AAPC - Back to school
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Thread: What is it really like?

  1. #1

    Default What is it really like?

    AAPC: Back to School
    Alot of the students I know are wondering what it will be like once they get a job. I thought it would be great for everyone to share their experiences of the first couple days on the job as a new coder.

    What is what you expected?
    Were there any surprises you weren't ready for?
    How patient was your employer with your speed and/or accuracy?
    What should we "new coders" be looking forward to?

    I really think this is a topic that will ease the fears of alot of aspiring coding individuals. Thank for the share!
    Adam L. Shoop CPC
    You will be successful in whatever you choose to do,
    and light will shine on the path ahead of you. Job 22:28

    Only because of God, my father, and Jesus Christ,
    did I make it into this field so smoothly. Thank you God!

  2. #2

    Default First Job as CPC-A

    Hi, I was very lucky to find a company that did not mind that I was a CPC-A. They are very understanding and willing to work with me for as long as it takes to get me up to speed. I on the other hand want to do more since I have quite a type A personality, it's hard to go slow in this current position, but know it's for my own good to proceed slowly. You need to let your students know that they are "A's" for a reason and it's about learning all they can and they need to continue to learn even after the A is removed. It's very difficult to find a company that is willing to take a chance on a newly certified coder and they may have to look into "project x-tern" thru the AAPC to volunteer to work for free basically to get some experience. Thankfully I was able to find a company that sees cpc-a's as a way to get someone that might not have the "experience" aspect but may not have any "bad" habits yet and they can be molded into the coder the company wants. I think the hardest aspect of coding for me was the fact that I am employed by a cardiology group and cardiology was difficult for me while taking coding classes. It's very detailed, and can be frustrating but very interesting at the same time. I am lucky to work with another coder that has a huge wealth of knowledge and this in turn helps me. I hope this helps your students.

  3. #3


    how did you find a company that was willing to hire with no experience? I have been looking for almost a year and everyone wants 3-5 years prior experience. I have 3 years billing and follow-up experience and am a CPC.
    Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    St. Louis West


    They are out there...don't give up, just keep looking! Widen your search and don't just look at coding...there is billing, registration, medical records or anything you can find to get your foot in the door. It's all experience and it makes you a better coder when you know a lot about the entire medical field! Hang on, I know you will find something!!
    [COLOR="DarkOrchid"]Barbara Fontaine, CPC
    2011-2015 AAPCCA [B]Past Board of Directors Chair

    COLOR="Blue"]Assume Positive Intent...Be Kind!

    Past President St. Louis West Chapter

    email: bfontaine@signaturehealth.net

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Virginia Beach Local Chapter


    I agree with Barbara, DO NOT GIVE UP. There are places out there that are welling to work with CPC-As. Be willing to take any job that gets you in the door and go from there. I personally have hired CPC-As. I know that it seems there is nothing out there for you, but if you keep trying something will come up. I really think that even season coders are having a harder time finding jobs due to the job situation everywhere. Attend your Local Chapter meetings, it is a great place to network and if there are job openings the chapter will announce them. Also, use the forum on the AAPC website it has lots of information and help for you to help find jobs and get the experience you need to have your A removed. Good luck and hang in there.

    AAPC-CA BOD 2015 - 2017
    Region 3: Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, & Kentucky


    Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!
    -Audrey Hepburn

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    St. Louis, MO

    Default Coding job

    I had done a lot in the medical field prior to coding. When I first started coding I realized I didn't know as much terminology as I thought I did. It is true that a coder never stops learning. What might be a good idea for a new coder is to keep a little pocket notebook and write terms and words they don't know to look them up.

    My first week on the job was overwhelming but I was doing more then coding. Everyone is patient with you the first couple of weeks but then you need to step up your game. I was never a big note taker but I learned fast to do just that. Later I would type out my notes, a trick my room mate taught me in college. It helped me to learn faster.

    Something else that helped me when I first started that some might not think about was I got a great, uplifting music CD and listened to it every day on the way to work and on the way home. It let me relax. Seems a little silly now but I think it helped. I was overwhelmed quickly with all I had to do and learn. It was a fast passed office and mistakes cost big money. My nerves were tight but it was a wonderful experience and I learned so much from that job.

    When you are doing what you love it never seems like a job,
    Alicia Scott, CPC
    Future CPC-I

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Kokomo, Indiana

    Default Coding job

    When I first started coding, I had no coding experince nor was I even certified. I started out with the company as an insurance cashier, taking patients insurance information and payments on accounts, then I moved into the company's accounts receiveable department. When a position opened up in the coding department I jumped at the opportunity and my boss gave me a chance. This has led to me working as a coder for the last 8yrs (14 total in the medical field). I would suggest taking any job within a medical company whether its medical records, billing department, or a receptionist. No matter what you are doing you will gain experince and develop your reputation within the company.

  8. #8


    It's funny you should mention the music. I just started my first job as a CPC-A and I also listen to relaxing music on my way home from work. This job can really tighten your nerves. It means a lot to be able to listen to something soothing on the way home.
    As to how to find the job.... Now you know why it was so important to impress those instructors of yours!! It was my instructors who helped me get my job! Remember: THEY have all the contacts. By impressing them, the word goes out to all their friends in the field. When they happen to hear about an opening, the person they mention is that one student who worked hard, studied hard and did well on their test. Other students used to rag me about "ruining their grade curve". They never understood that I wasn't there to make their life easier. Now, I'm working at one of the foremost hospitals in this area and they are still looking for positions in a bad job market. You really need to work on impressing your teachers ( and the people who let you do your internship with them! If nothing else, it gets you a good recommendation!)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    St.Petersburg, Fl


    This is my favorite subject because it can be done. I started with school and making sure to get good grades and used that Associates in Science for Medical Coding and Billing to get in the door. It is not an easy task by any means but I was determine and I don't give up easy.
    I started by taking a job in Jail for medical records so I would have SOMETHING medical on my resume. It worked, got hired at the county health department. I was not certified and did not have experience but I interview well and was confident the 2 years in school was experience and to give me a chance. I got the job, they were patient and knowledgeable. I stayed in that jobs for 2 years,I now work at a Children's hospital and do a large variety of coder and education never stops, I love learning and it's there if you want it. If you think you know everything it is impossible to know it all, I learn something new almost everyday. When I read an ad for a job I look at experience as a suggestion not a requirement.
    Alecia Peck CPC

  10. #10


    I began my coding career as a certified medical assistant in the clinical area 14 years ago. This gave me a lot of knowledge with terminology. I then moved to a front desk position where I gained my insurance knowledge. From there I was offered a position in the billing department posting payments and working A/R's. Last year, after my 14 years medical experience, I jumped in with both feet and decided to sit for the CPC exam and passed. Now, I do coding in for a billing company. I love it but still looking to do more and learn more and keep climbing!!! GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!!

    Michelle S., CPC

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