Download our free 14-page comprehensive guide!

Does a career in medical coding interest you? If so, this guide was created just for you! In our free 14-page guide, you will learn about United Career Institute’s online Medical Coding program, the current workforce landscape, valuable certification*, frequently asked questions, and more!

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Required/ Included in Tuition/Fees. The Institution does not have a reportable recent pass rate (2022-2023 academic year) for the Certified Professional Coders exam because this is a new program with no graduates prior to July 1, 2023. See catalog for details.

About United Career Institute:

United Career Institute (UCI), previously the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology (PIHT), has served Southwestern Pennsylvania’s educational needs since its founding as PIHT in 1987. Specializing in accelerated healthcare training for practical nursing and allied healthcare, UCI plays a crucial role in meeting the needs of local employers. By providing hands-on and comprehensive training, UCI ensures that its students are well-prepared to enter the workforce in their industry. 

In 2019, PIHT was rebranded under the guidance of its sister school, West Virginia Junior College, to United Career Institute, which was established to better reflect the Institution’s program offerings. 

With current online training in coding, medical assisting, medical office, practical nursing, 12-month medical assisting, and 12-month medical billing, UCI Online serves the needs of regional allied healthcare employers in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Additionally, a 12-month Practical Nursing diploma program is offered residentially at the UCI campus in Irwin, PA.  

United Career Institute’s hands-on approach to education allows students to gain practical experience during their education led by qualified instructors. Our staff and faculty are held to organizational standards to provide quality career training. They are dedicated to upholding our core values: Work Ethic, Exemplary, Caring, Accountability, Relationships, and Excellence (WE CARE). These fundamental values guide every individual within the organization, allowing United Career Institute to fulfill its purpose of empowering change by creating opportunity.  Join the United Career Institute family by requesting information!


United Career Institute Accreditation & Licensing

United Career Institute is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) to award associate degrees and diplomas. ABHES is a national accrediting agency recognized by the US Department of Education.

United Career Institute is licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Licensed Schools.

United Career Institute offers some programs that are approved by the State Approving Agency for students to use veterans’ benefits.

What Is Medical Coding?

Medical coders are essential members of the healthcare team who communicate between healthcare providers, patients, and insurance companies. The UCI Online medical coding training program equips future medical coders with the skills necessary to manage electronic healthcare records, billing, and insurance claims with precision. 

According to the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC), medical coders translate documentation from a patient visit into standardized codes that identify a patient’s diagnosis and medical treatments, services, or supplies. Medical coders utilize standardized CPT®, ICD-10-CM, and HCPCS Level II classification systems to organize the interaction between patient and provider. These classifications are the key to maintaining accurate patient records and providing payment to healthcare providers. 

Because there is such a wide variety of possible medical diagnoses, treatments, injuries, and more, it is essential that medical coders perform their role with great attention to detail. Correct medical coding is necessary for the processing of insurance claims. If a code is entered incorrectly, a patient’s insurance may deny payment of their treatment; therefore, the medical coder must be knowledgeable and disciplined in their trade.  

Medical coding professionals may not serve a direct patient care role but are vital healthcare team members. Do you have an interest in a behind-the-scenes healthcare career? Request information to get started in UCI Online’s Medical Coding program!

The United Career Institute Academic Process

In its three decades of training healthcare professionals, United Career Institute has developed an established six-step process for success to guide students through their educational journey: Plan, Equip, Learn, Enhance, Apply, and Succeed. 

Step One: Plan

Students connect with an admissions team member who will guide them through the application and admission process. The UCI admissions team will provide detailed information about the program and our academic process. Additionally, they create a personalized plan to help students meet their career and financial goals.

Step Two: Equip

After meeting with their admissions team member, students will be connected with a financial aid team member to discuss their financial plan. This step equips students with the resources they need to fund their education. The UCI financial aid team will also assist students in filling out the FAFSA to determine eligibility for financial aid^. Additionally, they will provide information about institutional grants** and student loans. 

Step Three: Learn

Once students have completed the financial aid process, their admissions team member will guide them through enrollment and register them for New Student Orientation, where they will learn additional information about United Career Institute and their chosen program. Once completing their orientation course, the student is prepared to enter classes related to their program directly, where they will establish the skills and knowledge they need for their future healthcare career.

Step Four: Enhance

Students will have fulfilled the educational requirements of their program and be prepared to take their industry-specific certification* exam. Sitting for and passing an industry certification signifies that a student meets nationally recognized comprehension standards in their field and is prepared to enter the workforce.  

Step Five: Apply

Students will apply the skills and knowledge they have gained during their education to a real-world healthcare environment through an externship experience facilitated by United Career Institute’s career management department. This opportunity allows students to continue developing skills, gain hands-on experience in an authentic healthcare setting, and forge professional connections with regional employers. 

Step Six: Succeed

Upon completing their program, students will be conferred with their associate degree or diploma, which will allow them to successfully begin their new healthcare career. 
UCI's 6 Step Process Medical Coding
*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam.
^For those who qualify
**For those who qualify. See catalog for detailed eligibility requirements.

Earning Your Associate in Specialized Business Medical Coding Degree

The training students in UCI Online’s Medical Coding program will equip them with the skills to perform various coding and billing tasks in two years or less. Our direct admission approach allows students to begin taking courses directly related to medical coding upon acceptance into the program. 

The robust curriculum taught in UCI’s medical coding classes trains students in basic and advanced coding skills, including but not limited to CPT and ICD-10-CM coding, electronic health records management, insurance billing and coding, medical terminology, and more. A full list of required courses students can expect to complete in the Medical Coding program can be found on Page 7 of our free downloadable guide. 

After completing the online medical coding training program, students will earn an Associate Degree in Specialized Business Medical Coding and be prepared to sit for the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice certification* exam.

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Required/ Included in Tuition/Fees. The Institution does not have a reportable recent pass rate (2022-2023 academic year) for the Certified Professional Coders exam because this is a new program with no graduates prior to July 1, 2023. See catalog for details.

The American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC)

Medical coding is a career path that requires excellent attention to detail and skills training, and your education does not end upon graduation. Students who have completed UCI Online’s medical coding training program will be prepared to sit for the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice certification* exam. As a benefit of the program, the Institution will pay for the cost of two attempts to sit for the exam.

Founded in 1988, the AAPC is the world’s largest training and credentialing organization for medical coding, billing, auditing, and other healthcare professionals. The benefit of obtaining a certification from the AAPC cannot be overstated, as it shows potential employers that you possess a skill level that meets the nationally recognized standards. 

Upon passing the certification, you will have earned the CPC-A credential. Because medical coding is a vast field that requires extensive experience, the “-A” will remain attached until you complete further education requirements through the AAPC. In order to maintain your medical coding certification with the AAPC, you must continue your educational journey by completing continuing education units and keeping an active AAPC membership.  
*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Required/Included in Tuition/Fees. The Institution does not have a reportable recent pass rate (2022-2023 academic year) for the Certified Professional Coders exam because this is a new program with no graduates prior to July 1, 2023. See catalog for details.

Your Medical Coding Career

The training that online medical coding students receive at United Career Institute prepares them to perform an array of billing and coding tasks, thus making them versatile and essential healthcare team members. Because medical coders possess a very specific skill set necessary for any medical facility’s operations, their potential job opportunities are vast.

Every medical facility, company, and practice needs qualified billers and coders. Medical coders can become employed at hospitals, private medical practices, insurance companies, law firms, government agencies, and more. 

As medical coders develop their skills, they can potentially have added flexibility in their careers. According to an AAPC survey, 25% of medical coders work remotely. Beginner medical coders are often required to work in a facility as they continue to refine their skills. Additionally, experienced medical coders can enter the education sector by becoming medical coding instructors: this fulfilling career path has specific requirements and licensures through the AAPC

The medical coding field is expanding, and the need for qualified medical records specialists is expected to rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national need for medical records specialists is expected to increase by 8% from 2022 to 2032. While this increase is a national average, the needs of individual states/areas may vary. 

Do you see yourself working in a career as a medical coder? Get started in your online education with UCI Online by requesting information!

Benefits of Attending United Career Institute

UCI Online offers a distinctive educational model, enabling students to fulfill their medical coding courses remotely without compromising the quality of learning and practical training in traditional on-campus programs. United Career Institute recognizes the demands many students face juggling family, work, and education; we strive to provide students with the necessary resources and support to be successful. 

One compelling benefit of UCI Online versus a traditional school is our direct admission approach to accelerated training programs. This path allows students to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to begin their healthcare career in two years or less and begin taking courses related to their field of study immediately upon being accepted into the program. Our students can save valuable time and money by avoiding unnecessary courses that prolong their education.

Additionally, because each of our healthcare programs is designed to be completed in an accelerated format, classes will be completed in 6-week sections, as opposed to the longer semesters that traditional institutions offer. This means that students will cover more material in less time and can expect to be challenged academically.

In addition to our direct admission education approach, students will be supported by each member of the UCI team. As a United Career Institute student, you can access a wide range of support services through our career management department, including academic, personal, and career support. Your success team starts with your admissions team member. It expands through every individual you meet at UCI, including your instructors, academic team, faculty, staff, and the Campus President

Additionally, the support you receive as a student extends beyond graduation into your professional career. As a UCI Alum, you have access to continued career management services, such as resume and cover letter writing assistance, participation in career fairs, job placement assistance, and industry brush-up courses*. 

Our formula for academic success combines learning, hands-on skill development, real-world experience, and certification* preparation. Combining these elements gives students a well-rounded educational experience and produces skilled and confident healthcare professionals. Woven throughout the curriculum is certification^ preparation that allows students to be prepared to sit for their industry-specific certification exam.

Then, toward the end of your program, the UCI career management department will organize an externship with a regional healthcare employer where you can gain real-world experience and forge connections with industry professionals. 
*Career Management Services are subject to specific conditions and requirements and continued campus operations. Please see the campus catalog for complete details. 
^Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry-specific certification exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to get a medical coding certification?

A: Preparation for the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice certification* is incorporated directly into UCI Online’s Medical Coding program curriculum. At the end of the program, students will be prepared to sit for the exam. As an added benefit of the program, the Institution will pay for the cost of two attempts to sit for the exam.

Q: How long is schooling for medical coding?

A: The length of time to become a medical coder varies by the type of program a student chooses. According to HealthJob, a medical coding certificate program can take six to twelve months, an associate degree can take up to two years, and a bachelor’s degree can take four years or more. UCI Online’s accelerated Medical Coding program awards students with an Associate in Specialized Business Medical Coding degree in two years or less. 

Q: Is medical coding a good career?

A: A career in medical coding can be an excellent choice for those whose ideal position is behind the scenes of a healthcare facility. Medical billers and coders are essential for the smooth running of a medical facility and are essential members of the healthcare team. 

Q: Where do medical coders work?

A: Medical coders can be employed in a wide variety of healthcare, government agencies, insurance companies, and more. Their unique skillset allows them to be versatile healthcare team members. 

Q: What do medical coders do?

A: Medical coders are responsible for communicating between patients, care teams, and insurance companies using a standardized labeling system called codes. Accurately coding and organizing treatments, diagnoses, and interactions are essential to ensuring the patient receives the best care, maintaining detailed records, and providing payment to physicians. 
*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding certification exam. Required/ Included in Tuition/Fees. The Institution does not have a reportable recent pass rate (2022-2023 academic year) for the Certified Professional Coders exam because this is a new program with no graduates prior to July 1, 2023. See catalog for details.

Get Started On Your Journey with United Career Institute!

Do you still have questions? Our skilled admissions team is here to help answer any specific questions you may have and get you started on the path to becoming a medical coding professional! Get started by calling 866-UCIONLINE or requesting information.

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