You did it! You took the courses, passed the exam and are the proud owner of a shiny new medical coding certificate. Now what? Here comes the fun part – it’s time to look for a job!
Where would you most prefer to work? Your options are limited to some degree by the type of experience you have and the certification you have, but you still have choices. Would you like to work in a nursing home, a hospital, or a physician’s office? That decision may also be affected by lifestyle choices you prefer.
If you would rather work part-time, or a very late shift, a large hospital is your best bet, because they often have medical coders working around the clock. Physician offices tend to have more regular schedules.
Close to Home
If there is a particular health care system or practice you are interested in working for, make a contact. Talk to someone in human resources and see if they are hiring, or when they plan to do so again. If nothing is available, make a note and call back or visit in a few months. Ask if you can leave your resume in case a position opens up. That said, make sure your resume is perfect–and that it highlights any academic accomplishments and your best character traits.
Membership Has its Benefits
If you are a member of a professional medical coding association, and you should be, they are often an excellent resource for job hunting. The AACP, the American Association of Professional Coders, has an area on its web site which posts hundreds of medical coding career positions.
Likewise, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (http://www.himss.org), offers a dedicated area on its website for résumé posting, job alerts, and you can research potential employers and career development resources with résumé and interviewing advice and more.
Back to School
Depending on the school you attended for medical coding courses, there may be a career counselor who can help provide you with additional resources, interviewing assistance, resume preparation and other job hunting skills. In addition, colleges are also among the first to know about job opportunities, particularly for those with little on-the-job experience.
Online Job Searches
In recent years, more and more jobs have skipped the daily newspaper and gone straight online. There are literally dozens of sites you can check to look for medical coding positions.
Here are a few listing that will take you to major job-hunting listings:
Specialized Online Searches
Some companies advertise their job openings only with websites that specialize in healthcare positions.
Here are few that regularly include medical coding positions:
Work at Home Searches
If you are interested in telecommuting or working from home, you may need to tailor your job search more carefully. Keep in mind, however, that many companies prefer to have someone on site for six months to a year or more before allowing them to work from home. However, there are a number of job search sites that cater to professionals and companies looking for telecommuting options.
Some sites to consider include:
Another great way to build your own business is to work on a freelance basis. You can find work on secure sites like elance.com, where payments are verified prior to starting a job and working on your own schedule is always an option. Keep in mind though, that having a steady stream of work isn’t guaranteed and you could be taking a risk.
Rachel Ballard, RNC, BSN is a registered nurse with almost a decade of clinical experience in both acute care and public health settings.