A great way to gain experience in medical coding is through an internship. It can also be referred as an “externship.”
Some college certificate and degree programs will have this included as a “practicum” course. A student will work off-site at an approved clinic or hospital, completing assigned tasks in a medical records environment. The course can between eight to sixteen weeks depending on your college’s course curriculum. Once completed a student will traditionally prepare for a certification exam.
But, what should you do if an internship program: (1) is not offered or (2) you have obtained a credential and have no experience. Well, the answer is volunteering.
Volunteering with a hospital or clinic can get you in the position of obtaining a medical coding job. Take a visit to an area clinic or hospital. Make an appointment to speak with the Coding Supervisor and explain why you would be a good fit to work as a volunteer in medical records department. Remember to make a positive impression and dress in a professional manner. Bring a resume and your AAPC or AHIMA certificate. If you are still in school, bring a copy of an official transcript to show your medical coding courses. Also be prepared to take a test if required.
Once offered a position, make sure to treat it just like a regular job.
* Be on time
* Be professional
* Don’t abuse your break time
* Show reliability
Also make sure your volunteer time is beneficial to your goal of getting a job in medical coding.
* It offers multitasking
* Allows you to work with different team members and gain training
* You are able to code a few charts
This is a great way to gain employment.