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!

How To Stick To Your Resolutions and Goals All Year Long

The new year has come, and we’re now weeks into 2021. We all made our New Year’s resolutions and goals for this year, but creating them is the easy part. Staying committed and sticking to your resolutions and goals all year long is much harder.

You may have created a resolution for yourself to work out more and eat healthier. Or maybe you created a goal to start working toward a new career by going to school and getting a degree. Whatever your goals and resolutions are for 2021, there are things you can do to help you stay focused and working toward your goals all year long. Check out our top tips for staying committed to your goals this year!

Create a Plan Just for You

What works for someone else may not be best for you. You need a plan designed for you and your goals. The first thing to do is create specific goals. So, if your New Year’s resolution is to work out more, how many times per week are you going to work out? What specific workouts are you going to do? When are you going to exercise? Are you going to work out at home or a gym? Answering these questions will help you create a specific plan for your resolution.

They say it takes 21 days to build a habit and 90 days to build a lifestyle. This really means that when you are trying to build a new habit, every time you do this new thing, it gets a little easier, and before you know it, it’s a lifestyle, and you’re a natural. Exercising will be hard at first if you have not done it in a while. You will be sore afterward and may get tired quickly. But as you continue to work out, you build endurance and muscle, and it gets easier because you get better as you go.

When we try to better ourselves with resolutions and goals, it can be tempting to try and tackle everything at once. But having too many resolutions can actually work against you. It can be overwhelming to try and change too many things at a time, which leads to giving up and throwing in the towel. If you pick your top three and really focus on those, you will be more likely to reach them. The trick is to start small and build up to your larger goals by breaking them down into smaller steps.

In today’s world of technology, there is an app for everything. If your goal is to exercise more, using an app to help you plan and track your workouts can help you stay focused. If your goal is to eat healthier, using an app to track your meals can help you better understand what foods have more benefits than others. If your goal is to save more money, using a budgeting app can help you track your spending, so you know where your money is going and can cut back if needed.

Choose Progress Over Perfection

Change is a process, and nothing great happens overnight. The Statue of Liberty was not built in one day, and the Mona Lisa was not painted in one night. Great things take time, and that includes your goals and resolutions. If your goal is to start working toward a new career by enrolling in school, realize that you are making progress toward your goal with every class you attend and every exam you take. It will take time to finish your degree and graduate, but when you do, you will be ready to achieve your goal of starting a new career.

While we all want things to be perfect, waiting until the exact perfect moment to do something often means that it will never get done because there never is a perfect moment. Things will never be exactly right, but if we want to move toward our goals and dreams, we have to jump and take the leap of faith.

Perfection doesn’t really exist; it’s just something we strive for that keeps us doing the same thing over and over again. For example, if you are trying to become a vegetarian, and you slip up and eat meat one day, that doesn’t mean you failed. Take note of what made you do this, and then try the next day again using what you learned to stay on track. Failure is not really failure if we learn from it and then do better next time. This literally changes failure into progress because when you do this each time, you’re getting better and better as you go.

Staying focused on your New Year’s resolutions and goals can be a challenge. It’s exciting initially, but as time goes, the excitement wears off, and motivation goes down. So how can we keep ourselves motivated all year long? There are a few great ways to do this. First, give yourself rewards for staying the course and continuing to work toward your goals. For example, if you’re going to school to start a new career, maybe you reward yourself with ice cream every time you pass an exam. Secondly, giving yourself daily affirmations to inspire you to keep going can be very powerful. If there are certain words or quotes that inspire you, put them where you will see them each morning when you first wake up. This can be a sticky note on your mirror or a notification on your phone!

A third way to stay motivated is to know your why. Remind yourself why you want to accomplish these goals and resolutions. What is driving you to improve your life? Maybe you want to start a better career for your family. Maybe you want to show your children what’s possible when you work hard toward your goals. On days when you get off track or want to give up, remembering your why can help keep you focused and committed.

Get Support of Family and Friends

The support of the people around you can literally make or break your goals. If you have a strong support network of family and friends, you are more likely to stick with your resolutions and achieve them. Also, finding a mentor or someone who is already where you want to be can accelerate your path toward reaching your goals because they can share tips from their own experiences with you. The key here is to purposely create this network of positive influence. Create your team of cheerleaders to motivate you along the way, and remember, it’s always okay to ask for help when you need it.

Another great option is to find an accountability partner. Maybe someone you know has the same New Year’s resolution that you do. Partner up with them to help keep each other motivated and on track. Schedule time for daily or weekly conversations to check in on each other and see how the other is doing. Having someone to talk to who is going through the same thing as you can make a huge difference!

Reach Your Career Goals With United

Now that you’re inspired to keep working toward your resolutions and goals all year long let United Career Institute be here to help you! If you want to get started in a new, exciting career in the healthcare field, we’ve got you covered! Explore our healthcare programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Billing and Coding, and request information today to get started!

Bethany Slezak – Student Highlight

Bethany Slezak is one of United Career Institute’s practical nursing students at the Irwin campus.She started the program in June of 2020 and will be graduating in June of 2021. She chose United Career Institute because she liked the idea of smaller classes, and she felt like it had a more family-like approach. Before she came to United, Bethany was working as an aide at a personal care home. She knew she wanted to go to nursing school because she likes taking care of people. She said, “I know it’s cliché to say that I want to take care of people, but it really is true. Specifically working with geriatrics, I want to give them the care they are entitled to.”

One of Bethany’s favorite parts about attending United is the instructors. She feels that they are very approachable and helpful to the students. “I love all of my instructors. They each have amazing qualities like their confidence, cleverness, intellect, humor, and are kindhearted. All things that I look up to.” Her favorite class so far has been Anatomy & Physiology. She said, “I find it fascinating how our bodies work. It is also the basis of Medical Surgical Nursing, so it’s great to see everything I’ve learned coming together!”

After she graduates, Bethany would like to start working in long term care. She wants to move on to Hospice care eventually. When we asked how she would like her life to be like in five years, she said, “I would like to be successful in my new career, married, and have some kiddos running around.”

If your story sounds similar to Bethany’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!

Thankful for Our Students in 2020

At United Career Institute, we strive to help each and every student reach their career goals. By providing continuous student support from the day you first contact us, all the way through graduation, and beyond, we work hard to help you start a fulfilling, successful career.

With healthcare training programs in essential areas like Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Billing and Coding, we can get you on the fast track to an exciting new career.

For us here at United, it’s an honor to train students in these essential healthcare areas, providing the education, skills, experience, and certification preparation to make a real impact in the local community.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’re sharing what we are most thankful for at United: our students!

Check out some of our favorite moments from this year!

Hands-On Training

While enrolled in our healthcare training programs, students experience hands-on training to learn real skills they will use on the job in their healthcare careers. Check out these United students as they practice real-life medical skills in their healthcare classes!

Qualified Professionals

Congratulations to all our students who have worked hard to complete their classes, earn professional certifications, pass their nursing boards, and get hired! Check out some of these amazing students featured in our short video!

Student Experience

We love providing students with a supportive and positive learning environment while they train for future healthcare careers! Check out some of the fun our students are having in our short video!

Join Us Today

Are you ready to start a new career as an essential healthcare worker? With fast-track programs, small classes, hands-on training, and student support, United Career Institute may be the perfect choice for you. Explore our programs and request information today to get started!

Victoria Moore – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to our November Student of the Month, Victoria Moore!

Victoria came to United from high school, where she was involved in many extracurricular activities. “I was involved in a handful of activities such as Marching Band, Medical Interest Club (MICSADD), Interact Club, and my school’s student committee (R.O.A.R.),” Victoria said. Victoria’s love for being hands-on is part of the reason she chose to attend United Career Institute in the first place. She said, “I chose United because of the opportunities it presented me. I am able to receive hands-on learning in an accelerated environment that offers the support I need for success.”

Victoria chose to enroll in United’s Medical Assisting program because she has long term plans for a career in the medical field. In addition to becoming a medical assistant, Victoria hopes to one day become a registered nurse. “I chose the MA program as a stepping stone. I am able to receive extra certifications as a phlebotomist and EKG tech. I felt like this was a good place to start my career journey,” she said. Many United students who choose to enroll in the Medical Assisting program do so for the same reason Victoria did. It is an excellent way to prepare for a more vigorous nursing program. United Career Institute also offers graduates of our Medical Assisting program a Nursing Pathway Grant to help continue their educational journey into nursing.

In addition to the hands-on experience she is gaining, Victoria’s favorite part of attending United is the supportive, family-like atmosphere. “We are all a family who supports one another! We celebrate our differences, strengths, and weaknesses.” While her favorite part of attending United Career Institute is the family-like atmosphere, Victoria’s favorite class is Medical Terminology. She said, “My favorite class so far is Medical Terminology! I am very good at memorization, so I excel in that class.”

Victoria has big dreams of becoming a nurse and she also knows which type of environment she would like to one day work in! “In five years, I want to have, or start, my RN. I would like to have a secure job before I settle down. I would love to work in a pediatric setting, like a doctor’s office,” she said.

Victoria is enjoying her experience at United so much that she would even refer friends here! “I feel like this school has it all. I would say that no other school will make you as prepared to achieve your dreams like United.”

If your story sounds similar to Victoria’s or if you have big dreams of a career in the medical field, request information here!

The Best Time to Start a Career Training Program is Now!

We have all experienced many changes this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people have been laid off from their jobs, some are learning how to homeschool their children, and some are experiencing a variety of other life changes.

For those who have experienced disruptions to their careers this year, deciding what to do next can be a challenge, especially when things are still so uncertain. You may be wondering how to start a more secure career or what is the best way to train for a new career.

Even though it may be a little overwhelming to take the next step in your career journey, doing so now can get you ahead and help you reach your career goals faster. If your goal is to start a new career as an essential healthcare worker, now is the perfect time to start a career training program, and this week, we’re sharing with you the many reasons why!

Train For A New Career

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown which jobs are essential, and healthcare industry workers are one of the most important categories of essential workers. Those who work in healthcare are on the front lines fighting for the health and safety of everyone. Doctors, nurses, medical assistants, medical office professionals, phlebotomy technicians, and many more have dedicated themselves to helping others throughout the pandemic.

Because these healthcare workers are so important and essential, choosing a career path in the medical field can provide you with increased job security now and in the future. Training for a new healthcare career now will prepare you to succeed in the medical field as an essential worker.

In addition to increased job security, enrolling in a healthcare training program and starting a career in the medical field also allows you to help people on a daily basis and truly make a difference in their lives, providing you with a more fulfilling and meaningful career.

Finish Your Degree Sooner

Another top reason for starting a career training program now is that the sooner you begin your degree or diploma program, the sooner you will finish. It may seem like an overwhelming decision to make and you may not feel perfectly ready, but the longer you wait, the longer it will be before you can start your new career.

At United Career Institute, our healthcare career training programs are designed to get you on the fast track to an exciting new career. Our healthcare degree and diploma programs are completed in less than 18 months, preparing you for a career in the medical field much faster than traditional university options.

Stay Closer To Home

With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still happening around us, many people are nervous about going away to college. Being away from family and having to interact with people from many other places are valid concerns during this time.

Even with these concerns, you can still take the next step in your career path by starting a career training program that is closer to home. Choosing a program that allows you to complete your healthcare training courses in a small-school environment and stay closer to home can ease your mind from some of the concerns you have, and also give you an increased support system by staying closer to friends and family.

Staying closer to home and attending a smaller school also gives you the opportunity to network and build positive relationships in your local healthcare community and with potential employers. Here at United, students complete real-world externships and clinicals at local medical facilities, giving you the opportunity to build relationships and get valuable experience.

Start Your Career Training At United

At United Career Institute, we are dedicated to your success while you are enrolled as a student and after graduation. Our family atmosphere provides you with a supportive learning environment to prepare for your exciting new career. With student services like academic advising, career advising, and personal advising, we help you to achieve your full potential and reach your career goals.

Explore our healthcare training programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Insurance Billing and Coding now to start your path to a new career. Request information to get started today!

Tillie Lishego – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Irwin would like to introduce one of our medical assisting students, Tillie Lishego! After discussing the different courses with her Admissions Advisor, Lynda Mayes, Tillie knew medical assisting was the program she wanted to pursue. Tillie Lishego-Student HighlightBecause she has never attended a post secondary school before, she was asked why she chose United Career Institute. “It seemed like a school I would like. It is small and personal with a positive environment that seemed like it would support me being able to learn well. I felt it was a place I would be able to thrive in.” Tillie is currently working at a local personal care home while also going to school full time.

Tillie’s favorite class so far has been Anatomy & Physiology 101. To her surprise, she thought it was an interesting course and she enjoyed learning how the body works. When asked who her favorite instructor is, she couldn’t pick one. She said that she never really liked school, but because of United’s instructors and staff, she loves it now! “The fact is, that no matter what the issue is, all of the staff and students are there to help each other. It is like one big family here and you can really just feel at home.”

Tillie is still looking into her post graduation options. She is considering either a doctor’s office or hospital. She wants to research the different positions offered at multiple locations. Later down the road she plans to have a career, not just a job. She hopes to be making more money and wants to get a house of her own. “I want to have a job I am proud of, and United Career is providing me an opportunity to do just that!”

How to Create SMART Career Goals

We all have goals that we want to accomplish in life and in our careers. Maybe you aren’t fulfilled in your current job and want a more rewarding career or maybe your goal is to be the first person in your family to graduate from a training program.

Regardless of what you want to achieve, setting SMART career goals can get you there! The most effective goals follow these five guidelines: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Using these criteria to create your SMART career goals gives you a higher chance of success. How exactly do you create SMART career goals? Keep reading as we share with you exactly how!

Specific

First, SMART career goals must be specific, so that you know exactly what to do in order to reach them. Here is a great example of a specific goal: I want to graduate from a Medical Assisting program in Westmoreland County within 18 months in order to begin a more rewarding career. This is a specific goal because it answers the following questions:

Now that you have answered these questions and created a specific goal, you know exactly what to do to achieve the goal.

Measurable

Next, you need to make sure your SMART career goals are measurable. Creating measurable goals ensures that you can track the progress you make toward your goals. As you take steps to reach your goals, you will be able to tell if you’re on track to meet them or if there is something you need to change.

Separating your larger goal into smaller chunks is the best way to do this. With the goal of completing a medical assisting program to start a more rewarding career, you could create milestones along the way for each class that is part of the program. This way, you are one step closer to your goal for each class you complete.

Attainable

As you create your SMART career goals, it’s essential to create ones that are attainable, because it’s hard to stay motivated to work toward a goal that’s not actually achievable. An example of an unattainable goal would be going to Mars next month. While this sounds like a great goal, it’s not actually attainable, because the technology to go to Mars doesn’t yet exist. Setting super high goals can seem like a good idea, but it can actually be demotivating, because you know you can’t accomplish them anyway.

In our medical assisting goal example, some things you should consider to ensure the goal is attainable for you is if can you commit the time required for the program, do you have the support system needed, and do you have any prerequisites that are required.

Relevant

The next thing you must do is ensure your SMART career goals are relevant to you. Here are some questions you should ask about each specific goal: Is this something you really want to achieve? Do you care enough to put in the work? Does this goal align with your other goals? Does this goal fit into your long-term plans?

For example, our medical assisting goal is relevant because it will help reach your dream of starting a more rewarding career. By achieving this goal, you’re working toward a long-term goal of being in a career that brings you more meaning and fulfillment.

Timely

Last, you need to ensure that your SMART career goals are timely. Creating a timely goal means that it has a time frame that you will complete the goal within. If you create a goal with no deadline, there is no sense of urgency to work toward the goal.

Create a deadline to reach the goal, but also create smaller deadlines for the milestones along the way. For example, with our medical assisting goal, you can create a deadline for taking each class, finishing your externship, and passing certification tests.

Achieve Your Goals with United

Now that you’ve created your SMART career goals, you’re ready to achieve your professional dreams! If you want to work in healthcare, helping your community by providing excellent patient care, United Career Institute has the fast track programs to help you get there.

Learn more and request information about our Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Phlebotomy programs to get started today!

New Year, New Career – Irwin

With the start of a new year, it’s the perfect time to evaluate and plan your next career move. Maybe you’re just starting out in your career and are unsure of what steps to take to get your dream job. Or maybe you feel stuck in your current job, but don’t know what to do to advance your career.

We’re here to help you get from where you are to where you want to be! As you set your New Year’s resolutions and goals, you can plan steps for yourself that will get you into a new, fulfilling career.

Check out the steps below to get started on your new career today!

Get Motivated

Before you can make a change or accomplish something great for yourself, you have to get motivated! Motivation is the reason that someone behaves in a particular way. It’s what gets you up in the morning and what encourages you to keep going when things get challenging. Getting motivated is essential for launching yourself into a new career.

In order to get yourself motivated, you need to know what it is that inspires and motivates you. Different people are motivated by different things, so ask yourself what exactly it is for you. For example, you may be motivated to create a better life for your family. After you figure out what drives you forward, keep this in mind as you set your goals, and let it inspire you in your daily life.

Learn New Skills

Now you’re motivated and ready to jump start your new career, but how do you do it? What specifically can you do today that will set you up for success? The answer to this question is to learn new skills! The professional world is constantly changing and if you’re not learning new skills, you can become stagnant in your career. That’s why gaining new skills, knowledge, and experiences are the best way to get you into a better career.

To help you achieve your career goals, we designed our healthcare training programs to give you the exact skills and knowledge employers need in job candidates. At United Career Institute, you will learn in a hands-on environment and have opportunities for real-world application with externships and clinicals.

Update Your Resume

Next, you need to update your resume to ensure you’re giving potential employers the most current information about your education, skills, and previous experiences. When crafting your resume, make sure it’s modern and professional, so you stand out from the crowd of candidates. Check out this previous blog post sharing our Top 5 Resume Tips to Get Noticed!

If you’ve already decided you want to learn new skills, feel free to add your current school and program to your resume. This shows potential employers you are serious about your career and working to achieve more. Just be sure to make it clear that you are still currently enrolled in a training program.

Start Your Job Search

You may think it’s too early to start your job search while still in school or attending a training program, but that’s exactly when you need to start! Begin by making a list of your ideal employers and researching their current job openings, hiring processes, and hiring managers. Follow these companies on social media and review their websites as well.

Once you have done this, you’ll have a much better idea of what it takes to get hired by each specific employer. Feel free to reach out to your top companies with questions you may have, as this will help you get to know the hiring process and company culture. Then, when you’re ready to apply for your new dream job, you will be one step closer!

Put Your Career on the Fast Track with United

Ready to launch yourself into a great new career now? Gain hands-on skills, knowledge, and real-world experience at United Career Institute. Learn more about our programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Phlebotomy today. Request information now to get started!