Shannon McClain – Student Highlight

Like many students before her, Shannon McClain attended a local community college before coming to United Career Institute. When asked what made United different than her previous school, Shannon said, “the staff at UCI are friendly and, all the classes are relevant.” United has six-week modules, this allows classes to go by quickly while ensuring that all the information they learn applies to the workplace.

When asked why she chose medical assisting, Shannon said, “I have a passion for helping others.” Her mom is also a medical assistant and an alumna of our Mount Braddock campus, so Shannon has a good understanding of the profession. 

Shannon’s favorite class in the program has been Anatomy and Physiology because she, “loves learning the body and body systems.” Anatomy and Physiology provide United students with a great understanding of how the body works and various diseases and disorders they will see while working as a medical assistant.

Five years from now, Shannon sees herself as a graduate of United Career Institute, owning her own home, working in a cancer center, and “striving to be the best she can be at 25!”

To learn more about United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program, request information here!

Shawn Hull – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our May Student of the Month, Shawn Hull! Shawn is a Medical Billing and Coding student and has been with us for almost a year. Since he stepped foot into this building, he has been a joy to be around!

Prior to attending United, Shawn served in the Air Force and then attended Triangle Tech. While some discouraged him from attending school at that point, he persevered and used their doubt as motivation to reach his goals. He says, “After I retired from the Air Force, I attended Triangle Tech and received my Associate in Specialized Technology Degree in Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Even though it had been many years since I attended high school, I took the opportunity to further my education to provide better for my family. When I first started talking about going back to school, there were some that said I was crazy and that I would be lucky if I graduate. That’s all it took, and two years later, I graduated first in my class with a 3.52 GPA.” Shawn worked as an HVAC installer for a local heating and air conditioning company before he decided to return to school again.

When Shawn began looking into schools where he could continue his education, he couldn’t ignore all the great things he heard about United Career Institute. “I had friends and family members who attended and graduated from United and heard nothing but great things about the school [and] its curriculum and staff. United’s reputation was hard to ignore, which made my decision to attend United a no-brainer,” he says.

Shawn is part of United’s Medical Billing and Coding program. His interest in this particular program comes from his desire to be in the healthcare field but his aversion to needles. He says, “There has always been a part of me that wanted to be a part of the healthcare field. I choose the Medical Billing and Coding program because, like I said a part of me always wanted to be a part of the healthcare field. The truth is I’m not a big fan of needles. I don’t like getting poked and I wouldn’t want to do that to someone else. That’s why I decided to go the office route.”

The small class sizes and attentiveness of faculty and staff are some of Shawn’s favorite parts of attending United. “I really like the small class size. It gives the teachers the ability to pass on all the information we need to succeed with less distractions than you would have with larger classes.” While Shawn thinks all of the faculty and staff at United are “awesome,” one instructor in particular stood out to him because of how welcoming she was. “I can’t say that I have a favorite. All the teachers and staff are awesome. They are always available if you need them. Whether it be before class or after, they always make themselves available. There is one, however, that comes to mind more than the others, Jade Teets. The first day of classes, Jade made me feel very comfortable, especially since I am the only guy in the school and all my new classmates are young enough to be my daughters.”

Shawn had a little less trouble selecting his favorite classes… “As far as my favorite class I would have to say first the coding classes and then Anatomy and Physiology. The coding class because that’s going to be a big part of my new career. A&P is just a very interesting area, and I learn something new every class. Not too bad for a 51-year old that thought he knew it all.”

After Shawn graduates, he hopes to work in a family practitioner’s office, though he says he would be happy in just about any healthcare setting!

In five years, Shawn wants what many people want…to be comfortable in his career. “In five years, I’ll be that much closer to retiring, again, but I see myself finally having a career that I feel comfortable in and enjoy as much as I did my Air Force career,” he said.

Shawn says he would absolutely recommend United Career Institute to a friend! “I don’t think there is another medical career institute around that can touch the personable and professional environment that United has. The staff are in a category of their own when it comes to secondary education. From admissions to financial aid to teachers they all are second to none. Knowing now how professional everyone is here at United, tells me I made the right and only decision to attend United Career Institute to finally fulfill my dream.”

United Career Institute is lucky to have a student as dedicated as Shawn! If your story sounds like his, request information here!

Aleesha Guidos – Student Highlight

Aleesha Guidos is one of United Career Institute’s medical assisting students. She enrolled at the Irwin campus in the summer of 2020. She graduated from Latrobe High School and attended EWCTC while working as a CNA. She chose the Medical Assisting program because she thought it would be a good stepping stone into the medical field. United Career Institute was a good fit because she liked the idea of our small classes and felt that we had a positive atmosphere.

So far, her favorite instructor has been Kelly Shriver. Aleesha said, “She is understanding and always willing to help in any way she can.” She feels that the staff is very welcoming, and her favorite class so far has been Anatomy and Physiology. “I liked that class because I was able to learn about how each and every body system works,” she said.

After Aleesha graduates, she hopes to work as a medical assistant. Possibly in a pediatrician’s office! Later down the road, she hopes to have her BSN and work at a children’s hospital. We wish you all the luck, Aleesha!!

If you want to get into the medical field and like the idea of small classes like Aleesha, request information here and learn more today!

Nikki Feltes – Student Highlight

While in high school, United Career Institute Medical Assisting student Nikki Feltes had an idea she may want to pursue a career in healthcare, but didn’t see herself going to a four year college. During her time at Latrobe Area High School, she took advantage of a program available to students through the Eastern Westmoreland Career Technology Center where they could split HS studies with a health occupation program. During that time, Nikki began to see herself making healthcare a career, so when she wasn’t studying for school, she was working part-time at a nursing home. Upon graduation in June 2020, Nikki discovered United Career Institute in Irwin and thought it might be a perfect avenue to continue her healthcare aspirations. After meeting with the admissions team, her decision was made.

When we asked Nikki why she chose the United Career Institute Irwin campus, she said, “I thought it would be a fun and interesting school. Now that I have begun the program, boy was I right!” She has enjoyed learning new things pertaining to the medical field and not only going to class with other high school students in the same position as her, but other adult learners too. Her ultimate motivation for choosing UCI’s Medical Assisting program was sparked by her already having exposure to it from her time at EWCTC. She learned a lot about what medical assistants do from her Health Occupations program, and just knew that it would be something she’d be good at. She feels she’ll always enjoy working in a healthcare setting and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives.

The Medical Assisting program has many engaging and hands-on classes, but we had to ask Nikki what her favorite class has been so far, and she didn’t hesitate to answer; Anatomy & Physiology. “I love learning about the human body and diseases,” said Nikki. We also had to ask Nikki who her favorite instructor has been to this point, and the answer was immediate again; Kelly Clark. Nikki added, “She is so nice and laid back. I’ve always felt like I could tell her anything.” That reaction to Kelly Clark’s teaching is not uncommon. So it came as no surprise that Nikki felt the same way. It’s always good to hear positive feedback like this from our students, and Nikki’s is no exception.

Looking into the future, we asked her what she sees her life like after she graduates. Nikki hopes to be a medical assistant in either a children’s hospital or at a doctor’s office. She has a true passion for caring for children. She will be looking to do her externship in pediatrics locally to quell her passion for working with kids. Five years from now, she hopes to still be working as a medical assistant, and she wants to start a family eventually. Nikki can see herself married, happy in her career, and hopefully buying and moving into a new house.

If your story sounds like Nikki’s, request information here!

Medical Assisting Students At Irwin Begin Externship

Classroom knowledge lays the foundation for the Medical Assisting program at United Career Institute Irwin. Classes like Medical Terminology and Anatomy & Physiology are the building blocks for students to advance in their careers. However, hands-on skill learning and application will always be the key component of our Medical Assisting program. United Career Institute started our first class of medical assisting students in September of 2019. To start the new year, those three students will be the first ever to begin their 12-week externships with local healthcare providers.

“It’s an exciting and fulfilling time,” says Campus President Arnold Thimons. “To think back when we opened this campus with these three students, and now their goals are coming to fruition, could not make me more proud!” Since that inaugural class, the Medical Assisting student population has grown to 35, and that number continues to grow each week. With the incredible feedback from local healthcare providers like Excela Health, Premier Medical, Allegheny Health Network, UPMC, William Penn Care Center, and many others, our students are exposed to such great opportunities to spend 12 weeks, the length of their externship, shadowing and applying the skills they’ve learned on campus in the real world. “I tell my students to look at these 12 weeks as a 12-week job interview,” says Thimons. “Students have input in the area and discipline that their interests lie, and if they perform well during their externship, the goal would be to get hired at that facility immediately upon graduation.”

During this COVID pandemic, it is vitally important to train and make available healthcare workers for local hospitals, doctors’ offices, and countless other primary care facilities. Having a chance for students to spend three months at the end of their program seeing and participating on the front lines of healthcare gives them such a great insight into this career path.

To learn more about United’s externship program, request information here!

Anna Mascara – Student Highlight

Anna Mascara is one of United Career Institute’s ambitious, young, medical assisting students. She started attending classes at the Irwin campus in May of 2020. She tried taking classes at a local community college before enrolling at United, but said she had a horrible experience when she was there and it just was not a good fit. She became certified in Pharmacy, starting working, and then found United Career Institute.

We asked Anna why she chose to study medical assisting and she told us, “There are so many opportunities for medical assistants out in the health field. I definitely want to progress with my education after the Medical Assisting program, but it’s a great start to a happy future.”

Anna chose United Career Institute because she felt comfortable after meeting all of our staff. She told us, “The staff is wonderful and always so helpful. They genuinely enjoy helping you succeed in your classes. Also, the program moves fast!” She truly loves coming to school every day. Her favorite part about attending United is how friendly everyone is. “Everyone is so nice in the morning. I love coming in and being happy from the start! Makes my day better.”

Anna finds her health-related courses interesting. Her favorites so far have been Medical Terminology and Anatomy and Physiology. She said that all of the instructors she has had so far have been very helpful. Anna appreciates how flexible and understanding they have all been with her.

After Anna graduates from United, she is hoping to work as a medical assistant at Excela Health or possibly continuing her education. She has been considering looking into becoming an X-ray technician. Later down the road, she hopes to be successful at her job and financially stable.

To learn more about United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program, request information here!