Carrington College Helped Prepare Medical and Billing Graduate, Noemi Perez, for her first job!

Noemi Perez was ready for a career change when she decided to enroll in the Medical Billing and Coding program at Carrington College. She began in the middle of the pandemic, with the challenge of remote-only learning. She soon faced other challenges as well.    “Noemi realized she had test anxieties; this made an impact on her grades and her student status,” remembers Houa Saly, Medical Billing and Coding Program Director. “Although it was a struggle for her, she was determined to pass her courses and keep her grades up. All in all, she did just that. She completed her program, did an outstanding job on externship, and is now working in the field after being hired from her externship.”  Noemi graduated in November of 2021 and is enjoying her new job.  “She didn’t give up,” Ms. Saly says. “I want her story to be an inspiration to others that if you work hard, you can accomplish your goals.”  

What did you do before you enrolled in the Medical Billing and Coding program at Carrington College?   

Before studying at Carrington College, I worked for the Garibaldi Company for six years. I was a leasing agent, an assistant manager, and then a manager, for one of the many apartment complexes the company-owned. I had moments of feeling successful in this business but was no longer happy in the career.   

How did you know you wanted to study or work in this field? Were you inspired by someone or something? 

When I looked into this field of study, it seemed like something I could grasp, and I really wanted to know more about it. I think that a lot of people don’t get to see how the knowledge applied in medical billing and coding can have a huge impact on others and in helping the medical field with their jobs. It’s our job to make sure they get their payments, and we help keep businesses flowing.     The words, “medical billing and coding” caught my interest since I had never heard of that type of program. I went to Carrington’s website and found more info; seeing the video about their program gave me hope. I knew that it was a challenge I was ready for.  

What was your time at Carrington like? What was your favorite part of the program, and what was the most challenging part? 

I entered the program during the pandemic, so it was challenging to do it all online, especially as this was my first time in college and in going back to school in over six years. I was excited, but also being nervous, since the school was something that I wasn’t really good at in the past.  My teacher at Carrington, Mrs. Saly, was great. She gave us coding examples in class. She was great at not giving the answer but would instead point out keywords of the example and the terminology that made you think of what first step to take to bring you the right answer. Also, she gave us PowerPoints of the lessons to help prepare us for our weekly exams.  The biggest challenge I faced in the program was my struggle with anxiety about exams; I tended to second-guess myself a lot. I got to the point where the self-doubt got in the way so much that I just stopped doing the work, setting myself up for failure. But my teacher, Mrs. Saly, never lost hope in me; she had seen something more in me than anyone else, and she was willing to take time out of her daily life to help me hands-on. We worked on late-night studies and exams together. You don’t really find a lot of instructors that care about college students this way, because adult students should have the ability. But she is different. She is willing to help you in any way she can to see you succeed—if you’re willing to do the same. So, I overcame my fear of failure and continued with the program, and I succeeded.  

Where did you do your externship? Can you tell us about some of your responsibilities there?   

I began my externship at Trinity Urgent Care in Stockton. I was responsible for making sure billing was done timely and efficiently, that insurance info was in the patient chart along with the correct provider or medical group, and to post payments as soon as the billing process was completed. I collected payments of previous visits and insurance would pay a contracted amount per the agreement from the company and post the patient’s bill. Another thing I learned a lot about was claims being denied and how to investigate why a claim wasn’t paid for. It took some time to get used to everything as I learned; I made sure I did my best.   

How did you find your job? 

I was so blessed that the company I did my externship with offered me a job; I worked hard and was dedicated, but I think I also looked at the externship not only as a way to get experience in the field, but also as a job.     

Do you feel like the program at Carrington College helped prepare you for your first job? 

Carrington College prepared me in ways I never knew I was capable of. I gained so much confidence in my assignments and exams; I took it more seriously because of the encouragement Mrs. Saly gave me. She showed me what I could achieve, and it made all the difference. Late-night studies made it all the better. The pride you take in this journey will get you to work harder, into wanting that first job you’ve worked so hard for.  

What advice might you give to someone who is undecided on whether to try this program, or who has just begun? 

My advice to all the undecided, future or current students is this: take that risk, know that if you have the mindset of doing the work and gaining confidence in yourself, it will work! It’s okay to be scared if this is a new step in your life—whether you’re changing careers or just starting out. Just take your day one at a time and be happy that this will make a difference in your life. I love to think of this quote by Naeem Callaway, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.”   

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