Barbara beat me to my post saying nearly the same thing.
I get so irritated at the places who make misleading statements about what to expect when you complete the course. Those companies may be the scam but I can assure you that the coding profession and AAPC are not the problem or a scam. I have viewed this as my career for many years (I'm also in the 25+ years category) and I too started at the entry level to get my foot in the door and worked my way up. Gaining experience in all of the related areas (billing, medical records, scheduling, etc) is so important in understanding the overall process.
Please do not get discouraged. AAPC is has the Apprentice Community page which has resources available for you. Attend chapter meetings-this is THE place to network and as Barbara stated, you never know when you will meet your next employer.
If you feel down, just get in touch with me or Barbara-we'll give you a pep talk to bring you back up! And believe me, if I were in a position to hire, I would have NO problem hiring a CPC-A if they were the right candidate!
Brenda Edwards, CPC, CPB, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC, CRC
AAPC ICD-10-CM/PCS Training Expert
Kindness is contagious-PASS IT ON!