AAPC - Back to school
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Thread: Am I wasting my time and my son's money?

  1. #1

    Default Am I wasting my time and my son's money?

    AAPC: Back to School
    Just enough history: I am 57yo and have been working in offices for nearly 25 years (not medical). Recently unemployed due to employer going out of business because of the economy. I'm VERY detailed oriented and diligent and enjoy working with accounts payable and receivable. I thought I would do well in the medical accounting industry, so I am enrolled in med. terminology and basic coding. I planned to take advanced coding & anatomy next semester. My grown son is paying for my classes/textbooks (yes, he is a gem).

    Now I'm panicking! Am I even going to be employable with the cpc certificate? I had no idea about the -A indication before reading through some forum threads. I've been working VERY hard at the classes and thought I was working toward something good. But now I'm wondering if it is going to get me anywhere!

    I would appreciate your comments and advice. I'm just a hard-working 99% who is trying to get employed again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007



    Age is not a criteria. If you are a hard worker & love to do coding definately you will find a job . Do not give up.

    Good luck .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Go ahead and complete your classes and take the test. BUT take any job you can get in the medical field to get started. As one who hires coders I would not hire someone with no medical experience. The medical industry is like no other.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Salt Lake City


    Keep going, you will be amazed how fast time flys by, I started as a receptionist and now I have had my CPC for almost ten years.
    Jenifer McPolin CPC, CPMA, RCC

  5. #5


    Thank you all for your thoughts! I went into this expecting to work hard to learn, basically, a new industry, and am ready to take any job I can to start getting experience in the medical field. I've even thought about doing some volunteer work at the local hospital. So it's encouraging that your responses seem to be a validation that I _am_ going the right direction. And it's nice to know my age is not a deal breaker! You see, I had read the thread about the changes in AAPC testing and there seemed to be so many negative observations on the value of the CPC certificate and the over-glut of the market with Newby Coders, that I got some scary feelings of having been "scammed." You know the feeling -- 'OMG! Did I not look before I leaped?' I am taking my courses from an accredited local community college. I actually enjoy the coding and love learning all the new medical terms, procedures, science behind the body, and everything else. So I have nothing to worry about. Right?

  6. #6


    Like Kwylie said, go through all the work and pass the test and then accept ANY job in the medical field. I started as a medical receptionist and ended up running the office as well as doing all of their billing and coding for four years. Now, I'm back in school getting my Bachelor's in Health Administration. Turns out I like running the office better than coding...lol...I questioned getting the CPC years ago, but now I'm really glad I did. The A stands for apprentice and is only there until you have a little bit of experience. That's not something to worry about right now. Just focus on doing your work and learning as much as you can. Good Luck!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Milwaukee WI

    Default Start job hunting now

    You are approaching this the right way. You also have many years of valuable general office experience. In your shoes, I'd start looking for a receptionist or filing position in a physician's office now.

    Sell the skills / qualities you have perfected in your years of office work to a new setting. For example ... You will have the maturity and work ethic that many practices cannot do without. You will understand and be sensitive to the privacy issues of patients, the worries of a parent for his or her child, etc. You can handle multiple phone lines ringing, and an anxious walk-in at the same time without getting flustered.

    It may be more difficult to work and go to school at the same time, but if you have a job in the medical field - even an entry level office position - you will be at an advantage when you complete your training and are ready for the CPT test.

    And, Yes, you son is a gem. He obviously had a great mother!

    Hope that helps.

    F Tessa Bartels, CPC, CEMC

  8. #8

    Default Keep on going

    I was a CPC-A before I actually graduated from my program in December and now I have been trying to find a job. I really love coding and one day I want to be able to take the auditor test.

    I graduated from the program with my friend who is 60 and she actually got a job in NE before I did. Age is nothing. I encourage all of my friends to go back to school and pursue their dreams. Besides, the more skills you acquire, the more marketable that makes you.

    When you are a hard worker, you can do anything you set your mind to.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Oklahoma City


    I say if it's what you really want to do, go for it. I didn't think I would find a job either, it took me 6 months. But I got really lucky and ended up getting an entry-level Radiology coding job. Now I help with the cancer registry and am getting ready to start helping out with Pain/GI coding. I can't say enough that networking is very important, put yourself out there as much as you can. Always keep in touch with professors because most of the time they are also working in the industry and know tons of people. Good luck!
    Jenny,CPC, COC
    Remote Coder

  10. #10

    Default Wasted time and money

    I'm 49 and have over 15 yrs office administration experience,(not medical). I completed the Health Info Tech program with honors, passed the CPC on first attempt. I couldn't get an interview. So, I went back to the local community college and completed my associates degree with honors. Still, I can't get an interview, even for file clerk, receptionist, entry level positions. I'm now faced with continuing CEU's, cost of new code books, ICD-10 training, etc. All positions want at least 2 yrs experience in the medical field, even for a receptionist. I've completely wasted time and money, both of which I don't have.

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