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
– 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.