A familiar story that we hear all too often is that individuals take a three day Boot camp that teaches them how to pass the medical coding exams successfully. Only to find out they can’t land the job. You have probably seen them on social media complaining (and I understand their frustration). When the truth is, most companies that hire medical coders require a pre-hire test. This test measures a coder’s coding skill, and often this exam will expose whether or not a coder knows how to code correctly. The inability to code correctly is the primary reason why medical coders are unable to find employment. Keep reading and I will offer suggestions on how to avoid this pitfall.
In many cases, the individual has paid thousands of non-refundable dollars for the tricks, bells, and whistles that show them how to get a passing score on the CPC exam. Yes, they received what they paid for at the end of the day, but passing the exam is only the beginning of a medical coding field career. After certification and the pre-hire exam, coders will be tested throughout their coding careers and must maintain high-quality standards to keep their jobs.
Imagine it like learning to ride a bike with someone holding the bike up. If no one holds the bike, unless you are lucky, you are bound to fall. Working in the medical coding field has no room for shortcuts. To be successful at Medical Coding, one must be steep in understanding the guidelines associated with medical coding and the ability to transform medical documentation from words into codes; unfortunately, it will take more than three days to master this skill set.
Like the elders always said, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. Think about it, is it a realistic expectation to believe that you can learn the medical coding technique over a weekend? If you say yes, think again. Medical coders must know medical terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, ICD-10-CM and CPT guidelines in three days? According to AAPC, this all mentioned are required to become a medical coder. In fact AAPC conducts a free webinar on medical coding conducted by their exam content and clinical development manager Rae Jimeniz. All are welcome to sign up for this free event discussing:
- Role of a medical coder
- Skills required
- Job market for coders
- Steps for training and certification
When considering a career in Medical Coding, you must do your research. Seek out a school or course affiliated with AAPC for the CPC exam and AHIMA for the CCS exam. These courses and schools have the tools to prepare individuals to successfully pass the exams and prepare students to excel in the workforce. Another thing to note is that when seeking out a medical coding program, make sure that your instructor has the certification they are preparing you to earn. Several of the courses and schools have instructors not qualified to teach. When you attend a weekend-long boot camp or learn a method that is not AAPC or AHIMA approved, you will likely end up a statistic—figuring out why you cannot find a medical coding job.