Noviz Nevarez always wanted to follow in her sisters’ footsteps and pursue a career in healthcare, but she needed a career pathway that would accommodate her busy schedule as a full-time sales manager at a Galveston hotel, the mother of a four-year-old and wife of a longshoreman at the Port of Galveston.
“Most of my sisters work in a medical field, and they inspired me. Originally, I wanted to become a nurse, but I needed more flexibility. When I found out about medical coding and administration, I decided it was the right career path for me.”
Nevarez enrolled in Galveston College’s new American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) medical coding curriculum last spring, completed her Medical Coding certificate and passed the national Certified Professional Coder (CPC) on her first attempt.
She landed a job with Signify Health and started working remotely this month as a coding specialist.
“Medical coding and billing specialists play a crucial role in the healthcare industry,” explained Donna Swartz, program director at Galveston College. “It is their responsibility to make sure that health claims are processed and coded accurately so that insurance companies and healthcare providers are reimbursed correctly. They also want to make sure they code correctly so patients are not over-charged for routine appointments.”
Nevarez said the communication, supervisory and management, and resume and cover-letter writing skills she learned at Galveston College were essential to preparing her for a new career.
“This is the first job I applied for since I earned my certificate,” Nevarez said. “I used the resume writing tips I learned from Ms. Swartz to align my skills with the position description. I had two phone and video interviews. It was a great experience.”
Galveston College’s program prepares students for national medical coding certification exams and provides focused instruction in health information management, health records management and advanced medical coding and billing.
“At first, the program is very challenging, especially for those without a medical background,” Nevarez said. “My advice to future students is to never give up…to believe in yourself. Join social media groups to network and keep up with what’s happening in the field. No matter what, keep going. It is worth it.”
Nevarez is continuing her studies at Galveston College and is now pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Administration. Her new job and work-at-home schedule will also give her husband an opportunity pursue his Associate of Applied Science in Welding Technology at the college.
“I’m grateful to my husband, my parents, my mother-in-law, and to my bosses at the hotel for their support,” said Nevarez. “I try to give my best to everything I do. I’m so grateful to Galveston College for this program.”