[ Edtitor's note: This interview was lightly edited for grammar and flow. ]
My name is Oksana Gutova. I live in Buffalo Grove IL. I was born in Russia, but have lived in the USA for the last 10 years. I like it here better. One of the reasons is that you can choose who you want to be in life. In America the doors are open for everyone. I began to study medical coding in 2007. Six months later, I got a Medical Coding and Billing certificate and a Phlebotomy certificate.
Why were you interested in medical coding training?
I’m interested in Medical Coding because I work as a doctor’s assistant in medical offices and need some certifications. Also, I like working in medical/administrative field.
How did you choose the medical coding program you attended?
I visited three schools before I finally choose the Midland School of Medical Coding and Phlebotomy. They have reasonable prices, they are very close to my home and I love the owner who is teacher as well. Very fun and nice and they work with your schedule and your needs.
What did you like about the program?
I like all aspects of a program: like learning how the insurance system works. I like that our teachers give us the practical work every lesson in a real medical office.
What did you not like about the program?
Sometimes, thinking about all of the numbers and codes gets boring. It’s all very practical and the same every time. This isn’t creative work. The program was very fast. I would like to have more time to study some things.
What types of jobs did you and your fellow classmates get after completing the training?
I got job right away in medical office with 6 doctors and 4 practitioners. Two of my classmates got jobs in hospital phlebotomy department. One is working in private medical coding firm as an insurance verifier.
What was the total cost for your medical coding program?
I paid $2000 total for my classes. They let me pay monthly.
How did you pay for your medical coding program?
I worked while I was in school and paid for it monthly. I didn’t need to buy any books, so I saved money there. Our teachers give us good handouts, etc.
What advice would you give to students regarding paying for their medical coding training?
My advice is – it’s worth it. It’ll pay off in couple of months. It’s not expensive compared to other courses of study and I got a job quickly. Regarding the salaries my classmates are earning: The low is $12/h and I know one of my classmates working for $17/h right after school now (Chicago area).
What things should a student look for when choosing a medical coding program?
Please go and talk first with current student and teachers. Do your research! Ask them questions like: does the school help you financially? Does the school operate real medical practices? And does the school help you with job placements?