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How do you stay fresh if you can't find a job?

  1. Default How do you stay fresh if you can't find a job?
    Medical Coding Books
    I graduated in May with my certification in medical billing and coding and passed the exam in June. As many others have experienced, I can't find a position. I am looking for other positions to get my "foot in the door" but so far no luck.
    How do you keep your skills fresh without a job? Even now, not that long after graduating, I kind of feel like I'm losing my skills.

    Thanks for any help.


  2. #2
    Greater Orlando
    Default Ways to stay 'fresh' while searching for that 1st job

    Do you belong to and participate in your local chapter? If not, I'd highly recommend that. Benefits of being in a chapter: networking with other coders, finding someone to mentor you, learning about job opportunities that may not make the job boards, and meeting coders in the various subfields of coding.

    You'll probably earn 1 to 2 CEUs each month with the educational part of your chanpter meeting. In addition, my chapter offers 4 seminars are year (4.0 CEUs each) digging into topical issues. Many of our members w/ a CPC annually re-take the CPC Exam Prep and Review class to refresh their knowledge in areas outside their specialty.

    Read the questions posted in the forums, here, work out your answers, see what other coders respond with, compare your answers with theirs and the logic they offer for their answers.

    Each month, you can get a free CEU by completing the Test Yourself feature on that month's Coding Edge magazine.

    You can practice your E/M knowledge at; they have one unit for free; you can purchase 3-month access to all of their site for $99 and potentially earn 33 CEUs with AAPC.

    AAPC (look under Continuing Ed on your Home page) offers Code-a-Round where for $9.95/set, you can get sets of 5 cases to code; each specialty has 10 sets of cases. You can use these to prepare for a specialty while you strive to become employed.

    You can by the A&P study program (14 activities for $149.95) from AAPC to prepare for the greatly increased specificity of ICD-10-CM.

    Other possiblities. Look for free online mock tests.

    Use the practice exams in the CPC Review & Prep book and/or the 3-online Practice Tests (if you bought them) to keep you sharp and fresh.

    Just a few thoughts. ;-)
    Ron McKenzie, CPC-A
    Greater Orlando FL Chapter

  3. Smile Couple suggestions
    Hi Rebecca,

    Everyone is different, but let me suggest four possible options for you to consider.

    First, if you haven't already, consider registering at multiple temporary agencies, and be flexible to the jobs so long as it is in the medical office field. The winter can be a peak need for temporaries.

    Second, don't overlook volunteering for an unpaid or low paid internship several days a week. You could learn new things and sharpen your resume while the location would receive work from an energetic volunteer.

    Sometimes temping, volunteering, or interning turns into job offers at the location or builds resumes to get a permanent position elsewhere. Certainly time goes faster, and isn't as boring as waiting for the perfect want advertisement. Employers do respect someone who works hard to enter a career field. If you review the career websites, you will notice that Human Resources articles that employers may sometimes discriminate against those not actively employed. An internship, (even unpaid) shows an active positive attitude. Thus such activity moves the potential employee up a couple notches for job interviews.

    Sending a cover letter and resume unsolicited offering to intern at no cost for small medical practices or even hospitals etc a few days a week may be better than a full-time internship. Then you could still accept part-time work a couple days a week if the opportunity presents itself, or interview on the off-days. If you intern, keep a positive attitude and keep interviewing.

    Third, vista-print is an inexpensive way to get professional looking business cards printed with your name, profession, certification, etc. Attending Local AAPC chapter events and handing out a few cards is like spreading seeds on a lawn. One of them may sprout into a job opportunity. Many employers prefer to hire via referrals.

    Fourth, networking is your friend. Attend AAPC and similar events and keep in touch with your old classmates while sharpening your skills and resume. has some great articles about appropriate networking. Many job opportunities come from referrals. Three of my favorite jobs came about because casual friends asked me for my resume to give to their employers. In two of those three times, I had sent my resume to the employer myself and the same resume was hmmm, not as positively responded to.

    Rebecca, that you showed the initiative to ask a question on the forum shows you have the right attitude. You will find a job, just keep trying.

    Matthew Case

  4. Default
    Where are you located? I am with a company that a coding supervisor was just asking how to get a certified coder into her area.

  5. Default
    I am in Bethlehem, PA (Lehigh Valley). If this matches up at all with the position mentioned, please email me at I tend to forget to check this forum for replies.

  6. #6
    New Haven, CT
    Default Unfortunately...
    I'm 35 and can't afford to be a temp or an extern. I would love to do it at night or on the weekends, but most offices and hospitals don't work those hours. I think most people have to realize that not all of us are just out of high school or college. It's just not that simple to just do an externship, when you have a job as an adult.
    Meegan Sweeney, CPC-A

  7. Default
    Hi, Meegan:

    I agree. I'm older than you, a career changer after 23 years, passed the CPC exam in June...but have not yet broken into the coding world. It's extremely challenging with no actual working experience. I feel like a high school graduate in a catch 22 again! Can't get experience without a job and can't get a job without experience! I'm thankful for the few interviews that I was able to go on and hope that the one I went to on Friday will at last be my first opportunity. All we can do is keep trying.

    I'll pray for all of us in this situation. Happy Holidays!


  8. #8
    I concur, I am having the same issues, not only that we must have 12 CEU on file by 12/29 and i have spent more money on the ceus and classes but cant find any coding work. I have 13 years operating room experience and still nothing!

  9. Default CEUs
    The Coding Edge quizzes are a great way to get CEUs, that right there is 12 free CEUs. The code arounds are also low cost CEUs and of course, chapter meetings are also free. You really shouldn't have to pay for expensive continuing education, there are so many free or low cost options.

  10. #10
    Default On the internet
    There are some great websites out there that you can look at to keep yourself fresh. Webinars are really helpful. A site that has free webinars is
    I am having my students visit this site, sign up for the updates and then they can ask questions and the instructor will address them on the webinar.

    Another site that I really like is If you go to the A&P section of this site you will find fantastic refreshers. You already know how to look things up but staying fresh with A&P can be hard. Yet another site that is good is They have A&P labeling that you can do which will keep you fresh.

    Hope this is helpful.
    Alicia Scott, CPC, CPC-I, CRC
    Educational Director,,
    Have a Passion for Coding

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