Graduate Advice | Medical Coding & Billing | Practice, Practice, Practice

Coding and Billing5 Comments

To many, being enrolled in an online program means that you’re alone in your coursework—it’s just you and your computer; there isn’t a teacher, and there aren’t classmates. However, with Career Step, that’s not the case! You may be online, but you are certainly not alone. Instead of one teacher trying to teach a large group, you have multiple instructors only a phone call or email available for one-on-one support via phone and email. Instead of having to get dressed, drive to school and sit in a classroom during set hours, you have the flexibility of studying in your pajamas at any hour, taking breaks, and moving at your own pace. Instead of a classroom of 25 people all at the same skill-level trying to learn the same concepts, you have access to almost 25,000 current and past students and graduates via use of the Career Step forums and chat rooms.

With students nationwide, you can find students working through the same part of the program as you are, students who are behind you that you can encourage, and students ahead of you that can give you advice. Using the online resources (like this blog!) even allows you to hear from graduates that have already finished. Below are two recent coding graduates who wanted to share their advice:

As a graduate from the Career Step Inpatient and Outpatient Coding and Billing Program and newly Certified Professional Coder, I would like to tell current students to not get discouraged while learning.  This is a very hard program, but a good one!  There were many times I found myself frustrated and wondering if I would ever really fully grasp what I was learning.  Fortunately, due to the number and varying levels of difficulty of reports/records I coded throughout the practicum, it finally came together.  Practice, practice, practice and constantly go over Instructions and Conventions of the Classifications and Guidelines. That’s the advice I received from many veteran coders and want to pass on to you.  Best wishes to all of you in your endeavors…..you can do it!!
-  Jaime Weinand (Omaha, NE)

Upon graduation with honors from the course, I joined the AAPC and plan on my CPC-A certification in August. To future students, I’d recommend that you become very familiar with every aspect of your books and the course. The course provides helpful tips and resources throughout, so go back and re-read to make sure you understand. Use all the resources provided. (The internet is a wealth of helpful information). Take time to sit down and look through the books for helpful tips. Tab/Mark/Highlight (but don’t highlight too much, it gets confusing) sections for quick and easy reference. Know the rules and guidelines at the beginning of each section; they are a must on the certification exams. Be sure to time yourself on several “mock exams,” as it’s crucial for certification. Good luck and Welcome to the Career Step family! Happy Coding smile
- Janine West (Roxboro, NC)

Thanks Janine and Jaime! Congratulations on your graduation and success in this field! Continued best to all those that are still on their way! If you haven’t recently, get in touch with your instructors, log into the forums, participate in the chats, or check out the Career Step Facebook page. Use the resources available and connect to the individuals available to help you! There are a lot of us, and we love to hear from you.


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  1. Antonia September 02, 2013

    Right now I disagree.  I don’t think anything can replace a teacher at the front of a classroom, giving lecture, directing you where to go and how things work and answering questions when I have them.  Even taking quizzes and tests in the class feels better.  This is frustrating and seems endless. I still have questions about the use of V codes and E codes and I’m still getting things wrong.  If I had known it would be this frustrating I don’t think I would have chosen this, or I might have looked closer into programs in community colleges that were somewhat close to me and I could commute to.

  2. Cari September 05, 2013

    Hi Antonia. I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling frustrated with your coding program. Online education is a growing phenomenon that attracts many students due to its flexibility and ease of access. While some student still find that they prefer a traditional classroom setting sometimes it just takes used to getting the hang of something different and feeling comfortable with this format and then students get in the groove. At Career Step we offer students many tools to get assistance with concepts they are finding difficult (ie E/V codes). We have a team of coding instructors that you can contact via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by phone at 1-888-657-5752. If you have not reached out to the coding team for help I encourage you to do so as they can guide you through all of your coding questions. Additionally, you have the “email this page” feature in the tools section on the left side of the pages in your course. This allows you to send an email to coding support (be sure to select Support Services) that will have the page you are emailing from attached. This is a great way to get clarification when you have questions about answer keys. The last thing I wanted to mention is that you are not alone in finding the assignment of E/V codes or even some other coding concept difficult. Coding is a skill that takes time and practice to master. It is a vast knowledge area that is ever changing. I’ve been a coder for 10 yrs and I still learn new things all the time. The point is, there is no such thing as a perfect coder who knows everything. We just keep getting better as we go and we learn from our mistakes. I hope that if you still have concerns and/or need assistance that you will reach out to the coding support team. Thanks and have a great day!

  3. Pam January 28, 2014

    Is coding a work from home position? Thanks.

  4. Career Step February 03, 2014

    Hi Pam,

    There are many more medical transcriptionists who work from home than medical coders. However, with that being said, there definitely are at-home positions available for coders, especially once you have a few years of experience under your belt.

    Best wishes!

  5. stephanie berger February 25, 2014

    Antonia, I feel your pain!!!  I have about 1 month left of this program & feel so frustrated at my lack of knowledge when I’m coding these charts…just hoping it all comes together eventually & my little light bulb clicks on!!!

    Pam, I have a few friends that work for Consulting Companies, they both work from their house.  They are saying that Coders are in such high demand, they are allowing new Coders to work from home!!!  That is why I began this program nearly one year ago!!


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