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!

Jennifer George – Graduate Highlight

Jennifer George had been working as a hospital tech in Latrobe and Westmoreland Hospital through Excela Health for two and a half years when she started her conquest to find the perfect school to further her healthcare education. However, she, like many of our students, did not have any postsecondary education experience and wasn’t sure where to look. Fortunately, Jennifer’s co-workers and former UCI graduates were happy to point her in the right direction. Through the interview and admissions process, Jennifer realized that she had made the right choice. When asked why, she stated “I was so nervous and scared and the staff and instructors made the transition an easy experience. They were awesome.”Jennifer Georgen - Graduate Highlight

When asked why she chose her program of study Jennifer stated, “I knew that it was only one year and that in one year I would be working doing something that I have always loved and this would help me work my way towards entering the LPN program.”

Jennifer stated that the best part of attending UCI was that “the teachers treat you like you are one of them, always with open arms no matter what you are struggling with. They take the time to help you understand the material no matter what it takes.” Jennifer said that her favorite instructor was Kelli Workman. “If I wasn’t confident in myself she was always cheering me on and letting me know that I could do it. I just had to have faith in myself.” Her favorite classes were her clinical courses instructed by Jade Teets.

Jennifer’s short term goal is to return to United for the Practical Nursing program. She has already been accepted into the 2020 fall class. Jennifer is still gainfully employed through Excela Health. When asked where she sees herself in five years, Jennifer said, “I am working as nurse with the help of all the nursing instructors at United Career Institute.” When asked if she would refer a friend, she said, “yes, and I already have. Some of my coworkers are now interested in the school’s Practical Nursing Program. This is by far the greatest school.”

To learn more about United’s Practical Nursing program, request info here!

Kelly Shriver – Medical Program Director Highlight

Meet Kelly Shriver, the medical program director at our United Career Institute Irwin campus! Kelly is in charge of the Medical Assisting, Medical Insurance Billing and Coding, and Phlebotomy programs. Her journey began at the Indiana County Technology Center where, in 2012, she received her diploma in Medical Assisting. After that, she attended Robert Morris University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health Service Administration.

Before joining the United Career Institute team, Kelly worked for Excela Health for almost seven years. She started there as a Medical Assistant in the Neurology practice, and then moved to a family practice where she stayed for two years. She then worked as a Quality Coordinator for a year. After that, Kelly held the title of OET Specialist and OET Team Lead while working in the Organization, Education, and Training Team. For two years, she taught courses in the evening for the Medical Assisting program at the Indiana County Technology Center’s New Stanton Campus.

Kelly Shriver-Medical Program Director Highlight

Kelly has been with United Career Institute for almost a year now. When asked why she chose to work at United, Kelly responded, “At Excela I was responsible for training new employees and I got the itch to teach again. When I saw the position I knew I had to apply. After interviewing I got to see the true family nature UCI had and that is when I knew it was the place for me.”

Kelly often gets asked what the classes are like by her students. She tells them that it varies depending on the instructor, but each class is unique. She tries to reassure the students that United will be able to provide them the necessary tools to be successful in their classes. Some will be more difficult than others, but they will be able to get through them!

We asked Kelly why she recommends that students consider going into the medical field. She responded, “The medical field is always going to be there. People will always need healthcare. Choosing to enter the medical field is a great career choice because there are so many options available to you.” To be successful, Kelly suggests learning to be compassionate. You will interact with patients of all different kinds of backgrounds and health statuses. She also recommends showing a willingness to learn. Being flexible and able to adapt are useful characteristics.

Kelly is proudest of achieving her dream of earning a Bachelor’s degree. “I was able to get my degree while working two jobs and having a baby. It wasn’t easy to balance everything, but it never stopped me. I was determined to get it.” Her daughter Harper motivates her. “I want her to see that anything she puts her mind to is possible.”

Something interesting that not many people know about Kelly is that she always wanted to be a special education teacher. She knew in the fourth grade that it was something she really wanted. Although she didn’t choose that career path, she did know that she wanted to help people.

To learn more about United’s healthcare programs, request information here!

The Value of Externships

The Value of Externships

A key component of all United Career Institute medical programs is an externship with local employers. It provides a real world aspect to the program and gives students valuable hands-on experience that enhances the skills they learn in the classroom. Externships also provide students a great opportunity to network with other healthcare professionals in their chosen field and get a good idea of the culture of a given employer. Whether it is a 2 week externship in the Phlebotomy program, or a 12 week externship in the Medical Assisting program, we encourage our students to look at their time during externships at a job interview of sorts. Often times, employers use this time as an opportunity to evaluate both clinical and soft skills and how a potential employee may fit in with the company long term.

While UCI students are on their externship, they obtain career-focused experience such as checking vital signs, point of care testing, specimen collection, phlebotomy, and sterilization procedures.

These valuable externships would not be possible without the support of local employers. United Career Institute Irwin is so thankful that our local employers like Excela Health, Allegheny Health Network, UPMC, and Premier Medical Associates have provided the opportunities for our students to complete this on the job training.