Hands-on clinical skills are a critical component in our allied health programs at United Career Institute. Watch the video to observe one of the many skills learned in our Medical Assisting program. Allied Health Program Director, Kelly Shriver, guides two of her medical assisting students through performing a proper eye examination.
United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to our new Allied Health Programs Director, Kelly Shriver! Kelly oversees all allied health programs, including Medical Billing/Administration, Medical Assisting, and Clinical Medical Assistant (our 12-month diploma program.)
Though Kelly is new to the United Mt. Braddock family, she has been a part of the United Irwin family since its inception in 2019. We are so happy to have her as part of both teams now!
Kelly’s educational background is in healthcare. She graduated from Indiana County Technology Center with her diploma in Medical Assisting and from Robert Morris University with her Bachelors of Science in Health Services Administration.
Kelly has a plethora of experience in the healthcare industry. Before coming to United, she worked at places such as Excela Health and her alma mater. She says, “I started my career as a medical assistant working in a neurology practice at Excela Health. I moved into a family practice setting 8 months later. After working in family practice for almost 3 years, I was promoted to be a quality coordinator. I worked closely with physicians to make sure patients were receiving all their necessary health screenings. After a year in this role, I was approached to join the organizational, education, and training team, which I happily accepted. One year into that role, I was promoted to team lead. While working full time at Excela Health, I also taught for two years at Indiana County Technology Center for their evening adult Medical Assistant program.”
Training future medical professionals is one of Kelly’s favorite parts of working at United. “I wanted to get back into being an instructor as it was something I truly enjoyed doing. Training future medical assistants is really where I saw myself working,” she said. She also loves the familial atmosphere at United. “From the top of the ladder down, everyone truly cares about you and your wellbeing. It really is a great place to work with amazing people,” she continued.
In addition to training future medical professionals, Kelly is motivated by her daughter, Harper. She said, “My daughter Harper motivates me more than anything else. I want to show her that no matter what she wants to do in life, she can achieve it with hard work, dedication, and love. I want to be the best role model I can be for her.”
Kelly is most proud of her academic accomplishments, specifically her time at Robert Morris. “I am most proud of graduating magna cum laude from Robert Morris because I started my program while working a full-time and part-time job and finished it with a newborn baby. Achieving a high GPA was an amazing accomplishment,” she said.
Kelly has some big plans for her future, both in her education and career! “My long-term career goals would be to further my education by getting my master’s in the field of education. Down the line, I would love to take on a more leadership-oriented role in the organization, too,” she said!
Something you may not know about Kelly is that she wanted to be a special education teacher growing up. “I wanted to be a special education teacher, specifically at the elementary level. I went to elementary school with an autistic boy, and working with him on a daily basis made me so happy. Even though I didn’t end up doing that as a profession, I am still happy where life took me.”
Are you ready to make the move into an exciting healthcare career? Or maybe you want to advance your current career but aren’t sure where to start? Whatever your unique situation may be, we’ve got you covered at United Career Institute.
We have many years of experience helping students achieve their career goals by providing the training and education necessary to get started. From the time you first reach out to us to graduation and beyond, we support our students through every step of getting an education and starting their new careers.
Now is a perfect time if you are ready to get on the fast track to a new healthcare career. We are currently accepting applications for fall classes. Read on to find out exactly how to enroll and jump-start your new career!
Explore Our Programs
The first step to enrolling in fall classes is to decide which healthcare training program is best for you. To make this decision, ask yourself a few questions: do I want to work directly with patients, do I want to work in an office setting, and what skills do I want to learn?
For students who want to work directly with patients in a clinical setting, our Practical Nursing program may be the best choice for you. As a licensed practical nurse, you get to work directly under doctors and registered nurses to provide medical care to patients. Some of the skills students will learn while enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at United are conducting physical assessments, administering medications, caring for wounds, and performing routine lab tests. This comprehensive nursing program prepares students for the NCLEX-PN° exam, which is required to work as a licensed practical nurse.
If you want to work directly with patients but in more of a medical office setting, our Medical Assisting program may work best for you. As a medical assistant, your focus will be on helping with patient care and treatment while completing administrative and clinical tasks. Skills you’ll practice as you complete your medical assisting classes to include taking vital signs, collecting medical specimens, drawing blood, and giving injections. While in this program, students prepare to sit for professional certifications including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**.
If you want to work more on the administrative side of healthcare, our Medical Billing/Administration program could be perfect for you. As a medical billing and administrative professional, you will be focused on helping medical facilities run smoothly by managing the front office operations. For students who choose the Medical Billing/Administration program, you will learn valuable skills such as performing basic coding, maintaining electronic health records, handling billing and transcribing doctor’s notes. As you complete your medical office classes, you will prepare for professional certifications, including Certified Billing and Coding Specialist*, Certified Medical Administrative Assistant**, and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist**.
Meet Your Admissions Advisor
Now that you know more about the healthcare training programs we offer, it’s time to meet with an admissions advisor. To set up this meeting, request information now, or call our Irwin Campus at 724-515-2440 or our Mt. Braddock Campus at 724-437-4600. Our admissions advisors are friendly and ready to help you with anything you need to get started in your chosen career training program.
You will meet with your dedicated admissions advisor, who will walk you through the enrollment process. In this meeting, you will learn more about United Career Institute, the classes you will take as part of your program, and our proven process for helping you get into your new career. You will get the opportunity to ask any questions you have about United or our programs.
Your admissions advisor will give you a tour of the campus, so you can see the classrooms and labs, meet some of your instructors, and get a feel for what it’s like to attend United. You can complete your admissions meeting and campus tour in person or virtually.
Find Out About Financial Aid
Next, it’s time to meet with a financial aid advisor to learn more about the financial aid options that you may qualify for. Your financial aid advisor will explain the process to you and help you apply for the various financial aid programs.
Some of the financial aid resources that you will learn more about include federal grants, state grants, student loans, and veteran GI Bill programs. To determine which of these financial aid options you may qualify for, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial aid advisor can help you accurately complete your FAFSA.
Additionally, we offer several internal grants that students could qualify for if eligible, including the Nursing Pathway Grant***, Early Admission Grant***, and United Commitment Grant***.
Getting Registered for Classes
The final step is to register for your healthcare classes. At United, we take the work out of registering for classes. We will get you registered each term, so you don’t have to worry about not getting into the classes you need.
Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have everything you need to succeed in your healthcare courses. Get your supplies ready, make time for homework, and talk with your family and friends about any support you will need to excel in your program.
Now that you know exactly how to enroll for fall classes, you’re ready to get on the fast track to a new career. Contact us now to get started!
*Certification is contingent on passing the corresponding certification exam. Required/included in tuition/fees.
**Certification is contingent on passing the corresponding certification exam. Optional at own expense.
***For those who qualify. See catalog for detailed eligibility requirements.
°Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.
Prior to attending United, Allison was working with the elderly at a nursing home. She knew she had a passion for helping people and wanted to find a school that would set her up to continue to do that in her career. She said, “I chose United because it looked like a promising school. I was absolutely correct about my expectations. I’m so grateful I chose this school.”
Allison chose United’s Medical Assisting program because of her love for helping people and her desire to learn all she can about the medical field and have a meaningful impact on the community around her. “I have a passion for helping people. I want to make a difference in this community and become very educated in my field of study,” she said.
There were many things about United Career Institute that Allison enjoyed. Among these things were the curriculum and the “amazing teachers,” but first and foremost, she liked that she was treated as an individual. “Everyone knew you as who you were, and [you were] not just a number,” she said.
Allison cites the “amazing teachers” as one of her favorite things about United, but one instructor, in particular, stands out as her favorite. “My favorite teacher was Kelli Workman. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She pushed me to my greatest potential. She knew I had the courage within me and encouraged me. I’m so thankful to have had her while I attended this school,” Allison said.
Allison graduated from United Career Institute a few short weeks ago, and we are so excited to announce that she will be returning to United for our Practical Nursing program! Many students who dream of becoming a nurse choose to start their journey in the medical field with United’s Medical Assisting program. This allows students to gain a base knowledge in a less stressful and rigorous environment.
Allison has some very admirable goals for the next five years. She says, “In five years, I would love to be at my forever job. I can’t wait to be a nurse and helping people every day of my life. The ultimate goal is to be unconditionally happy.”
When asked if she would refer a friend to United Career Institute, Allison said, “Absolutely. This is a great environment to learn and grow as a person.”
Many people dream of starting a career in the healthcare industry, and maybe you are one of them. The healthcare field is continuing to grow, and the different types of available jobs are also increasing. When you work in healthcare, you have the chance to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them when they need it most.
With so many different opportunities to starting your healthcare career, it can be challenging to figure it all out. To help you do this, we’re explaining the difference between a medical assistant and a licensed practical nurse. Keep reading to learn more about these healthcare career options!
Medical assistants have a promising career outlook here in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, medical assistants have a projected growth rate of 19% from 2019 to 2029. This is very high compared to the average growth rate of 4% for all other occupations. This means that employers will need even more qualified and skilled medical assistants in the future to fill open positions.
The BLS estimates the projected growth rate for licensed practical nurses will be 9% for 2019 to 2029. This is also more than the 4% growth rate for all occupations, but not as high as the growth rate for medical assistants. This means that employers will also need skilled and well-trained licensed practical nurses at a higher rate in the future.
Medical assistants complete both clinical and administrative tasks while on the job, focusing on assessing patients and helping with care and treatment. They need to learn various skills, including performing lab tests, practicing phlebotomy, taking vital signs, assisting with minor surgeries, and performing EKGs.
For those who choose to become a licensed practical nurse, the focus is more on providing basic medical care while working under the supervision of doctors and registered nurses. Skills a licensed practical nurse needs include performing IV therapy, caring for wounds, assisting patients with daily activities, and monitoring medical equipment.
At United, our Practical Nursing program gives students the opportunity to gain valuable experience practicing their skills as they complete their clinicals while in the program. With this valuable hands-on experience, Practical Nursing students are ready for their careers in just one year.
To start a career as a medical assistant, you will need to prepare for this specific job via specialized training. Most medical assisting programs are comprised of both classroom instruction and hands-on skills and are completed in under two years. It is also beneficial to choose a Medical Assistant Degree program that will prepare you for professional certifications, as many of today’s healthcare employers prefer certified candidates.
For example, students enrolled in our Medical Assisting program at United learn valuable knowledge in the classroom and practice their hands-on skills in labs and their externship. Additionally, students prepare for professional healthcare certifications, including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**.
To become a licensed practical nurse, students are required to complete a state-approved program that can usually be completed in one year. Students are trained in areas like nursing, pharmacology, and biology. After graduating from a practical nursing program, students must take the NCLEX-PN° exam and pass to be employed as a licensed practical nurse in their state.
According to BLS data, 57% of medical assistants work in a physician’s office, and 15% work in hospitals. The remainder of medical assistants works in outpatient care centers and at chiropractors. Most medical assisting positions are full-time with a 40 -hour workweek. Those who choose to work in healthcare facilities that are open all the time, like hospitals, for example, may be required to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Licensed practical nurses are more likely to work in nursing and residential care facilities, with 38% working there, 15% working in hospitals, 13% in physicians’ offices, 13% in-home healthcare services, and 6% in government, according to BLS data. LPNs are required to be on their feet for a lot of the workday, and they need the ability to lift patients who cannot care for themselves. Due to the type of healthcare facilities they work in, many practical nurses must work nights, weekends, and holidays.
Now that you have a good understanding of the difference between medical assistants and licensed practical nurses, you can decide on the best way to start your healthcare career!
°Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.
*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.
Amber started her journey with United as a student in our Medical Assisting degree program. She said, “I attended United before for the Medical Assisting program, and I had a very good experience. Everyone was very helpful, and you learned a lot of information that helps in the long run.”
Many United students who have long-term dreams of being nurses choose to start their journey in the Medical Assisting program. This program is slower-paced than the Practical Nursing program so that students can gain a base knowledge of the medical field in a less stressful environment. Students can often work while attending school because the United Medical Assisting program is a smaller time commitment than our Practical Nursing program. This was the case with Amber. “I was working at Mount Macrina Manor nursing home as a CNA and went to school for Medical Assisting at United. After I got my MA certification, I got a job at Adagio and worked there full time until it was time for me to start the PN class,” she said.
Amber discovered United when she was still in high school and trying to determine what to do with the rest of her life. “I was at a job fair in Cal U while still in high school, and the school really caught my eye. I took the brochures home and was deciding which program I wanted to do. When I went for a tour of the school, [it]wasn’t too big or too small, and all the people there seemed very kind and inviting when you came in. I just knew that the school was a place for me, and it was going to be a good experience.”
Amber has many family members who work in the medical field, and that is what initially got her interested in a long-term career in healthcare. “All my family is in the medical field, and they encouraged me to go for nursing. But, most importantly, my mother and boyfriend are my biggest support systems, and they are the ones that pushed me to go further, and I’m glad that I made the decision to become a nurse,” she said.
The hands-on clinical experience she gets is Amber’s favorite part of attending United, and her favorite instructor is Danielle. She also really loved her Med Surg class. She said, “This class was very fast-paced and a lot of information, but I loved learning about all the different diseases and disorders that can happen and how to take care of the patients while they are sick.”
Amber’s ideal job after graduation is no surprise, considering how much she loved her fast-paced Med Surg class. “I would like to work as either a trauma nurse, ER nurse, or on the Med Surg floor. I like a fast-paced environment with a lot of things to do,” she said.
In five years, Amber hopes to be working as a trauma nurse in a hospital, but her educations dreams haven’t ended either! “I also see me furthering my education by becoming an RN or going for NP,” she says.
Amber had this to say about her overall experience at United. “I would refer a friend to United because this school is great for someone who wants to be in the medical field but does not want to go to a large college to become a nurse. You get a lot of great education attending this school, and I would want my friend to get the same experience I got.”
Career services at United Career Institute assist students with their experience while giving them the edge they’ll need for future job prospects. Whether you’re a traditional or nontraditional student, returning to school, or just starting your journey, United’s career services are here for you.
We are committed to helping you achieve your goals, which is why we offer career readiness, professional development, and continuing assistance to all of our students.
Interviewing for your dream job can be intimidating and overwhelming, which is why students are given the opportunity to participate in mock interviews before graduation. Practicing and polishing your interviewing skills helps you gain the confidence needed to stand out from others in actual interviews who may be applying for the same job as you.
United maintains partnerships with a network of local employers where students can gain hands-on experience in real-world settings through externships or clinicals, depending on your program. The skills and knowledge you acquire during this experience will benefit you when added to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
The assistance of career services goes beyond the classroom. We take great pride in helping employers find qualified candidates for open positions while simultaneously helping our students with job placement as they begin their careers.
At United, we have a team ready to assist all students with professional development. From admissions to career services to graduation, our team is dedicated to helping you create a plan to achieve your career and financial goals.
Personal and professional branding is essential in today’s job market and can help you stand out among other job applicants. Career services will help you create individualized branding tailored just for you.
We will help you create a LinkedIn profile showcasing your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience to prospective employers. Volunteer work, externships, and special projects may be added to demonstrate your value as an employee.
Career services will also help you prepare professional documents like cover letters, resumes, thank you notes, references, and letters of recommendation. These documents are often the first impression an employer has of you as a potential employee and should be error-free and professional-looking.
Our enthusiasm for your success doesn’t end once you graduate. We’ll still be here to give you continued guidance throughout your career. You’ll have access to courses that keep you up to date in your chosen career. For example, you’ve earned a degree in Medical Assisting from United, and a few years later, you must learn a new technique. Career services can assist you with learning about and understanding the new procedure.
Additionally, your career goals may change over time, so with that in mind, United offers career advising to all alumni because we want you to succeed now and in the future.
When you choose United, you receive hands-on training as you prepare for professional certifications or licenses while earning your degree.
Applications are now being accepted for fall classes! Check out our career-focused degree programs in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing. Request information now to get started on your path to a new career!
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!”
United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to Dominque Thomas, a graduate of our Medical Assisting program and our Practical Nursing program. When Dominique attended United for the Medical Assisting program, she loved it so much that she knew she had to come back to continue her education in nursing. It is common for United students to start their journey into the medical field with our Medical Assisting program and then continue into nursing. United has a pathway program to make it as easy on the student as possible!
Before attending United, Dominque was working at a gas company. She was already considering going back to school when she received a message from a United staff member about coming back to school. Dominique took it as a sign that this was the right move for her. “I’m 100% glad that I did it,” Dominque said.
Dominique chose to continue her education in nursing because her medical assisting program showed her how much she loved the medical field. “When I completed the Medical Assisting program and got a job, I realized that I wanted to be a nurse. And this program was the best fit for me,” she said.
The familial atmosphere was Dominique’s favorite part about attending United Career Institute. “I basically had a second family away from home. There was always help when I needed it,” she said. Dominique’s favorite class was Med Surg. “I loved learning about diseases/disorders,” she said.
Dominique is currently working as a practical nurse at a psychiatric hospital, but she has hopes to continue her education even more! “I would like to become an RN and work where I am currently working,” she said.
Dominique says she would absolutely recommend United to a friend! “It’s a great school. There is always help if you need it, and I was able to feel confident in my position when I got my first job.”
If you are interested in becoming a nurse, or if your story sounds similar to Dominque’s, request information here!
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!