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Old 07-31-2013, 08:26 PM
 
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I am 40 years old in the food and beverage industry. As I am getting older, I know I have to switch careers within 5 years or less as it makes physically harder to do my job as well as getting hired as a bartender(more so) or a waitress. Two schools in my area offer both Medical Office Assistant and Medical Coding. One is at a vocational school which is 6-11 months long and a community college which is only a 50-80 hour courses. I am trying to figure out if any of these fields are worth getting into and which education is best. The longer or the shorter ones? Would like some input. Thank-you!!!
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,840 posts, read 9,217,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxanne4238 View Post
I am 40 years old in the food and beverage industry. As I am getting older, I know I have to switch careers within 5 years or less as it makes physically harder to do my job as well as getting hired as a bartender(more so) or a waitress. Two schools in my area offer both Medical Office Assistant and Medical Coding. One is at a vocational school which is 6-11 months long and a community college which is only a 50-80 hour courses. I am trying to figure out if any of these fields are worth getting into and which education is best. The longer or the shorter ones? Would like some input. Thank-you!!!
I think you should look at some other fields before you decide because I don't think either one of these is likely to have expanded job prospects over the next 30 years. I think you are looking for a white collar job, so I would explore other fields as well. Accounting and computer technology/software support are fields you might also consider.

That said, I would definitely pick medical office assistant over medical coding. Doctors offices and hospitals will continue to need some office personnel. I'm not sure if they will need medical coders as more and more aspects of the medical field are automated.

I would run, not walk, away from the vocational school. These kinds of schools are private, for-profit schools that will charge you much more than either Hudson Valley or Schenectady County CC will, and you may not even get decent training since some are outright scams. Many of these types of schools will lure you with short training periods and promises of "financial aid" that turn out to be nothing more than loans that you are obligated to pay back whether the training was as good as advertised or not.

Furthermore, whatever "degree" you get from the vocational school may not even be recognized by employers nor the credits transferable to another degree program if you change your mind and decide to pursue something else. I know for a fact that the secretarial program offered at one time by one of the "business schools" in the Albany area was NOT recognized by NYS Civil Service because a friend who worked in state government couldn't use her secretarial "degree" from that school to qualify for a promotion that required an associate's degree despite paying thousands of $$$ to obtain it. So that's a word of warning.

What you should do, especially before you sign up for the vocational school, is talk to somebody in the admissions office of the CC you're interested in. Talk about what you're interested in and ask for assistance in choosing the right field of study because there might be other fields out there that you didn't think about yet. Find out if you'll have to take any remedial courses in English or math. Normally, an associates degree from a community college requires 60 credit hours (about 20 classes) which are spread out of 4 full-time semesters or 2 years. You could cut that time down by going to summer school or taking an extra course each semester, but students seldom do that. If you have been to college before and passed some classes, the credit for those might transfer in. That's why it's important to talk to somebody face to face at the Admissions Office.

Talk to somebody in the Financial Aid office about what kind of aid is available. There may be grants/scholarships for "non-traditional" students (ie, adults like you). If you take at least 6 credit hours at the CC, you are eligible for other financial aid besides loans, although its probably very limited as more students are seeking aid.

Going back to school after 20+ years is a big, frightening step. It's going cost you some time and money, so it's worth your while to investigate your options fully and not be stampeded into signing up for a vocational course just because "it's starting in two weeks". That same vocational course will start again in few months later, just like the community colleges will start new terms in January.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Linda_d; 08-01-2013 at 11:16 AM..
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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Only information I can provide is the other day when I had to go to the hospital for tests, the person who registered me couldn't find the correct code on the computer and had to physically look in a book. Coding will continue to be required for all procedures for insurance. From my experience when I go to the doctor's office or hospital, the person who is responsible to register me also fills out codes on the computer.
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Old 08-02-2013, 01:13 PM
 
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Hello and thank you for all the input.The medical administrative assistant course at the CC is only a certificate but says it meets the requirements for the NHA exam. The vocational school also wants $11,000!!! I did start taking dental tech courses 4 years ago which fell through due to lack of interest(I did try to find other courses elsewhere) so the program was discontinued but at I might be able to apply my dental anatomy knowledge towards working in a dental office also. I live in Duchess county
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,840 posts, read 9,217,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellwood View Post
Only information I can provide is the other day when I had to go to the hospital for tests, the person who registered me couldn't find the correct code on the computer and had to physically look in a book. Coding will continue to be required for all procedures for insurance. From my experience when I go to the doctor's office or hospital, the person who is responsible to register me also fills out codes on the computer.
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Actually, a medical coder is more of a back office position than a patient contact position: medical coder. They take the abstract (description) of the medical services/procedures and translate that into codes. That's a very specialized but fairly easy to learn skill and the kind of job that gets combined with others unless you work for a very large health care provider. It's also got limited career growth potential.

Medical coding is like being a word processor vs an administrative assistant. The admin assistant needs to know how to do word processing but he/she is required to know a lot more than that, and it's admin assistants who are much more in demand than people who are only trained as word processors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roxanne4238 View Post
Hello and thank you for all the input.The medical administrative assistant course at the CC is only a certificate but says it meets the requirements for the NHA exam. The vocational school also wants $11,000!!! I did start taking dental tech courses 4 years ago which fell through due to lack of interest(I did try to find other courses elsewhere) so the program was discontinued but at I might be able to apply my dental anatomy knowledge towards working in a dental office also. I live in Duchess county
I thought you were closer to Albany which is why I mentioned Hudson Valley and Schenectady, but you'll get much more "bang for your buck" at any of the SUNY CCs than at the private vocational schools. Here's the link to Dutchess Community College: Dutchess CC, which boasts the lowest tuition in the state BTW.
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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DCC is the one offering the shorter courses. For the medical coding, I think they teach a basic and expect that students would gain the work experience on their own for 2 years to qualify for the necessary exam. The vocational school I heard through a co-worker many years ago to stay away(kind of surprised me since they've been around a long time and have 5 campuses) from since their girlfriend went for Medical Assistant and couldn't get a job and ended up using the education she got to transfer to a RN program at a college. I would like to do the shorter courses since I am single and need to work and always had a hard time in school and needed extra time to study but like I said,I don't know if they would get me anywhere. I thought medical coding would suit me better since I am introverted and it seems to me the salaries are pretty much the same but with the Administrative,I would like to learn office skills just to be to work in varies places. So hard to decide!!!
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:45 AM
 
Location: Saratoga, NY
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One look at at any Hospital job site should be enough to take anything Linda..D says with a grain of salt, as a coder you can work any schedule you like, its complicated (getting it right) re: for billing and insurance and it is only going to grow. stay the course.
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Old 10-14-2013, 03:36 AM
 
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There are many medical coding classes available online. Some of the courses to mention are, medical terminology course, ICD-9 CM- coding the neoplasm for oncology, Anatomy and physiology,etc. And courses like CPT coding for beginners are also useful for students who desire to have medical coding as their career. The CPT coding system covers the concepts of Musculoskeletal System,Cardiovascular CPT section, Radiology and Pathology CPT Sections and many more.
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Old 03-03-2016, 04:25 PM
 
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If I take the medical coding and billing program at my CC can that be used to work at a dental office as well?
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Old 03-04-2016, 04:43 PM
 
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My suggestion is a medical coder. With the constant changes in the healthcare field it will always need the human element.
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