The Return to Campus

As more and more people get vaccinated, and things start opening back up, we are all transitioning back to our in-person lives. Our children are returning to school, many people have returned to their in-person jobs, and schools are bringing students back on campus.

Here at United Career Institute, we are so excited for our students to return to campus. Like before, there are many positive advantages of on-campus learning. When you enroll in a career-focused degree program here at United, you enjoy an interactive education, receive a variety of in-person support, and build great connections.

Interactive Education


Students who choose United to start their path to a successful career have an interactive educational experience. Our class sizes are small and intimate, so you receive personal attention and instruction from your teachers. We understand that each student has unique needs and learning preferences, so we work with you to ensure you have the support needed to excel in your classes.

While completing your healthcare degree program, you will learn hands-on skills to apply directly when you start your career. Our training programs include interactive labs that allow you to practice these skills with the guidance of your experienced instructors.

You also have the opportunity to complete an externship, providing you with real-world experience in your chosen career field. This on-the-job experience in a real healthcare setting gives you the confidence and credentials to set you up for success when applying for jobs.

In-Person Support

As you complete your interactive educational experience, we offer a variety of in-person support at both of our campuses. From the moment you first reach out to us, our helpful admissions team will guide you through the process of enrolling in school. From filling out your application to completing your FAFSA to registering for classes, we are here to help!

Once you are enrolled and begin your healthcare training program, our academic team will support you every step of the way as you complete your degree. We offer academic advising, tutoring services, help developing your study and test-taking skills, and help setting your academic goals.

As you get closer to completing your degree program, our career services team helps you prepare to succeed in getting a job and beyond. Your dedicated career services director will help you develop a five-year career plan, create your resume and cover letter, help you practice with mock interviews, and facilitate job interviews.

Great Connections

When you attend healthcare training classes at our Irwin or Mt. Braddock campus locations, you have the opportunity to build lasting connections with a variety of people, including the staff, your instructors, and your classmates. With our family atmosphere, you will feel right at home here in your classes.

Creating these meaningful connections while in school gives you a more enjoyable experience and helps you build your professional network, which can be valuable for years to come. You also have the opportunity to build connections with potential employers as you complete your externship experience.

At United, we truly care about you, your education, and your future success. We are dedicated to helping you reach your career goals with our WE CARE approach to education. Whatever you need to succeed, we are here to help you every step of the way.

Get Started Today

Are you looking for a school that offers career-focused degree programs and personalized support throughout your educational experience? Then you’ve come to the right place at United. Explore our Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing programs today. Request information now to get started!

Shaquna West – Student Highlight

The pandemic has forced changes in many people’s lives, and United Career Institute Medical Assisting student Shaquna West is, unfortunately, no different. “Before COVID hit, I was working as a kitchen manager and working full-time.” However, like so many other food industry workers, Shaq (as she likes to be referred to) found herself back at home being a full-time mother of 6. “I love being with my family, but I also had a desire to take my education and career to the next level. I started originally with Penn Foster but wasn’t getting the help when I needed it. I felt like I was on my own, so I hopped online and searched for medical assisting school, and United Career Institute was the first to pop up,” she said.

After talking to a United admissions advisor and scheduling a tour, Shaq decided to begin her classes. Her love for helping people and her dream of ultimately becoming a nurse has driven her in her studies. “I love the smaller classes at UCI, because it allows the instructors to focus on the students. If you need help, they go the extra mile to get you the information you need.” Shaq listed Arianna as one of her favorite teachers because she pushes her to do better in everything, giving her the motivation she needs. She also enjoys Kelly Clark’s classes because she breaks everything down into terms that are easy for her and the other students to understand.

Shaq looks to the future often, and when she graduates, she envisions her dream career as one where she works in MaGee’s Women’s Hospital or Children’s Hospital. Five years from now, she can see herself continuing her education until she becomes a registered nurse.

In conclusion, Shaq felt obligated to express her feelings about referring others to the United Irwin Campus. “It’s a great school, and they truly put the students first. Everyone is so helpful and willing to get you any information you need!”  With Shaquna’s dedication and work ethic, we certainly see her being successful during her program here!

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

What’s the Difference Between a CNA and MA?

Many people want to start a career in the healthcare field, and for a good reason. The healthcare industry continues to grow rapidly, and the variety of jobs available is expanding as well. Working in healthcare also gives you the chance to help people and make a difference in their lives when they need it most.

There are so many opportunities to begin a healthcare career that it can be confusing to try and figure it out on your own. With this in mind, we’re going to help by explaining the difference between a certified nursing assistant and a medical assistant.

Career Outlook


The career outlook for medical assistants is promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for medical assistants in the United States from 2019-2029 is 19%, well above the 4% average growth rate for all occupations. This means that there will be even more medical assistants needed in the future, and employers will need qualified people to fill these positions.

For certified nursing assistants in the United States, the BLS estimates that the growth rate will be 8% between 2019 and 2029. This is still more than the average rate of 4% but not anywhere near as high as the growth rate for medical assistants.

Skills Required

Medical assistants perform various duties while on the job, including both clinical and administrative tasks that focus on assessing patients and helping doctors with patient care and treatment. Skills a medical assistant needs to learn include taking vital signs, helping with examinations, giving injections, preparing lab tests, and handling patient information.

At United, medical assisting students have the opportunity to practice their hands-on skills in a real healthcare setting as part of an externship. This real-world experience sets students up for success as they begin applying for jobs and start their careers.

Certified nursing assistants focus more on direct patient care and help with daily living activities. Performing baths and cleaning patients, helping patients get dressed and use the bathroom, moving patients between beds and wheelchairs, feeding patients, and changing linens are all common necessary skills of certified nursing assistants.

Training Needed

To start a career in medical assisting, you will need specialized training that prepares you for this specific job. Most medical assisting degree programs can be completed in under two years and include classroom instruction and hands-on skills. It’s also a good idea to choose a medical assistant program that includes preparation for professional certifications, as many employers prefer candidates who have these credentials.

For example, in our Medical Assisting program here at United, students learn valuable knowledge and practice their hands-on skills in their medical assisting classes, labs, and externship. Students also prepare for healthcare certifications specific to being a medical assistant, including the National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician** certifications.

To become a certified nursing assistant, specialized training is required for this career path, and it is usually completed in under six months. The training must be state-approved and typically teaches direct patient care, patient safety, and documentation. CNAs must also pass a competency exam and complete a number of hours of hands-on clinical training, which varies by state.

Work Environment

According to BLS data, medical assistants are most likely to work in physician’s offices, with 57% employed there in 2019. Another 15% is working in hospitals, and the rest in outpatient care centers and at chiropractors. Most medical assistants are full-time employees with 40-hour workweeks. Medical assisting professionals who work in medical facilities that are always open, like hospitals, may work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

According to the BLS, certified nursing assistants are more likely to work in nursing care facilities, with 37% working there, and hospitals, with 27% working there. The remainder of nursing assistants work in retirement and assisted living facilities, home healthcare services, and government. The job duties are more physically demanding and strenuous, as CNAs are on their feet a lot of the time and expected to lift over 50 pounds. Most certified nursing assistants work full time, but some work part-time. They may work longer shifts and more on nights, weekends, and holidays.

Get Started

Now you know the difference between medical assistants and certified nursing assistants! If you’ve decided to go with medical assisting for your career, we may have the perfect Medical Assisting program for you. With hands-on training, academic support, and career services, we can help you reach your career goals. Request information today to get started!

 

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Required/included in tuition/fees.

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam. Optional at own expense.

Sterile Gloving Procedure

Hands-on clinical skills and training are such a vital component of United Career Institute’s healthcare programs. Watch the video to witness one of our practical nursing students demonstrate one of the many skills our students learn during their time in the Practical Nursing program. Practical Nursing instructor Stacey Mantich guides student Lindsey Harris through the proper sterilization technique for surgical gloving. Our students’ other skills include conducting physical assessments, administering medications, caring for wounds, performing IV therapy, performing phlebotomy and giving injections, and many others.

If you see yourself in a healthcare career such as Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, or Medical Billing and Coding, click here to learn more. Enjoy the demonstration!

Healthcare Career Training

At United, we work hard to empower our students to succeed at school, in their careers, and life. With hands-on skills, fast-track classes, and personalized instruction, we’re here for you every step of the way!

Hands-On Skills

Our healthcare training programs teach students essential hands-on skills that you need to excel in your future career. You will practice these skills in our on-campus classrooms and labs, gaining valuable knowledge and experience.

You will also practice your hands-on skills during the externship or clinical that’s part of your program. Completing an externship or clinical experience gives you the chance to apply what you’ve learned in the real world. This also gives you great experience to add to your resume when you begin applying for jobs.

Fast-Track Classes

We train students for fulfilling healthcare careers with fast-track classes that get you through school and into your career faster. We understand that you don’t want to spend 4-6 years in school, wasting time and money. Our healthcare degree and diploma programs are designed to give you the exact knowledge and skills you need for your chosen career, without a bunch of general education classes.

At United, you are able to complete school and graduate faster because all our programs are direct admission, meaning you begin taking classes for your career right when you start school. For example, our direct admission Practical Nursing program is completed in only 12 months because you are accepted directly into the program.

Personalized Instruction

Every student who walks through our doors has unique educational needs. We strive to provide each student with personalized instruction to learn the way that fits you best. Our instructors truly care about their students’ success, and work with you one-on-one to complete your classes.

We offer academic support to empower each student to reach their full potential. Some of the services we offer include creating an academic plan, developing better study skills, and providing tutoring.

Get Started Today

Are you ready to get started on your path to an exciting career in healthcare? Explore our healthcare programs and request information today!

Medical Assisting Student Begins Externship

One of the key elements of United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program is the opportunity to complete a 12-week externship at the end of the program. An externship can set the groundwork for your future career by allowing students to obtain on-the-job experience in a real-world setting. An extern works alongside existing employees in the form of “shadowing experience.” This experience under the watchful eye of seasoned staff or faculty members allows students to build on the skills gained in the classroom and school labs and demonstrate knowledge in a work setting.

We caught up with Medical Assisting student Amanda Cluss, who recently began her externship at Excela West Center for Internal Medicine, and asked her what her experience has been like so far. “More than anything, everyone I’ve met has been so helpful and informative. They go out of their way to assist you in getting started, and I love the work environment there; everyone works as a team!” Amanda’s experience is not unique. Many United Career students echo very similar experiences with all the healthcare providers that assist the school in placing externs, such as UPMC, Allegheny Health Network, Premier Medical, and MedExpress, in naming a few. United’s working relationship with leaders in healthcare provides such a vast exposure to different types of settings a student may wish to start their career in. Excela is no exception!

Excela Health, one of the region’s leading providers of advanced medical care, was founded in 2004. Excela Health brought together three hospitals – Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant, Latrobe Hospital in Latrobe, and Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg – along with other health care affiliates to meet the health care needs of those in Westmoreland, northern Fayette, and southern Indiana counties.

To serve the needs of the communities better, they actively recruit new physicians and currently have a medical staff of more than 700 physicians and allied health professionals in 35 clinical specialties, along with more than 4,800 employees and 797 volunteers. At the same time, they work to enhance access to their services through outpatient locations all across the region.

Having this opportunity has already done so much for Amanda. “It has allowed me to immediately bring my confidence up, and it has shined a light on the discipline in which I would like to start my career,” she says.

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

United Learning Experience

For those who have never been to our campuses, we want to give you a sneak peek of what it’s like for students who attend United Career Institute. Our Irwin and Mt. Braddock campuses train students for rewarding healthcare careers. Read on to discover what it’s like to attend school at United!

Hands-On Skills

Students enrolled in our healthcare training programs have the opportunity to learn a variety of hands-on skills that are essential for their future careers. Practicing these skills gives you valuable experience that you will need while on the job caring for real patients or dealing with real office situations. Check out some of the awesome hands-on skills United students have practiced in their classes!

Classroom Instruction

At United, we provide students with up-to-date classrooms and labs to complete your classes and earn your degree. You will learn from experienced instructors who truly care about you and your career. Our classroom and clinical lab instructors support you in every way possible with a one-on-one approach to education. Check out United students enjoying their educational experience in the classroom!

Certification Prep

We understand that today’s employers want candidates who are qualified and prepared to perform their specific job. That’s why our healthcare programs include training and preparation for certifications* or licenses that are valued by healthcare employers. As a student, you will prepare for those that are specific to your chosen program. Check out some of our students as they prepare for and celebrate earning their professional healthcare certifications!

Student Success

Our purpose is to empower change by creating opportunity, and we are dedicated to this mission every day. We strive to help every student realize their dreams of having a successful, fulfilling career. As you go through your learning experience with United, we are here for you every step of the way, from when you first contact us to learning in your classes to graduation and beyond. Check out some of our awesome students and graduates and request information today to get started on your own path to a successful career!

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam.

Kyle Bair – Student Highlight

Irwin, Pennsylvania is a good distance from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There’s little chance anyone would confuse the two of them, but that is precisely the route that Practical Nursing student Kyle Bair took that brought him to United Career Institute Irwin Campus. “I was living in Lake Tahoe and going to Sierra Nevada College before I came to United Career.
Overall it was a good experience, but I moved back this way, and United was the closest school to me for what I wanted.” Kyle was working at a local nursing home as an aide when he decided to go back to school. “I knew helping people is what I’ve always wanted to do, and what better way to accomplish that than becoming a nurse.” Kyle started the fast-track Practical Nursing (LPN) program in June of 2020 and is set to graduate in June of this year.

We asked Kyle what his favorite part of the program has been so far, and he was quick to answer all of the curriculum and information he has absorbed. “I have a thirst for knowledge, and there is no shortage of that here, and so far, my favorite class has been A&P.” When it comes to instructors, he said, “they all have been very good, but if he had to pick his favorite it would be Tina Fenyus,” who he had for Pharmacology, Nutrition and Med Surg.

Kyle likes to think of himself as a nomad, so it’s no surprise his ideal occupation after graduating would be a travel nurse. In 5 years, he hopes his career is steady, and he has a lot of travel under his belt. When asked if he would refer a friend to United Career Institute, Kyle didn’t hesitate, “Absolutely! Nursing is tough, but I enjoy my classmates, and we support each other. This is a great school, and if you are willing to put the work in, the reward is well worth it!” United couldn’t be happier to have Kyle as one of our students.

If you’re looking for a fast-track, Practical Nursing program in Westmoreland County, then request information here!

4 Tips For High School Seniors Choosing A School In 2021

This school year has been very different for high school seniors, but one thing has not changed: each of you must decide what you’re going to do after you graduate from high school.

Graduating in the middle of a pandemic can seem scary and be filled with uncertainty. At United Career Institute, we are here to help you every step of the way. Check out our top four tips for high school seniors choosing a school in 2021!

Know Your Options

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many things, but as a high school senior, you still have a variety of options after graduation. You could go straight into the workforce with a job in retail or food service. You could attend a traditional university and plan to spend the next 4-6 years there. If you don’t want to spend this much time and money in school, a career-focused degree may be the better choice for you.

Like the ones offered here at United Career Institute, accelerated degree programs allow you to finish school quicker, saving you time and money as you earn your degree.

To help you choose the option that’s right for you, talk with your parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and friends. Listen to their thoughts on the different options, as they may bring up points that you hadn’t thought about. You should always do your own research because, at the end of the day, you are the one making this choice. Deciding what to do after you graduate high school is a big deal and can impact your life now and in the future.

Make Your Plan

Now that you know your options for after high school, it’s time to create a plan that works for you. Your plan will depend on what you want to do in your career. For example, if you want to become a licensed practical nurse, you will need to attend training that prepares you for the NCLEX-PN exam. Write your career goals down, including what field you want to work in and what specific job you want to perform.

If you are unsure about what career is best for you, consider taking our career test or finding one online to complete. A career test can help guide you in the direction best for you by taking into consideration your strengths, interests, skills, and experiences.

For those of you who already know what career you want, now you need to figure out how to get there. What degree, skills, and experience do you need? Does your career require a specific certification or license? Will you need to be trained in specific areas and tasks? Answering these questions will help guide you to the right school that offers what you need to succeed.

Start Applying Now

You’ve made your plan, so now you’re ready to begin applying to the school that best fits your needs. Research the schools that offer the degree or career training program you need to work in your chosen career field. In addition to your program, find out what other services and learning environments are offered by the schools. Some questions to ask include:

  • Are the classes accelerated or traditional length?
  • In what ways does the school support students?
  • Is there hands-on training included in the program?
  • What career services are offered to students?
  • Does the school have positive online reviews?

Once you decide on the school you want to attend, contact them to get started. You may be able to take a virtual tour of the school to get a feel for what it’s like. Be sure to write down any questions you have about the program or school so that when you meet with them for an admissions interview, you will be prepared.

Complete the Process

Once you have applied to your chosen school, it’s time to complete the process to get enrolled. When you meet with an admissions advisor, they will let you know what you need to enroll in your program. Be sure to plan for due dates for items you must complete, such as entrance exams and essays. You will also need to complete your FAFSA and apply for any scholarships you may qualify for.

At United Career Institute, our helpful admissions advisors work with you one-on-one to create a career plan designed just for you. We understand each student is unique, with different goals, needs, and educational experience requirements. Our admission advisors guide you through the enrollment process from the moment you contact us to starting your classes and beyond. We are here to help you every step of the way.

If you’re a high school student wondering what to do after graduation, call us or request information today, and we will help you get started on your path to a great career!

Stacey Davis – Staff Highlight

“Being in control of your own motivation and happiness is a great feeling!” Those are the words of the newest team member of United Career Institute Irwin’s Campus, Stacy Davis. “I like to motivate myself, and that can be very rewarding.” Stacey’s path to joining our team may not have been a traditional one. She graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Marketing and put that education to use by moving to New York City, where she was a fashion blogger and involved with social media marketing. She recalls that move as one of her proudest moments, and says “I moved to NYC on a whim, and it was terrifying! But I’m so glad I pushed myself to do it, and it was an experience that I will never forget!”

Upon returning to the area, Stacey worked in the restaurant industry and recently managed a wedding venue as a wedding coordinator. She relates that experience to why she originally applied for Front Desk/Registrar at UCI-Irwin. “I like seeing and helping people when they are happy and pursuing their dreams. That certainly is the case as they plan for their wedding, and I believe that is the case for students beginning their path to reach their career goals.” She says she chose to work at UCI because she liked the atmosphere from the very beginning, and she made her final decision based on her favorite thing so far, the people. “Everyone has been so nice and welcoming; it’s like an extended family.” Stacey sees herself as a creature of comfort and would love to have a long career at UCI. She believes her attention to detail and organizational skills will help her tremendously in her role.

To say Stacey might be a little bit of a cat person is an understatement. Stacey and her husband once decided to foster a group of kittens for the local animal rescue shelter. “Our guest bedroom quickly turned into a kitten sanctuary until they were able to be adopted out. It was really wonderful for us, even though my cats didn’t particularly like all the extra house guests.”

So far, Stacey’s Type A personality has been a great fit for our school and our students, and she has been a quick study on the responsibilities of her position. Join me in welcoming Stacey to the United Career Institute Irwin’s family and being a super addition to our team!