Mandated requirements for implementing electronic health records (EHRs) and the transition to ICD-10-CM diagnosis coding – plus a large population of aging baby boomers – will keep medical coders and auditors necessary commodities for years to come. Knowing this, however, doesn’t necessarily make a new Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice (CPC-A®) feel any better when he or she is looking for a medical coding job.
Set Yourself Apart from the Competition
In AAPC forums and social media pages, I’ve noticed messages from those who are struggling to find work. In a distressed economy, finding your dream job may be more difficult, but it isn’t impossible. As an instructor for an online school, I have advice for CPC-As who are trying to land their first coding job:
Positive Attitude Counts. Attitude is the single most important factor in getting anything in life you desire. Always stay positive and expect to be successful. Do things to assist you in keeping your motivation up—read Coding Edge or attend webinars. Stay excited about the career you have chosen and diligently trained for. Don’t give up.
Be Flexible. Being willing to intern for 30-60 days to show your skills to a prospective employer is an excellent way to get experience and land a great job. Plus, willingness to take any administrative job in a medical office, clinic, or hospital is a smart way to move up the ladder. Many people have moved very quickly into coding jobs going this route.
Use Marketing to Your Advantage. Be able to market yourself effectively. A great resume and a professional appearance help to sell the idea to the interviewer that you ARE the right person for the job.
Develop a Strong Approach/Strategy. Know your job search strategy and stick to it. Use AAPC’s online job search. Attend local chapter meetings and events to network with others in your area. Participate in AAPC forums and social media pages. Read your local newspaper’s Help Wanted section. Call and send resumes to local clinics, hospitals, and doctors’ offices. Be proactive because a passive approach to job searching won’t get you anywhere in any career field.
Take Advantage of the Wait. While searching for a job, continue your education and add to your existing skill set. The more credentials and training you have, the more attractive you will be to prospective employers. Preparing for the ICD-10 proficiency also is a wonderful idea.
If you are a CPC®, consider getting the Certified Professional Coder – Hospital Outpatient (CPC-H®) or a specialty credential. Obtaining the new Certified Physician Practice Manager (CPPM®) or the Certified Professional Medical Auditor (CPMA®) certifications through AAPC is an excellent way to power up your resume and skill set. If you are trained in coding, why not learn billing, too? Continuing to add to your skill set will also keep you motivated and positive.
With an effective approach to your job hunt, plus maintaining a positive attitude throughout the process, you’re sure to have employment success.