icd10 label on a keyboard with a stethescopeLaura Bramell headshot

Laura Bramell’s story is one full of beautiful optimism and hope. She has never let living with Asperger’s syndrome stop her from accomplishing her goals. Laura has faced other challenges throughout her life; for example, five years ago, she started suffering from horrible migraines. The 24/7 headache tensions would often leave her bedridden for days at a time. But, with the help of incredible doctors and her own determination, Laura has begun to heal, move forward, and continue to work toward a medical coding job. We had the privilege of speaking with Laura about how her new medical coding career opportunity has changed her life for the better.


CPE: Why did you choose to pursue a career in medical billing and coding?

Laura: As I began to see progress with my migraine treatments, I met with a career specialist to talk about potential career opportunities. At first, I went in just looking for a job. She said she could place me immediately, or I could go back to school and pursue further education. When I was in high school, I worked in restaurants and then moved on to retail. However, I had always wanted to go back to school, so that option interested me. The career specialist mentioned medical billing and coding because another girl with similar health issues had recently been successful in completing a program and finding employment.

I found that I really like coding and it gives me the freedom to pursue other interests. I always wanted to be a singer growing up, and I would love to participate in some local theatre soon! As a 26-year-old with a lot of life ahead of her, I just want to be able to have a job I enjoy and live in freedom. I would love to be able to make enough money to support myself financially and begin taking care of my parents. I think taking UTC’s course was the first step in the right direction for me.


C: What do you enjoy about the medical billing and coding profession?

L: I like that you have a set of rules to go by. I am much more flexible now than when I was younger, but repetition is important for those with Asperger’s syndrome. I like reading the doctor’s notes to figure out the codes. It’s like putting a puzzle together! Previously, I never would have expected myself to be interested in science or anything related to the medical field, but I have realized that sometimes things you think you don’t like can actually be exciting and interesting.


C: Why did you choose UTC’s course over other similar courses?

L: Mom and I looked at several programs, but we liked how UTC’s course was written by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC). They write the exam for certification, so of course I wanted to take a course created by them. I didn’t find any other schools who offered anything similar. I also liked the pace of the course. It takes 12 weeks to complete rather than 1 year. UTC’s course requires hard work but is worth it to become certified more quickly.


C: What advice would you share with students in the current medical billing and coding course?

L: Don’t become overwhelmed. The course is fast paced, but you can do it as long as you apply yourself! Try and give your best effort. Sometimes this requires sacrifice. You may have to give up going out with friends, watching TV, or playing games with family today, but it’s only temporary. You’re going to do great! Also, if you need help, ask for it! There will be people who understand and want to help you. Everyone wants to see you succeed.


C: What study tips would you share with someone preparing for their coding certification exam?

L: A lot of memorization is NOT the way to study for coding. I tried memorizing everything in the book and became completely overwhelmed. It’s a process to work through. Learn how to find the codes and match them appropriately to doctors’ recommendations. This is what the practical application of coding looks like! Be detail-oriented, as well. The proof with codes is in the details.


C: What other aspects of the course did you find to be beneficial?

L: The instructor, Debby Craven, was awesome. She took a personal interest in me and was really helpful, especially in regard to my migraines. I also appreciated the help the program coordinator, Will Watson, gave me. My classmates were kind and helpful too. In the class group message, they constantly reached out to encourage me in both the good and the bad times. I was lifted up from the start by so many wonderful people.


C: Is there anything else you would like to share about your medical billing and coding course experience?

L: I am just super excited to continue my education. There’s so much more I want to learn, and I always want to grow. I also want to thank Will and Debby for all of their help. They touched my life and supported me, and I know they would do so for other students too. I am so blessed to have had this experience.


Marah Whitaker headshot

Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.

Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.


Jeff Grant sees himself as a storyteller, and thankfully, he gets to tell some incredible stories by serving as the marketing coordinator for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, Jeff can be found implementing new marketing strategies or writing content. When Jeff is away from the office, he could be found hiking the Cumberland Trail, trying new recipes, or getting lost in a good book.

Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.


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