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Thread: Whinning new coders? I was shocked.

  1. #1
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    Default Whinning new coders? I was shocked.

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    I was looking on the AAPC web page today and was shocked what I had read on a post from a long time coder in the field.
    I was searching for words of encouragement, but found a very colorful post.

    A coder in the field had said that she had hoped that the "Whining" from newly certified coders stop. She had said that most employers would NOT hire someone that had a whole "3 months" of education. That without us having done said homework should not complain about having felt we had been taken advantage of and her words were "and why shouldn't they take your money". The sobering thing is she was not the only long time coder and hiring professional that were posting on that particular thread.

    Has anyone seen this thread? I wanted to find out if this person would have felt differently if a new coder had also taken additional classes in hopes of changing careers and finding a job in coding.

    I have taken additional classes and wanted an honest opinion. I have also applied for such positions Unit Secretary, PAS, PSR, Receptionist, Customer Service, etc in the medical field. I have office experience, but no medical office experience.

    This was not the encouragement I was looking for from a member. Thank your for your candor. I am wondering if I have truly invested in a costly experiment and should just take my lumps and move on.

  2. #2

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    I think it really depends on who is doing the hiring, and the first impression you make with them. I hired a person that had no medical experience at all to be my front office receptionist. She dressed professionally for the interview, and appeared smart. She also stated that one of her future goals was to take some coding classes. This young lady excelled and was promoted to our investigational study department. The economy is really bad right now, and there are a lot of people to choose from. That will not always be the case. If I were you I would keep up with my coding skills and keep applying. Things will get better.

    Robin King, CPC

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    Default New Coders

    I agree with Robin 100% you might not be able to hire in directly as a coder but I would keep up the coding skills. I currently have two inexperinced coders working for me that I feel very lucky to have not because of their skills/knowledge but rather their work ethic and attitudes-both were front office personal!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butler View Post
    I was looking on the AAPC web page today and was shocked what I had read on a post from a long time coder in the field.
    I was searching for words of encouragement, but found a very colorful post.

    A coder in the field had said that she had hoped that the "Whining" from newly certified coders stop. She had said that most employers would NOT hire someone that had a whole "3 months" of education. That without us having done said homework should not complain about having felt we had been taken advantage of and her words were "and why shouldn't they take your money". The sobering thing is she was not the only long time coder and hiring professional that were posting on that particular thread.

    Has anyone seen this thread? I wanted to find out if this person would have felt differently if a new coder had also taken additional classes in hopes of changing careers and finding a job in coding.


    I have taken additional classes and wanted an honest opinion. I have also applied for such positions Unit Secretary, PAS, PSR, Receptionist, Customer Service, etc in the medical field. I have office experience, but no medical office experience.

    This was not the encouragement I was looking for from a member. Thank your for your candor. I am wondering if I have truly invested in a costly experiment and should just take my lumps and move on.
    I think that the schools have a tendency to provide unrealistic expectations about students' employment prospects, once they graduate; and that, as a result, many newly certified coders feel entitled to coding jobs, and are given a rude awakening when they don't land them right off the bat. I see the same thing happen with certain collegiate-degree fields (Mass Comm, for example) - new grads become frustrated that all of their time was "wasted" getting an education, since no one will hire them without experience.

    Look, you have to have some experience somewhere; and if you don't, you can't feel like you're too good to start at the bottom to get it. That's "Having a Career 101", for any profession. No one's entitled to respect - you've got to earn it; and there's a serious difference between being a reliable (eg, experienced) coder, and merely passing a multiple choice test on the subject. It takes practice to build skills, and they want to know you've really gotten it, ahead of time.

    I can see how you would have interpreted a gripe as being overly harsh, but I've also read dozens upon dozens of posts from people who are "too good for filing", who have no more experience coding, than the filing clerk at the place they want to work - they're frustrated, and absolutely baffled by their inability to get a coding position - it does get old to read, and is discouraging to those who don't mind rolling up their sleeves in a 'mundane' position, to get their foot in the door.

    If you can't get a job without experience, then get some experience any way that you can. Intern, or use the AAPC's resources (like Code-A-Rounds), to get the "A" off of your credential, and keep trying. If you don't give up, you'll eventually succeed, and it'll all have been worthwhile.
    If you think that someone should just hand you a job, simply because you completed your course work, then I'd say yes, you have totally wasted your money and time, because the world simply doesn't work that way. So, I guess it's subjective.

    P.S. - Office experience is good enough for medical office experience in most cases. If you can use a computer and Microsoft Office programs, you're usually qualified. Don't sell yourself short - you're on the right track. Good luck!
    Last edited by btadlock1; 12-27-2011 at 12:39 PM. Reason: P.S.....

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    Too, we must recognize that "schools" are not wholly responsible for the impression students are given. While I've heard radio ads that tell folks, "you can become a medical coder in as little as 9 months," our students are cautioned that is not always the case. We recognize that continued education and experience are required in order to become masters of our profession.

    Employability is available to those who are flexible and adaptive in their job searches. Recruiters and advisors at schools might indicate to students that gaining a job in the field is easier than is realistic. However, instructors, professors and preceptors should clarify. I do not know how many do, but can attest that not only do I explain to my students how to realistically approach the job search, I also demonstrate this to them. We pull up local job search engines and review the jobs available which align to their skill sets, without a job title of "coder" or "biller". Usually they are amazed that so many jobs are available to them on an entry level.

    Schools have an obligation to educate, according to the chosen field of study. They, too, have an obligation to support success in students. However, students must research their field and strive to understand the nuances and qualifications for that field. Listening to others without researching is short-sighted.

    When I decided to pursue coding as a profession, every effort was made to gain information from sources like AAPC and professionals already in the field. Without it, I'd have unintentionally limited myself by not fully understanding this field. Critical conversations are necessary with our new members, with apprentice and novice coders, as well as students.

    Lastly, to those struggling to obtain employment, be ready and willing to accept entry level positions that support your career goal. In a capitolistic society, employment is not an entitlement. Responsibility for gaining employment lands with the applicant, not the school that educated a student, not with the professional associations and not with an employer.

    Best of luck to all.
    Kevin B. Shields, RHIT, CPCO, CCS, CPC, COC, CCS-P, CPC-P, CPC-I

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbshields View Post
    Too, we must recognize that "schools" are not wholly responsible for the impression students are given. While I've heard radio ads that tell folks, "you can become a medical coder in as little as 9 months," our students are cautioned that is not always the case. We recognize that continued education and experience are required in order to become masters of our profession.

    Employability is available to those who are flexible and adaptive in their job searches. Recruiters and advisors at schools might indicate to students that gaining a job in the field is easier than is realistic. However, instructors, professors and preceptors should clarify. I do not know how many do, but can attest that not only do I explain to my students how to realistically approach the job search, I also demonstrate this to them. We pull up local job search engines and review the jobs available which align to their skill sets, without a job title of "coder" or "biller". Usually they are amazed that so many jobs are available to them on an entry level.

    Schools have an obligation to educate, according to the chosen field of study. They, too, have an obligation to support success in students. However, students must research their field and strive to understand the nuances and qualifications for that field. Listening to others without researching is short-sighted.

    When I decided to pursue coding as a profession, every effort was made to gain information from sources like AAPC and professionals already in the field. Without it, I'd have unintentionally limited myself by not fully understanding this field. Critical conversations are necessary with our new members, with apprentice and novice coders, as well as students.

    Lastly, to those struggling to obtain employment, be ready and willing to accept entry level positions that support your career goal. In a capitolistic society, employment is not an entitlement. Responsibility for gaining employment lands with the applicant, not the school that educated a student, not with the professional associations and not with an employer.

    Best of luck to all.
    Well-stated. Personal responsibility is too often overlooked when folks want to start placing blame. Ultimately, we are the masters of our own fate; good, bad or indifferent.
    Arlene J. Smith, CPC, CPMA, CEMC, COBGC

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbshields View Post
    Too, we must recognize that "schools" are not wholly responsible for the impression students are given. While I've heard radio ads that tell folks, "you can become a medical coder in as little as 9 months," our students are cautioned that is not always the case. We recognize that continued education and experience are required in order to become masters of our profession.

    Employability is available to those who are flexible and adaptive in their job searches. Recruiters and advisors at schools might indicate to students that gaining a job in the field is easier than is realistic. However, instructors, professors and preceptors should clarify. I do not know how many do, but can attest that not only do I explain to my students how to realistically approach the job search, I also demonstrate this to them. We pull up local job search engines and review the jobs available which align to their skill sets, without a job title of "coder" or "biller". Usually they are amazed that so many jobs are available to them on an entry level.

    Schools have an obligation to educate, according to the chosen field of study. They, too, have an obligation to support success in students. However, students must research their field and strive to understand the nuances and qualifications for that field. Listening to others without researching is short-sighted.

    When I decided to pursue coding as a profession, every effort was made to gain information from sources like AAPC and professionals already in the field. Without it, I'd have unintentionally limited myself by not fully understanding this field. Critical conversations are necessary with our new members, with apprentice and novice coders, as well as students.

    Lastly, to those struggling to obtain employment, be ready and willing to accept entry level positions that support your career goal. In a capitolistic society, employment is not an entitlement. Responsibility for gaining employment lands with the applicant, not the school that educated a student, not with the professional associations and not with an employer.

    Best of luck to all.
    Yes, I probably should have specified "some schools", rather than "the schools" - and it's certainly not my intent to try to pass the buck off onto the educators...although, those commercials are precisely what I'd had in mind, in mentioning it. (Don't forget - someone had to pay for those commercials...I can't really picture the schools behind them, as innocent victims in their own misleading advertising campaigns )

    Anyways, the point I'm making, is that: I can understand where some of the disappointment is coming from; however, just because the outcome wasn't exactly what someone had in mind, doesn't necessarily mean that their time in getting an education was a complete waste.

    I completely agree that the fate of each person's career is in their own hands, whether or not they choose to believe it. So believe it! "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't...You're right."

  8. #8

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    It is sad to hear from some in this field state that those of us who are without jobs should stop our whining, and should realize that we are not any more experienced than a file clerk, when we have gone back to school, paid money for coding classes and organization memberships and exams, and meetings gathering knowledge and CEUs.

    I think the coding industry should open its arms to support those who are eager to code and who thought enough of the field to invest time and money to educate themselves and obtain credentials. Show that those credentials are really worth the money and time spent to get, and start a mentorship, or put ads up seeking newly certified coders.

    Remember that those of us who are returning to school and getting certified are doing so to get ourselves on a path to employment. But all the training in the world will not do any good if the industry does not hire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drobert View Post
    It is sad to hear from some in this field state that those of us who are without jobs should stop our whining, and should realize that we are not any more experienced than a file clerk, when we have gone back to school, paid money for coding classes and organization memberships and exams, and meetings gathering knowledge and CEUs.

    I think the coding industry should open its arms to support those who are eager to code and who thought enough of the field to invest time and money to educate themselves and obtain credentials. Show that those credentials are really worth the money and time spent to get, and start a mentorship, or put ads up seeking newly certified coders.

    Remember that those of us who are returning to school and getting certified are doing so to get ourselves on a path to employment. But all the training in the world will not do any good if the industry does not hire.
    That's the point though; you're not spending the time and money to become an instant coder; you're spending it to become a coding apprentice.

    No one is going to give you a homerun, just because you made it to first base. It's not that easy; if you're not willing to accept the fact that passing the test is just step one, and that you need practice to be hired as a coder, then good luck finding a job. You'll need it.

    Anyone can make it in this industry, and can gain the experience they need to get to where they want to go, but you have to be willing to start where you're able to. If that means you're a file clerk at first while you learn, then that's how it has to be. Even doctors have to complete a residency period before they're considered employable as doctors. No one's immuned to the 'experience' aspect of this field - the credential wouldn't mean anything, if it didn't represent true professionals, and you're not a true professional, if you've never actually done the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drobert View Post
    It is sad to hear from some in this field state that those of us who are without jobs should stop our whining, and should realize that we are not any more experienced than a file clerk, when we have gone back to school, paid money for coding classes and organization memberships and exams, and meetings gathering knowledge and CEUs.

    I think the coding industry should open its arms to support those who are eager to code and who thought enough of the field to invest time and money to educate themselves and obtain credentials. Show that those credentials are really worth the money and time spent to get, and start a mentorship, or put ads up seeking newly certified coders.

    Remember that those of us who are returning to school and getting certified are doing so to get ourselves on a path to employment. But all the training in the world will not do any good if the industry does not hire.
    I love to, and do, welcome newly certified coders into this field. Please realize this is not an industry, it is a profession. Unfortunately, coders don't hire coders, doctors and human resource directors hire coders. Just like in a lot of other professions, they want to see that you know how to do this job in the real world, not just the classroom.

    For some who have been working in this profession for many years, it can be hard to see the "newly certified" out there vying for the same jobs we are. With the economy in turmoil there are fewer jobs, but more people applying for them. Competition is tough no matter how much experience you have!

    I have been in the trenches since the mid-1980s and worked through the E/M coding changes in the mid-1990s. Now we are all gearing up for the big ICD-10 changes in 2013. I got certified on my own through many years of on-the-job training. There were no "coding training classes" with promises of gainful employment; just yearly seminars, bulletins from the various agencies, and trial and error. We learned when the new books came out every year. I paid for my own exams and CEUs for a lot of years before employers started seeing the benefit of helping keep the certifications going.

    So, I do welcome the new coders, but please realize that it takes a lot of hard work to get to where you see some of us "certified coders" out here on the job. As a mentor and President of my local chapter, I have assisted a few "newly certified coders" in finding that first job,or moving into a better job. I am always willing to help where I can.

    I have been working in this profession for 25+ years, and since I seem to have a knack for it, I will probably be here until my brain shuts down. I wish you luck in your search for a meaningful coding job. It can be a rewarding profession, but it is not for everyone. And please be patient with those of us who have been out here for a while, sometimes the world is a scary place!
    Arlene J. Smith, CPC, CPMA, CEMC, COBGC

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