Thanks to those of you who reached out to me last week with questions! Both questions were basically the same thing: How can a new coder break into the field? What do we have to do?
There is no easy answer to that. Many times you have to start out in a non-coding position and work your way into a coding position. I know that’s not what most people want to hear, that just seems to be the reality for most. There definitely can be exceptions though, so please don’t be too down about that! There are jobs that you can do that can potentially lead to a coding job.
Here was my response to one of the emails from last week:
Thanks for reaching out! Well, it’s tough for sure. The coding world took a big hit with this whole covid thing, so I think in general there are just a lot more coders looking for work than there was before, which only complicates things. I’m not sure what your background is, but if you’re completely new to the field, I would say a good place to start is billing. You’d still be using codes to work denials and you’d still be reading reports, using EHR’s etc.
Another place to start would be doing the precertifcations. Depending on how the office is set up, this might be the front desk person doing this, maybe not. If you started as the front desk person, that would be ok too, but I’m not sure what the pay would be for that position.
Another place to look would be insurance companies. They hire coders and usually offer pretty good benefits, but I don’t have any personal experience working for an insurance company…so I’m not sure what the job would be like.
Another thing to think about is the kind of places you’re applying to. A good place to start would be local doctor offices that have coders onsite. It depends where you live, but I think those kinds of places would be the most likely to hire someone new. If you’re applying to coding companies that hire all remote coders–those are the hardest jobs to get even for an experienced coder. They usually want someone who meets real specific requirements, so that makes them really hard to get.
The last thing that I think is pretty important is networking. It’s a little weird now with covid, but there usually are monthly AAPC chapter meetings. If you can go to these, you’d meet other coders who may be able to help you. There’s also usually emails sent to chapter members, and there could be one with job listings. You can also network online through different coding facebook groups. Just being part of discussions and reading about the different jobs out there could help.
Are you a new coder looking for a job? Have any other advice to add? Please respond in the comments below.
Also, if you’re new to reading the blog, just an fyi–you can always send coding related questions to me either through the comment section on a post or you can email me (Lindsay) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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