My Life As An HDS Graduate

By: Vanessa

Working hard always pays off, and graduating is even better. Employers are more interested in meeting me now that I’ve completed a healthcare documentation program. I had success at the job fair and it brought my spirits up while I continue to search for a new job. I’ve even been scouted via my professional online accounts. I’ll explain everything.



* KRH- Hospital: I’ve been applying here, and I told them which positions are on my application history. They suggested I also apply for another position and to go into their office the following week. I left a resume with the recruiter and when I got home, I emailed her with more details. I hope to hear back soon because they have several positions perfect for me.

* SCRIBEAMERICA- Scribe: I’ve seen this position before and it seems very fun, but I’ve never applied to it. I spoke to the individuals at the booth and they both thought I should definitely apply. I left a resume with them and they said I’m at the top of the list for qualified candidates. I was so excited. I would love to be a medical scribe! I applied to the scribe position first thing the following morning. And then I emailed the woman who referred me to let her know my application was in.

* FLATHEAD INDUSTRIES- Disability Services: This company has had several administration jobs available and I’ve always been tempted to apply to them. I spoke to the hiring manager to ask exactly what is all involved in the company. I didn’t leave a resume or apply because they don’t hire or utilize the skills of a healthcare document specialist.


About a month ago, a company contacted me for a Medical Transcription position. They got my information from my LinkedIn account. However, I didn’t qualify for that position because I don’t have five years experience. More recently, a local company found my resume on and they emailed me about a position as a Medical Receptionist. I called and left a message. I should hear back from them next week, or maybe I will just bring in my resume and meet the person who sent me the notification.


If I really want someone to see my school account and check out my grades, I sign and fill out APPENDIX C from the Student Catalog. I turn it in to the school and then I let the hiring manager know they have my permission to specifically look into my account at AHP.

If you’re struggling in your lessons, don’t give up on yourself. I felt the beginning and end of the program was easier to get through because either 1) it was the beginning, fun and easy or 2) it was the end and I wanted to finish so badly. The middle part, the coding lessons, were tough to get through because they were challenging and sometimes I felt lost or stuck in the middle. But I followed my plan, worked my way through, and I’m more than glad to be a graduate of At-Home Profession’s Healthcare Documentation program. Do you have any job fairs going on in your area? You must go!

Ten Years From Now

By: Annie

When I was in high school I had to write a paper about where I saw myself in ten years. At that time, I was 15 years old. I had no idea what I was going to be doing that weekend, let alone ten years from then! I scribbled something down about maybe being a teacher or a psychologist or maybe even a parole officer. Quite an array of possible career choices, huh?

I wrote that I would probably be living in Texas or Maine. Never in a million years did I imagine I would be back living on the family farm. I couldn’t wait to get away from this place when I graduated. I didn’t even want to stay in North Dakota and here I am just miles away from where I went to school and a few hundred feet from where I grew up.

I always knew I wanted a family of my own so that was in there, too. That’s about the only part of my original essay that was fulfilled. I wanted to be married and have “babies.” Apparently my 15 year old self didn’t realize how much work said “babies” are! I noted that I’d like some dogs and cats and we currently have 3 dogs and 1 cat so I guess I was spot on there.

It appears my personal goals were pretty accurate, but that was about it. I thought it might be kind of fun to sit down now and think about where I’d like to be ten years from today.

Professionally, my ultimate goal is to work from home. I want to be able to attend my children’s sports and school activities. I want to be able to drive them to school and pick them up when the day is done. I need a career that is flexible so that I can contribute to our life financially without feeling like I am sacrificing time with my family.

I wouldn’t mind continuing to live on the family farm. I love being out in the country and all the space that goes along with it. Our dogs can run and play and not have to be tied up and we have a nice, big yard for our daughter when she is old enough to run and play, too.

annie-10-16I think it’s good for a person to sit down from time to time and imagine what their life will be like if they keep working hard and stick to their goals. Doing this helps to keep me on track. I compare it to drawing a map. I mark where I am at and where I’d like to be. Then I draw a line to connect the two and begin my trek to get to the goal.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Are the things you’re doing today helping you to achieve these plans? Have you even thought about the direction you’re going? If not, today is a great day to start!

Course 4 is taking me such a long time, but it’s only because I am diligently working to get the best grade possible. I don’t worry though, because even if I am just doing a little bit day to day I know it will eventually add up and I will be done with it and on to Course 5. Happy studying!

Swapping School Stories

By: Jessica

Hi everyone! Hope you are having a great week. This past weekend we had a family reunion, so I got to see all my cousins, nieces and nephews. Most of them are all in college and just got settled in their dorms. We all had a lot of questions asked about how college was going!

My niece is going to Michigan State University and was full of stories about extracurricular activities and all the new people she is meeting; you can tell she is ecstatic to be there. She also asked me how I like my AHP experience so far, this was my answer:

I am loving my AHP experience so far because I can keep my regular routine, such as work and family life, with just a few adjustments. It is all done on my time, including when and where I want to do it. I have no books to carry around or purchase unless I choose to.

jessica-10-13She asked if I miss the interaction with fellow students and the social aspect of school. Heck no, I do not miss the party days at all. I am way too old for that, and I know that I could have better grades in previous schools if I would have focused more on my schooling than the parties and boys back in the day. I have access to fellow students by interacting with them online, through Facebook, and even through the AHP messaging system. There really isn’t much difference between AHP and a traditional school, other than the price and the physical school itself. I can choose to go and visit the AHP headquarters if I’d like to go out to Colorado to see the school and meet some of the teachers, or just to take a tour. As of right now, I am completely and utterly happy with going to school online.

Everyone has a different learning curve, and thus far online schooling has worked out very well for me, except for the fact that my motivation has been very slow since the summer. I asked my niece if there was one thing that she would change about going to school and living away from home. Of course, she said she misses being at home and having home cooked meals and her mom available to clean and do her laundry. But, I am sure we all miss those days. That is part of growing up, the worst part of being an adult in my eyes. I have to say it’s very interesting to see all the different point of views from the different ages of my family members, too. Just for fun, there is an ongoing contest of who will finish the next test the fastest. There is even talk about making trophies for when we all graduate!

I encourage you to talk to your friends and family about your AHP experience. This is a big part of your life, why not enjoy it and share it with others? I hope you have another great week, and continue to do great in your courses!

Post-Graduation: Applications & Interviews

By: Vanessa

vanessa-10-10Hello readers! My fifteen minutes of fame are almost up, and I have some good news to share before I go. I have an interview scheduled for a position within a healthcare facility on the morning of the job fair. I’m really excited and proud of myself for enrolling in the HDS program and graduating in a timely manner with good grades. I think I could have been passed up for the upcoming interview if it had not been for my recent education in healthcare documentation.

I’ve been applying for different positions that I would fit best with such as insurance billing, hospital clerk, patient access representative, medical transcriptionist and more. Upon graduating, I let some of my family and friends know that I finished a healthcare documentation program and I asked them if their office could use my skills. They said no, for reasons like the office is too small or they don’t use medical transcription. They encouraged me to apply at bigger clinics and hospitals.

My dad always told me to get a job where I could move up. I haven’t been in many positions with advancement opportunities. I usually work in small offices for the owners of the business, and the office manager had been in her position for ten years and would never leave the company. So finally, with my new education, I’m going to apply for positions with advancement opportunities. I like a challenge and I want a position where I’m encouraged or compensated to earn healthcare documentation certificates. I want to sit for the certified coder exam, certified biller exam, and the registered healthcare documentation exam. I’m applying for positions that will use my skills and I make sure that I only apply to positions that I really want.

My resume looks good and I’m going to bring extras to the job fair this week. I also use Craigslist,, the local job service, state webpage, and other webpages to look for work. I have learned NOT to send resumes as an attachment, but to copy/paste it only in the body of the email. I do a lot of research online and view webpages of healthcare companies to read about their business and contact them directly. Many smaller businesses don’t advertise that they have an open position, so I just send an email with my resume (text version) and a brief introduction about why I’m contacting them.

I’m willing to work in-office or remotely, but I am trying to keep it local either way. I feel that the state I live in should contribute to positive employment statistics. I also feel that I should contribute to my community and work in the county where I live. Working remotely for an unknown company is scary to me because I don’t know them. So as much as I’d love to work at home, I believe it is safer and more rewarding to work locally at an office.

I really want a full-time job, to work with people, help out where needed and to follow the law with a smile on my face. I hope the interview becomes a job offer! I look forward to working in the world of healthcare and to have my passions for biology and accounting be used simultaneously in healthcare documentation.

My Favorite Study Tip

By: Annie

It seems like I just finished up my last blog post and here I am again! Time has been flying for me and some weeks it feels like I haven’t made any progress, but then I look back on the month and see that indeed I have!

Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite tips for learning and practicing diagnostic and procedural codes. It’s something I do that helps me maintain the knowledge I’ve learned so far when I go on a stretch of not being able to study or look through my notes.

If you watch the news or listen to the radio, you’ll often hear about accidents or perhaps benefits for people who have diseases. I know it’s starting to sound a bit morbid, but just stay with me here. I take a mental note or write their diagnosis down on a piece of scratch paper. When I get home I go through and code the diagnosis. Sometimes I will hear about procedures people have had and I’ll make a note of that, too, so that I can look up the procedural code later.

This tactic works for me because it allows me to practice my future profession in the real world. Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful to At-Home Professions for all of their practice exercises and real-life examples, but actively listening and taking note of the diagnosis allows me to practice what it would be like once I am working. I won’t be able to flip to the back of the book and check my answers.

annie-10-7Now that football season is in full force I have been listening to the commentary of the announcers and looking up the players’ injuries and procedural codes if they happen to mention what surgery or treatment they’ve had. My husband told me he didn’t know I was so interested in football.😉 I guess I didn’t know either until I started this study technique.

Do you have any study tips that you’d like to share with me? I love learning how other people study and what works for them.

I hope your studies are going well. I am just wrapping up the second quiz of Course 4 and I can honestly say I’m happy with my progress thus far. It’s been very slow compared to the first three courses, but like I’ve mentioned before, I need to know these things very well to do my job so I will take all the time I need right now.

What to do When You Feel Overwhelmed

By: Jessica

Hi Everyone! How is your studying coming along? Mine is kind of at a halt. In Course 4 you have your AHP workbook and your CPT book, but now there’s a curve ball, too. You also receive an Anatomy and Physiology book. In this A&P book there are also lessons and quizzes. There is so much more information in this course! To help you out before you get two lessons behind in one of the books I will give you some tips I have been using to keep up with all this information. You may not struggle with all the information given to you like I do, but these help me. I wish everything could be put together in one book and color coordinated with each lesson so you do not have to go flipping through 3 books, but I have been told that the whole health care system is like this in every department. So, I guess this is total preparation for the real deal.


When I begin a new lesson, for example let’s use Lesson 32, go through the whole lesson in the workbook or online, whichever method you use. I make a list on a separate piece of paper that has the chapters and how many quizzes in the Anatomy and Physiology book. Then I use post-it tabs and I mark each chapter, along with how many quizzes in each chapter.

When I come to the section that says, “Please read chapter 3 in the Anatomy & Physiology book,” I have it marked and I know in advance how many quizzes to take. I do not recommend finishing one book before the other because your quizzes have questions from both books. Personally, I would get too overwhelmed from just doing one book at a time. It is a lot of flipping around, but once I had everything tagged and listed with this method I found it to be quicker and easier to follow.

There are also the same quizzes online, too. I get the actual printed books and fill out quizzes online. Somehow I happened to skip over 4 quizzes. So, I am in the process of going back and finishing the quizzes. And yes, as I am going back and finishing these quizzes I am finding the answers I needed way back when and, yep, the light bulb has turned on. This is another good example of why it’s important to ask questions to my instructors. So let me iterate that again, ASK Questions when you feel overwhelmed. The instructors are very helpful, and can get you back on the right track. Do not ever feel like you are on your own.

I hope you are cruising along and enjoying your learning experience. Keep going!!!

My Last Day of School at AHP

By: Vanessa

Thanks to my early morning study routine, I was able to finish the HDS program in a timely manner and with good grades. I took a week off from work to concentrate on studying and submit my last quizzes. My Medical Transcription course was my number one priority for one week. I’m self-employed and work part-time for a transcription company, so not accepting work for a week seemed to fit my schedule and allowed me to focus on graduating. And no, unfortunately the transcription company that I work for does NOT do medical transcription. I am a general transcriptionist for part-time, long-term work. I want to work full-time as a medical transcriptionist, but since I don’t have children or major time consuming obligations, I fill in my spare time with secondary work.

My resume has a new title and now I’m ready to make a career change. The day I turned in my last quiz was quite eventful.

vanessa-10-39:00 am – Hooray! I turned in my last quiz and notified the school. I couldn’t leave the house to celebrate because I was expecting a delivery, so I designed some business cards to kill some time.

11:00 am – Wow, impeccable timing. I received an email invite to attend a local job fair in my area. I couldn’t have planned it better myself. I will definitely go to the job fair with confidence and enthusiasm. This will be the first time that I’ll attend such an event with a specific career in mind and education to back it up.

3:00 pm – I checked my mailbox and received all the signed contracts to work as a subcontractor for the transcription company I mentioned above. I had been working for them already, and I knew the contracts were signed, but there was a delay in receiving everything because I had created an original contract that specified my requirements and responsibilities.

5:00 pm – . My delivery finally arrived! I have a brand new ergonomic home-office chair with mesh lining, tilt control, back support, arm rests, height adjustments and padded seating. I love it.

The day I turned in my last quiz was busy and a present in itself. I have since been thinking about adding a designation to my name. I might keep my early morning study routine to study for the RHDS exam.

I’m hoping to start small and build a solid business for full-service healthcare documentation. I’d love nothing more than to deliver medical records from start to finish with accurate transcription and coding to reassuring and timely patient reimbursements.

I’m going to keep reading the Career Starter Guide provided by AHP and I’ll fill you in with more details next week. I hope you are enjoying your studies as much as I did. Don’t give up! A little bit of effort every day will go a long way.

There’s No “I” in Team

By: Annie

My dad is a farmer. Growing up, I learned early on how stressful farming can be. He’d wait and wait and wait in the Spring until it was time to plant and he didn’t stop until he was done. Then he’d watch the weather and worry all summer that we’d get hail or we wouldn’t get enough rain or the opposite, we’d get too much and the crops would flood. Then it was the waiting game again until it was time to harvest. And after that, the cycle would begin all over again for the next year.

Because of all the worrying and stressing my dad did, I just assumed he was a one-man rodeo. I grew up thinking he did everything by himself, and don’t get me wrong, he did a lot on his own, but like any occupation he couldn’t operate without some help. He got his operating loan from the bank every year. He had to buy seed and machinery. He had to have a good relationship with the elevators so he could take his crops there to sell. More recently, he even had to hire custom combiners to help with harvest since he has taken on more farmland, which is another business deal too.


I liken this juvenile thinking to the way I viewed doctors as a child, too. I thought they did it all on their own, too. As a young girl, I didn’t remember the receptionist, the nurses, the lab techs, and I certainly didn’t consider all the people behind the scenes. As an adult, I now understand that just like my dad couldn’t be a farmer all by himself, doctors can’t do their jobs without a little help as well.

The roles of all of these people are all important, too. To be a doctor requires many years of school and experience, but doctors couldn’t do their jobs without nurses to help their patients. They wouldn’t have appointments scheduled if it wasn’t for the receptionists who answer the phone. And, probably the most relevant role to us, they wouldn’t be able to practice if they didn’t have people like us who bill, code, and transcribe their visits with their patients. It takes a whole team to make the wheel turn in a clinic, on a farm, really, anywhere a business is in operation.

Over the past few weeks I have been learning a lot in Course 4. The accompanying Anatomy and Physiology book has been so helpful to me, but I have to admit I have a love/hate relationship with it! I breeze through the coding portion of Course 4 and as soon as I see the little prompt to read about this system or that system I know it’s time to buckle down and get ready for a ton of new information! I appreciate it, though!

I hope your studies are all going well and if you live somewhere where it snows that you are enjoying your last few weeks of warm weather! Fall is in the air here in North Dakota!

How Far Have You Come?

By: Jessica

jessica-9-29Hey everyone, welcome back to the blog. Today I would like to discuss how much has changed since you started the Healthcare Documentation Specialist program. Think back to the first day, remember you were so excited to get that first course, rip the box open or get the download completed? It was like Christmas morning – and then perhaps when you received your first 100% on a quiz!

I was so surprised with that grade that I even took a picture and sent it to my parents and my husband. I swear I walked around like a proud peacock for a week straight. I literally buried myself in the books and could not stop reading – one night until 4 am! I paid for it the next day at work, but I had a permanent smile on my face. Now that I am thinking about that moment, people probably thought I was crazy!

But, here I am today struggling to finish the course. I know I am just scared to move onto something that is so new and different than what I am used to, and I’m not very fond of change at all. I have been dreading the transcription section because that is my weakness in this course. I get overwhelmed with all the information that is thrown at me, but I just keep pushing on. I may not be going full speed ahead like I was in the beginning but I am not giving up. So, to be honest with everyone, including myself, if you think that this program is going to be all roses and butterflies – it’s not, but it will definitely prepare you for the real work you’ll be doing in the medical documentation field.

I’d say that the 3rd course was a wake up call for me. I breezed right through the first and second course. Then the real life medical situations started, like the billing, and I saw what this career will be like firsthand. I really enjoyed it! The coding still makes me nervous because there are so many different variables. With that being said, it will be on you if there is a mistake in the billing. The insurance company will send it back or question the bill if the codes are messed up. Of course, with anything in life there is also a way to fix your mistakes and learn from them. It is not the end of the world… well maybe a little bit if you are a perfectionist🙂

No matter where you are in this program, just remember that you are one step closer to a new and improved future. And that’s because you took the chance to learn something new and improve your skills. That is what life is all about, learning new things and always improving our skills and ourselves. Don’t be a chicken (like me) and be scared of the good that is coming your way once you have conquered your program. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and keep in mind, knowledge is something no one can ever take from you.

The Best Kept Secrets of Early Morning Studying

By: Vanessa

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day? What would you say if I told you I’ve kept my normal schedule and sleep 7-8 hours a night, all while finishing the HDS program (hopefully) in less than 6 months? How have I been able to balance my time between everyday life and going to school online?

vanessa-9-26Listen closely and I’ll share my POWER HOUR study SECRET with you. Are you ready? OK. I try to WAKE UP super EARLY at least twice a week to hit the books while my mind is fresh, excited and open to learning new things. What do my early mornings look like?

3 Hours Before Work/Life Starts

Wake up and smell the roses. Power on: check email, sign onto school account, make breakfast and lunch for my husband and myself, review previous lesson, plan the day, study for about one hour.

* Keep your normal schedule by waking up super early, I am well fed and have extra energy to retain new information as well as clean up and do chores before heading out to work or going about my normal routine. Day or night, since I’ve already studied, I’m available to attend meetings, go grocery shopping, make dinner, or anything I need to do.

* Study ahead, stay ahead – Since I woke up early and reviewed previous lessons, turned in a quiz and/or studied new material, I am a day ahead on learning. Meaning, instead of waiting until night time to learn something new, I’ve already covered that material and organized it in my brain. If I had spare time in the afternoon or evening, I’ve been able to move even further ahead in the lessons essentially covering two topics in a day versus one topic.

* Enjoy time with family/friends – I get to spend valuable time with family and friends every day or whenever things come up and still remain caught up on the lessons. Family, work, and school are my priorities so I make sure to study early and get it out of the way to free up my time for life as it happens, work, and activities.

* Sleep all night – I’d rather focus the majority of my studying in the morning so I don’t get stuck staying up all night and not getting adequate sleep. I’ve done that before, and it’s not the best strategy I can come up with. So, waking up at 4:00 a.m., whether I’m tired or not, allows me to fulfill my normal day and lazily wind down and naturally crash at the end of the night.

3 Hours Before Bed

Dinner is made and we are fed once again. It’s time for a movie, rehashing the day and planning the next. Power off: computer off, mind off, talking off, noise off, lights off. zzzz…

Was I able to convince you to try waking up extra early at least twice a week?