I sit here writing about my experience of the last year as I look at the matted and framed certificate on my wall — Lee Walker Certified Professional Coder. I went back to school after 18 years in automobile sales. I was very good at that, but I knew I wanted a stable career, income, and one that would challenge me. After quite a bit of research I decided on medical coding. All the news was saying that it is a job of stability, growth and that is what I wanted. Now for the school — where do I go, how do I apply, and can I get it done in a year or less? You have to understand, the last time I was in college Ronald Regan was president!!! This research brought me to Allen School of Health Sciences. The admissions office was fantastic in answering questions, telling me what I needed and getting me en-rolled, and financial aid assisted in finding me a grant to help with the cost, and explained the program. They were awesome. I went through this accelerated program and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. School was a JOB. I woke up to 5 days a week, showered, dressed, did my hair and make-up every day, because it was my job to do so. I created an office area with all the tools at my disposal, and a determination to be the best. In this kind of accelerated program you have to set goals, stay on top of them, be in class every hour of every day, sick or not, be there, it’s your job. Allen School has some of the best teachers, not only were they accessible to me, they let me explain and demonstrate to them how I came to conclusions and why. I had a wonderful support system, not just at home, but with my fellow students. Allow yourself to know other people going through this program, get in a study group, it helps and you also obtain friends from all over the country and world. Thank you Mike, Dana, Nancy, and Steve, I needed all of you. Later in the program I knew that I needed more than this education and certificate to get a job in this new field so I became an American Red Cross Volunteer at Womack Army Medical Center as a clerk in the Internal Medicine clinic. This experience helped me with how an office worked, software, patients, providers, everything that I would be exposed to in the real world after I finished school. So go and volunteer if you have time, it teaches you, and you get a chance to learn and give back. I finished my last day of school on my 50th birthday, what a present. Allen School provided me an overall education of what it would take to pass and be a Certified Professional Coder. A little advice, take advantage of what the AAPC has to offer in the form of study guides, it will help. Career Services lent me a big hand in landing a job in my new career, so take advantage of all the re-sources and tools that Allen School offers you. Joanie you are the best and like I told you, it is a JOB getting a JOB. Utilize all of your past experience to promote yourself, whether it be in sales, customer service, restaurant, or stay at home mother, these skills are what it takes to help you land that job, no, begin your career in the Medical Billing and Coding field. This Labor Day weekend was the first time in my life I had a paid day off of work, WOW!!