Medical Coding - Online Schools like Allied?

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eel in Buffalo, New York

72 months ago

Nicole in Dublin, California said: Hi 2Sexy,

I do have a four year degree from a state university, in a totally unrelated field though. However it looks like if I wanted to get an Associates degree, it would require alot of the general ed classes that I probably already have. So that's one reason I too am just looking at a certificate for now..

I talked to an admissions rep at Heald who told me I would be able to take alot less classes in their program due to my 4 year degree.

Right now I'm trying to decide between the online certificate program through the continuing ed program at my former college (Cal State East Bay), Heald College (but $$$ and is not online), or Allied.

What course at Allied are you taking? Are you taking the Medical Coding program? Or the Medical Administrative Assistant course?

I currently have a bachelors in healthcare administration, and a mba. i am also a CPC and CMRS. I have recently decided that I wanted to sit for the RHIT examination and therefore had to enroll in an Associate's program in Health Information Technology. Given my previous educational background, a program that is designed to run for 2 years will take me less than a year because i have all of my geneds completed.
Also, each degree, whether it be associates or masters provides a skill set to an individual. i currently hold a MBA and am not ashamed to go back to school to get an associates, nor do i think it is worthless.... so holding a bachelors degree shouldnt make anyone feel the same way... in fact when i am done with my associates degree in HIT i will be moving forward with a bachelors in the same field.
not to mitigate certification programs, but honestly they are a dime a dozen. if you are going to pay the money (often times they are not cheap) you might as well walk out of the deal with an education AND a credential. the way the coding world is these days, a RHIT is almost a requirement to keep current with the job market.

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Susi in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

70 months ago

Ann in North Pole, Alaska said: I am working towards an associates degree in health info mngmnt from an accredited school located through AHIMA. After I complete the degree, I would like to sit for the CCS exam. One of my instructors, who is also over med recs at a local hospital, said that I still needed 3 years experience in the field before I take the exam. Has anyone ever taken the exam without the experience?

I went to a local business/tech school in PA and we sat for our CCS exam on the last day of class. I have a diploma in billing and Coding and a associates in Medical Office Admin.,but at this time I am certified under the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR HELTH PROFESSIONALS. I have not been able to find a job as a coder since every job wants AHIMA or 2 years experience. Bummer. Any Ideas?

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student in Fairborn, Ohio

70 months ago

Susi in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: I went to a local business/tech school in PA and we sat for our CCS exam on the last day of class. I have a diploma in billing and Coding and a associates in Medical Office Admin.,but at this time I am certified under the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR HELTH PROFESSIONALS. I have not been able to find a job as a coder since every job wants AHIMA or 2 years experience. Bummer. Any Ideas?

Would you be willing to retake the certification through AHIMA? Call up the HIM department at your local hopsital and ask if you can volunteer. Tell them about your schooling/credentials and tell them you need experience. You could try getting a job at the hosptial,really any job, they usually promote from within. If you know any nurses or doctors ask if they know anyone that needs a coder.

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glitrgrammi in Stockton, California

70 months ago

In response to the woman who took offense to "coders". For having a "degree" in medical management, I would think you would know how to spell better that you do. Just an observation.

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Jay in Austin, Texas

70 months ago

I'm investigating medical coding as a profession and I've been googling nonstop all weekend. I've gone from starry-eyed newbie (Take an online course, pass a test, and have your choice of $45K jobs!) through alphabet confusion (You say AHIMA; I say AAPC. You say RHIT; I say CPC-A. Let's call the whole thing off.) to utter despair (It's all a big scam leading to the Catch 22 of no job without experience but no way to get experience without a job.).

I was about to give the whole thing up as a bad deal when I stumbled across the extern program at AAPC (which was also briefly mentioned much earlier in this thread):

www.aapc.com/education/medical-coding-experience-externship.aspx

I had eliminated AAPC from consideration because I'm more interested in working in a hospital (the bigger the better) than a physician's office - I figure there would be more opportunities for advancement and better pay. But if a CPC-A with an externship is a way to get actual experience leading to an actual J-O-B, I'm prepared to go that direction. I figure after a couple of years of work experience, I could go for the AHIMA credentials and the hospital job.

What do y'all think about this assessment? And specifically:

1. Does anyone have personal knowledge of or experience with AAPC's extern program? It's only been in existence for a couple of years and I wonder if the bugs have been worked out.

2. Does inpatient coding experience count as valid experience toward attaining the CCS credential, or does it have to be hospital-based experience?

Thanks (this is a great thread!)

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Chel in Sacramento

70 months ago

This field is a JOKE!! AAPC is not recognized by hospitals, only AHIMA. It does not matter anyways because when you get out of school and take the exam you are considered an apprentice not fully certified. You have to have at least 2 years experience behind your belt to have the CCA behind your name. You can't get a job without experience and even if you go to an accredited school they still won't talk to you. They want someone with at least 2 years "work"experience and with that behind your belt you are lucky to get paid $11.00. How can you get experience when they won't hire you? I have graduated with honors from my school and I sit here still unemployed. I will be going back to school in the fall at a local JC to start ANOTHER career and hopefully I will have better luck on the healthcare side of things.

Good luck to all of you. :)

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student in Fairborn, Ohio

70 months ago

Jay in Austin, Texas said:

What do y'all think about this assessment? And specifically:

1. Does anyone have personal knowledge of or experience with AAPC's extern program? It's only been in existence for a couple of years and I wonder if the bugs have been worked out.

2. Does inpatient coding experience count as valid experience toward attaining the CCS credential, or does it have to be hospital-based experience?

Thanks (this is a great thread!)

To work in a hospital you need an RHIT (2 year degree) or pass the CCS which is a very hard test, about a 65% pass rate. The CCS is open to anyone but AHIMA recommends taking it after having about 3 years experience.

This is a tough field to break into but it can be done. If your really serious, ask to volunteer in the HIM department while your in school. Also take ANY job in the hospital while your in school. Hospitals promote from within first. If any jobs are avaiable the hospital goes around to people who already have jobs and ask if they want to apply for the opening jobs, if no one does THEN the hospital lists the jobs out to the general public. If you do this while in school then by the time your done you should have the expereince or at least some contacts and references. Plus if you already have a job, then get your credentials, you'd have a better shot at being promoted to an RHIT or CCS level position.

Most schools, CAHIM approved schools at least, have required clincials in hospitals. You go there and code and do other things specific to an RHIT's job, its a great way to make contacts and network.

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vrsecond in Orlando, Florida

69 months ago

Reese in Lebanon, Ohio said: Help, please!
I am 40 years old and I do not have a college degree or any medical experience. I am being eliminated from my present position after 11 years in the data entry field and would like to change direction.
I am considering taking the AHIMA coding program online.
I guess I would like a totally honest answer as to whether at my age and without a medical background, if after taking this course it's likely that I would find employment in the coding field?
I can't afford to waste time or money, so I would really appreciate brutal honesty!
Thank You!

I went back to school as well also forty-ish be prepared all jobs will say must have 1-2 years experience, it's a catch 22 how do you get experience if nobody will give you a job, start looking at a different job, such as medical records, receptionst, wtc. to get your "foot in the door" at leastt that is what I'm trying to do.
Good luck and yes age will be a factor no matter what anyone says.

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Chel in Sacramento

69 months ago

DO NOT do medical billing and coding at a school or online UNLESS you have experience. You will not find a job after school because they want someone with 2-5 years experience. It is a catch 22. I have been out of school since April and I even tried to get a job during school doing whatever in the the billing office just to get feet wet but noone would hire me. So I have wasted $12,000, a year of schooling and I am now going back to school for something totally different.

Good luck! :)

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glitrgrammi in Stockton, California

69 months ago

Chel,

Thank you for your response to the coding job. I quickly figured that out and decided not to do it. I have been a medical transcriptionist for 24 years, and had the same exact problem getting into this line of work back then. I partly decided not to do coding because of the level of education... too much for this grandma to learn at this time in my life. If the money was better (not anymore than I make now), then I might have considered it. I am considering Pharm Tech training though, just for a change of pace.

Thanks and good luck to you!

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Chel in Sacramento

69 months ago

No problem. :) Yeah, that's why I am going back to school to become a COTA (certifired occupational therapist assistant). The jobs are out there, they take new grads, you can take travel assignments, and the pay is min $20-30hr to start. It will take 2 years but in the long run it will be totally worth it. Hopefully one day I can put my billing and coding skills to work. Until then, time to move it along.

I considered the pharm tech program also but where I am at there are so many schools offering the program and that means 100's of people graduating at the same time looking for the same job. The market is impacted and so I had to look for something that was not so "popular".

Good luck to you in whatever you end up doing and remember you are NEVER too old to learn something new!

You go Grandma!! WOo Hoo! :)

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glitrgrammi in Stockton, California

69 months ago

Oh, thanks ;-) My true passion is interior design. I took a year-long at-home course and loved it. I got straight A's. But... with the economy the way it is, that is probably not going to happen. It's okay, I don't regret taking the course at all. My daughter lives in Sacramento. There are lots of jobs out there if you really want one. Occupational therapy sounds like a great career. I type for a Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Hospital and they are always busy. That's really smart to pick something that is not as "popular". I wish you all the luck in whatever you do.

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meems18 in Mchenry, Illinois

68 months ago

I need some feedback. I am beginning training for a medical coder/transcriptionist. I am interested in a 2 year degree, however, I am working with the Workforce Development office and they are having me look into Computer Systems Institute. Before I get too far, I am wondering if the 2 year degree would be better or CSI ok? I started the 2 yr Health info Tech degree at a community college. But, after speaking with CSI rep, I am confused again. They tell me I can get certified, they will help me get AHIMA certification and place me in a job. What should I do? CSI is accredited, but will not except credits from community college. Should I be leary?

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glitrgrammi in Stockton, California

68 months ago

Meems18:

First, I should tell you that I have been a medical transcriptionist for 25 years. There is NO program out there that will prepare you for it. You can take some classes, i.e. medical terminology, anatomy & physiology, etc., but it truly is a one-on-one learning experience. I am still learning to this day... 25 years later. Coding and transcription are NOTHING alike. True, you have to know the terms and anatomy of the body to do coding, but they are not alike at all. If I were you, in this economy, I would definitely do coding. From what I have found, some schools offer a "certificate" that will prepare you to take the state test. And, at some schools you will actually get an AA degree. The AA costs more of course. It's really up to you as to how much time and money you want to spend. If it were me, I would go for the AA degree; it will take you farther in life. Before you commit, check out the BBB website for the school you are looking into. Good luck to you ;-)

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glitrgrammi in Stockton, California

68 months ago

glitrgrammi in Stockton, California said: Meems18:

First, I should tell you that I have been a medical transcriptionist for 25 years. There is NO program out there that will prepare you for it. You can take some classes, i.e. medical terminology, anatomy & physiology, etc., but it truly is a one-on-one learning experience. I am still learning to this day... 25 years later. Coding and transcription are NOTHING alike. True, you have to know the terms and anatomy of the body to do coding, but they are not alike at all. If I were you, in this economy, I would definitely do coding. From what I have found, some schools offer a "certificate" that will prepare you to take the state test. And, at some schools you will actually get an AA degree. The AA costs more of course. It's really up to you as to how much time and money you want to spend. If it were me, I would go for the AA degree; it will take you farther in life. Before you commit, check out the BBB website for the school you are looking into. Good luck to you ;-)

One more thing, if CSI will not accept credits for college, I would steer away from them. If you have a San Joaquin Valley College around you, they are excellent!!

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Sarah cahill in new york, New York

68 months ago

I took allied's medical coding course back in 2008. My overall rating for allied school is actually 5 out of 5 because the fact I receive a free laptop was fantastic and their guarantee program, "pass or don't pay" was absolutely amazing. Furthermore, the student support was so helpful until finding a job. I passed my certficiation exam 14 months after enrolled the course. I highly recommend allied school, you won't regret your choice.

www.medicalcodingcourses.com/

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Sarah cahill in new york, New York

68 months ago

Chel in Sacramento said: DO NOT do medical billing and coding at a school or online UNLESS you have experience. You will not find a job after school because they want someone with 2-5 years experience. It is a catch 22. I have been out of school since April and I even tried to get a job during school doing whatever in the the billing office just to get feet wet but noone would hire me. So I have wasted $12,000, a year of schooling and I am now going back to school for something totally different.

Good luck! :)

Yes, technically you are correct unless they offer lifetime career assistance, www.medicalcodingcourses.com/lifetime-career-assistance.asp

This is why I highly recommend allied school other than any other online school, which normally doesn't care about your career once you paid for the tuition.

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CKV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

68 months ago

Sarah cahill in new york, New York ------

I am currently taking the medical coding class online with Allied Medical School. I was just wondering....How did you prepare for your exam? Plus how long did it take you to finish all the books? I started last year in May and I'm bearly finishing up my first book. I don't know how anyone can just finish all the books in less than 6 month or even a year. How did you do it? How did you manage it? Also, are you currently working too while taking this program? Did you also have prior experience with medical terminology or any health related field? Please let me know. It would really help.
Thanks.

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glitrgrammi in Stockton, California

68 months ago

SJVC (San Joaquin Valley College) helps with job placement, and you have a month of externship, which no other school I found offered. I highly recommend them. You will get an AS (Associates of Science) degree when your done. It's not cheap though. $26,000. If I was younger (I'm 59) I would definitely do it.

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meems18 in Mchenry, Illinois

68 months ago

glitrgrammi in Stockton, California said: One more thing, if CSI will not accept credits for college, I would steer away from them. If you have a San Joaquin Valley College around you, they are excellent!!

Thank you so much for the info. I started an Associates already. I did think it was strange that the credits would not be transferrable.

One more thing, do you know the difference of certification RHIT versus CCS?

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glitrgrammi in Stockton, California

68 months ago

This website should have all the information you need. Sounds like you made a good decision. Much luck to you ;-)

www.ahima.org/certification/faqs.rh.asp

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deanthony in Houston, Texas

66 months ago

hey does anyone know about the NHA CBCS i hear that they are really good for outpatient coding and billing mainly at doctors offices because they hire MA and the NHA is really well known in that field and ect but i also like them because i get two billing and coding and plus my diploma from school says billing and coding so it would only be right to get both and plus i only want to work at doctors offices work for a hospital at an outsourcing company and WOOOOOOOOOOW man them accounts are out of this world but for anyone who is trying keep on keep keeping on because it took me four months before i found my second job got hired from my externship but then again it could have just been the time i was looking may be why it took so long (holidays) so ya know everyone was on vacation but try at those types of places some times it even gives you more money then the actual hospital

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joyce davis in Winsted, Connecticut

61 months ago

Melony T. in West Hills, California said: David,
Not trying to be stuck up or anything, but I would be hesitant to pay for a course when the adress has "personalized" misspelled.

you kispelle adress (address...) just kidding you...you left yourself wide open - or did you purposely do that.? lol

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Georgia Girl in Tucker, Georgia

61 months ago

Sarah cahill in new york, New York said: I took allied's medical coding course back in 2008. My overall rating for allied school is actually 5 out of 5 because the fact I receive a free laptop was fantastic and their guarantee program, "pass or don't pay" was absolutely amazing. Furthermore, the student support was so helpful until finding a job. I passed my certficiation exam 14 months after enrolled the course. I highly recommend allied school, you won't regret your choice.

www.medicalcodingcourses.com/

I'm currently in Chattahoochee Tech, my major is medical coding and billing but it will take me a year going full time and I must say I need to get a job like now...so I won't be able to go full time, making that course almost 2 years as a part time student. What can you tell me about Allied's online school and how was it for you and have you been able to get a job/ how did your employer look at your online education? You took Allied medical coding and billing in 2008? I have heard so many bad things about online schools, I just don't have a year plus to spend in a campus college. I want to make sure that an online school will give you the same as a campus college.

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mam in Circleville, Ohio

57 months ago

I'm trying to find the website to get BACK to Allied Schools for the Coding Program. Can someone shout it out for me? I've got all kinds of goofy places.

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BurntOutRN in Miami, Florida

57 months ago

Lynn in Cape Coral, Florida said: I took the AHIMA on-line course and am eligible to take their certification exams. You do not have to have an Associates degree to take their exams but there are requirements. Go to their website and check on the list of acceptable courses. AHIMA's on-line "self-study" course was difficult even though I have a surg-tech background. I have a CPC from the AAPC since that is what my employer preferred and am considering taking the AHIMA exam as well. Both will give an "apprentice" designation unless and/or until you meet the requirements for full credentials. I believe the AHIMA organization requires you to take an additional exam (I may be wrong on this) to go from CCA to CCS. The AAPC requires proof of experience etc. to get the "A" removed with no further exams.
And if you DO decide to go the route of a self-study course remember, you need to be extremely self-disciplined and independent.
Vo-tech schools and local colleges give evening courses so don't rule them out but be sure to check AHIMA and/or AAPC websites to be certain the school you want is on the approved list for taking the exam later or you will be wasting your time and money.
Hope this helps. And good luck.

I am a registered nurse that is considering AHIMA's online coding course. Since you have taken it, can you provide details on what the program is like? Are there a lot of assignments and tests? Are there papers to write? Projects to do?

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BurntOutRN in Miami, Florida

57 months ago

Lois Byrd in Rocklin, California said: If your considering Medical Coding and looking into working in a hospital. I would go through Ahima. You can do that on line at your own pace. But, I have heard a lot of [people going through Allied. If you go through Ahima I have the books if you want them.

I am a registered nurse that is considering AHIMA's online coding course. Since you have taken it, can you provide details on what the program is like? Are there a lot of assignments and tests? Are there papers to write? Projects to do?

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Rachael in ohio

41 months ago

Hi everyone :) im a stay at home mom and have decided that i want to do an online program for medical coding and billing...i have no college experience but i did graduate high school. i have been thinking about strauzenberger college's online program for medical coding and billing... has anyone done that program??? the program would take like 15 months and you do an externship...any suggestions would be appreciated :) Also what is the best kind of laptop to get for online schooling???

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pjmueller in Topeka, Kansas

30 months ago

Lorraine W. in Connersville, Indiana said: Hate to disagree, but in 9 years as a coder, I have only met/worked with two (2) coders who did not complete at least a 2-year Health Information Tech program. One was a former nurse, the other a former physician. Coding is not akin to data entry , it requires education . I've audited new coders at two facilities , one 'established' coder (2 yrs experience) at another, and some of their work was downright frightful.

It is EXTREMELY rare to find a good coder--bad ones are everywhere--who never completed a program of study.

I was referred to take this program from an Orthopedic Surgeon whom happens to also be my best friend. He said Coding is a no joke job and it entails you to must be able to retain lots of information and be very mindful of what you are doing at all times. He said he will not employ anyone who does not complete Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, Coding Course as well as the total 210 Hours that it requires. This is how they get paid for most their services and errors are too many with "non educated coders." He is also a Chief of Staff at a major Hospital, so I hope that helps too. I called up the Human Resources Director and asked if I could hang around a week to see if this was really something I wanted to do as well. You might try contacting a local HR at a hospital too before taking the leap..

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