to help aspiring coders investigate this field before investing in it. It includes multiple examples of scams to avoid, list requirements (including experience, CEUs, annual fees), and details the difficulties one most overcome (such as obtaining that first job). The site shows up very high in the Google searches along with other educational sites. I know these tools are available to help individuals, so it shocks me that so many are entering this field without a clue of what is expected.

    I think researching this career a little more prior to jumping in could have saved much of the frustration that many of you are feeling right now.
    Last edited by kristyrodecker; 06-30-2011 at 06:18 AM.

  6. Default
    I too am sorry for your frustrations and I do understand. Before I finished school I started working at a hospital in registration and after graduation I eventually was able to transfer to the business dept for billing/coding. It didn't happen over night but you have to stay the course, keep up on the changes and start in what ever position will get your foot in the door.

    Another opportunity might be to check for small practices with only one provider. Things happen all of the time and staff leave. One down side to working in a private office as a new coder is there is no one there to help when/if you need it. But this forum is wonderful! I know that there are temp agencies that deal strictly in medical so you can try that route also. Good luck and remember there are always options!

  7. Unhappy No jobs
    I agree with you all! Work has been outsourced to India and local jobs are few and far between. Makes me sick I spent so much time and money for nothing

  8. Thumbs down CPC-A is the problem
    I have taken the course, passed the test and have not been able to land a job for over one year now, not even an interview. They don't tell you that if you take the CRC exam, then you won't have the apprentice status and there are more jobs available for that credential. And they don't tell you that they are putting out about 40 new coders every month in my area. The competition is real. I am about ready to confess my mistake and write it off to money down the drain. I can't find any assistance anywhere!!!!!!
    SCAM !!!

  9. #19
    It's unfortunate that so many "schools" are cranking out Coders, Medical Assistants, and others on what amounts to a "promise" that if you take this program and get this certifications *poof* instant career making good money.

    The reality is with no experience the certification alone moves your resume from the bottom of the pile to second bottom from the pile. You're still competing against experienced coders. In the age of EMRs and "Meaningful Use" practices are making a bigger deal out of credentials, but the credential alone isn't enough. Especially when smaller practices/groups have ONE biller/coder. Would you hire someone straight out of school to basically control the destiny of your practice?

    To be fair to the "schools" ... the jobs are out there. But getting your "foot in the door" might mean taking a job as a Front Office assistant or perhaps a Revenue Specialist or building your resume with other skills. As you beef up your resume with "relevant" work experience (office work, administrative, bookkeeping) and skills (computers, medical terminology, communication skills) your resume starts making its way up in the pile. It also helps to tweak your resume for each job. For example, if they stress computer skills in the ad - make sure your resume leads with that and uses those key words. I volunteered to be the treasurer/bookkeeper for our Homeowner's Association just to put experience with bookkeeping and QuickBooks on my resume.

    I think your best prospects are larger group practices that have several coders, billers, revenue specialists, etc.

    I know there's little on the planet more depressing than sending your resume to a job you are perfect for and never hearing a peep. But I hope there's a useful tidbit or two in here somewhere. Good luck.
    -Jeffrey Schneider, CPC, CMA(AAMA)

  10. #20
    Richmond, VA
    There seems to be a sort of bottleneck at work here. When I interviewed for my current job, as well as the new one I just accepted, both places told me with great sincerity 'coders sure are hard to find!'. Meanwhile, I know there are new coders out there that are hungry for work and that might be great if given a chance. So, why the disconnect?

    Obviously, experience is a big stumbling block, but it really does seem likely to me that there is a problem with coding credentialing and/or education if employers don't trust them or don't consider a degree and credentials sufficient to identify a coder that's at least worth interviewing. I'd love to see professional associations like AAPC and AHIMA address that in a more serious way.

    However, I also kind of feel like one of the key qualities a coder needs is adaptability. This profession has changed and will continue to change as the US healthcare system goes through...whatever it's going through right now. Plus, technology will continue to advance and offshoring is always going to be a threat. If you're looking for coding jobs and not getting nibbles, widen your field of interest a little into other HIT aspects. I temped for a couple months, then worked as a customer service/intake associate for a DME company for a year, and then got a break when a home health company decided to try me as a coder.

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