Bailey Street needed a fresh start to prepare for a career but was unsure where to begin.
She had taken college nursing classes but discovered direct-patient care was not as appealing to her as she hoped.
Street, 24, of Yukon, knew about Oklahoma’s Career Tech system and made a phone call. She enrolled in the adult-only Medical Coding Specialist program at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Cowan Campus (near Yukon). Turns out the program is exactly what she sought – to help meet people’s needs without being inside patient rooms.
She qualified for free tuition using the Next Step Scholarship, which is available to anyone under age 24 who lives in CV Tech’s district area and has a diploma or equivalent. Street relocated to Oklahoma – where she grew up – from southwest Missouri to be nearer to family and potentially for better job opportunities.
“That took so much stress and worry off my shoulders,” Street said of the no-cost tuition. “Everyone was so helpful with getting me enrolled and making sure I was ready to start.”
Street excelled. She got involved in the Business Professionals of America student organization and learned leadership skills while also learning job skills. Street was a two-time state contest champion in Medical Coding and placed at national contests twice, including a national runner-up silver medal. She capped off the year by being named Student of the Year in her program last spring.
She had multiple job offers upon graduation, according to Medical Coding instructor Christi Walker. Street accepted a job as Patient Service Representative at the Outpatient Clinic of Bethany Children’s Health Center.
Median pay (half earn more and half less) for similar careers is $21.75 per hour, according to information supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Starting pay is less, though Walker said even with a little experience, a wage of $18 to $20 per hour is achievable. BLS growth projections for the occupation are at 9 percent, which is as fast as most.
“The course did a great job teaching me everything I needed to know, and I knew it was the right profession for me,” Street said.
“I’m using a lot of what I’ve learned at CV Tech at my new job. Some examples are verifying insurance, scheduling patients, answering phones and following HIPAA guidelines.”
Certification is required, but the program is geared toward helping students pass the post-secondary Certified Professional Coder exam.
Street said she strongly endorses the program, because it was such a good fit for her.
“Do it,” she said. “Enroll. I had the best experience while at CV tech. And I feel I was so successful because everyone there wanted to see me succeed and helped me in any way they could.”
Medical Coding is among several health-related programs at the Cowan Campus. For more information, visit cvtech.edu or call a career counselor at (405) 345-3333.