Aleesha Guidos – Student Highlight

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

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

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

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

Nikki Feltes – Student Highlight

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

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

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

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

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

Lindsey Weimer – Student Highlight


Lindsey Weimer is one of United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting students. She graduated from Greater Latrobe Area high school in June and started classes at the Irwin campus in August 2020. She knew that she wanted to start her education right away, rather than take a year off, so she met with one of our admissions advisors, found out everything that we have to offer, and knew it was the right place for her. Lindsey said, “It is a faster education path that offers more hands-on experience.”

Her favorite class so far has been Anatomy & Physiology. “I enjoy learning about the human body and how all of the organs work,” she said. We asked Lindsey who her favorite instructor is, and she couldn’t pick one! She loves them all! Lindsey feels that they are all very willing to help the students & are very kind.

Lindsey chose Medical Assisting in hopes to use her skills and experience as a stepping stone to bigger things down the road. After she graduates, Lindsey hopes to work at a pediatrician’s office. She hopes to own her own house & have a family later on. Keep up the great work, Lindsey!

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!

Kristen Ruby – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our January Student of the Month, Kristen Ruby!

Prior to starting medical assisting classes at United Career Institute, Kristen was taking CNA (certified nursing assistant) classes and working at Cherry Tree Nursing Home, but she had bigger goals for her career in the healthcare industry. She had her sights set on being a nurse!

Kristen chose United Career Institute because of the small class sizes. She knew that having fewer students meant more one on one time with her instructors. United prides itself on keeping its class sizes small so that instructors can be sure to give each student the individualized attention they deserve.

Kristen has dreams of becoming a nurse, but wisely chose to start that journey In United’s Medical Assisting program. She knew that a practical nursing program’s rigor is made much easier when you have the base knowledge of a medical assisting program, so when she heard of United’s Nursing Pathway Program, she knew she found the right fit. This pathway program allows graduates of the United Medical Assisting program, who maintain a certain GPA and attendance percentage, to be exempt from taking the TEAS exam, the entrance exam used for nursing programs.

Kristen’s favorite part of attending United is “learning new things in the medical field and making new friends.” She also loves the instructors at United. “I would have to say that all my teachers that I have had so far are my favorite. I can’t pick a favorite one. My favorite class would have to be between med term and clinicals because they were both fun, and I learned new things,” she said.

After graduation, Kristen hopes to work in a doctor’s office to gain some experience but ultimately has her eyes set on becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. She also hasn’t written off the idea of continuing on to become a Registered Nurse!

Kristen says she would absolutely refer a friend to United Career Institute because “it’s a small school and has small classroom sizes and a lot of people like that. The staff is very helpful when they are needed.”

If your story sounds similar to Kristen’s or if you are interested in ultimately becoming a nurse, 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!

Sedona Poliak – Student Highlight

Sedona Poliak is one of United Career Institute’s newest Medical Assisting students. After she graduated high school, Sedona got a job at a local daycare. She took a year off to save some money for her education. Sedona chose United Career Institute because of the positive feedback she heard from other students. She said, “I heard it was a very good school, and the teachers really help to make sure that you succeed.” Sedona chose medical assisting because she knows that it will help her reach her goal of becoming a registered nurse.

Her favorite part about attending United Career Institute are the instructors. She told us that it’s encouraging how much they want their students to succeed. Her favorite instructor is Kelly Clark. Sedona told us, “She makes things easier to understand and is very understanding.” Her favorite class so far has been Effective Communication. She feels that writing and giving speeches in the class has helped her gain confidence that she did not have before.

After Sedona graduates, she hopes to go back to school to become a registered nurse. Five years down the road, she hopes to be settled, working as an RN, and enjoying it!

To learn more about United Career Institute’s short term medical programs, request information here!

A Holiday Message From The Irwin Campus

The holidays are all about appreciating what you have and giving to those who have less. United Career Institute Irwin is encouraging our students and staff to give a little more this year this holiday season. 2020 has been an unpredictable year that has caused us to restructure our personal lives, businesses, and communities. As a United Career Institute family, let’s give back to our communities!

Here are some ways that you can give back to your community.

  • Organize a Food Drive – Pass out fliers with a list of recommended donation items, an “on-your-porch” pick up time, so the donators know when to drop it off, and list the local food bank/shelter where you will be delivering the donations. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors to participate with you!
  • Reconnect with an Old Friend – Sometimes, all it takes is a simple “How have you been doing?” to really brighten someone’s day.
  • Show the Fur Babies Love – Donate blankets and towels to a local animal shelter. Or even volunteer to work a shift there! They are always looking for more volunteers.
  • Donate Books – Donate your gently used books to a local library or nursing home. If they are allowing storytime, you could even stay to read one to a group!

Our Irwin campus chose to participate in a “Giving Tree” for the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau. Students and staff are able to choose a card with a child’s requested gift, purchase the necessary items, and drop them off in the donation box. This was brought to us by one of our Medical Assisting students, Wendi Rost. Thank you, Wendi!

Here’s wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!

Irwin Holiday Message

A Holiday Message From The Mt. Braddock Campus

We know this year has been tough on many people. The stay at home orders, the cancellation of important events, and the general stress of this year has taken a toll on almost everybody. Through all of that, United Career Institute students have persevered and remained on track with their goal of becoming medical professionals. Our students had their educational worlds turned upside down this year as they went from in-person, on-ground classes to learning in a virtual capacity. Although this came with struggles for our students, they never lost track of their goals.

While this holiday season may look different for many, one thing that has not changed is that United Career Institute is proud of its students and are wishing them a happy and healthy holiday!

As 2020 comes to a close, we are excited and hopeful about what 2021 has in store. Most of all, we are hopeful for a successful vaccine, not just for ourselves, but for our friends and families, especially those that are high risk. The hope of returning to a somewhat “normal” way of life is definitely a reason to be thankful!

At United specifically, we have many things to be excited about. We are looking forward to continuing to see our medical assisting, medical billing and coding, and practical nursing students graduate and go on to work as the essential workers that have played such a large role in fighting the COVID pandemic. We are also thrilled to be starting a second nursing class in April of 2021! Having the ability to provide the medical community with qualified nurses is something United really prides itself on.

We also can’t wait for this time next year as it brings the hope of celebrating the holidays United style. Anybody who has graduated from United knows that we celebrate BIG for the holidays around here! In addition to a trick or treat event at Halloween, we also host a large Thanksgiving feast for our students and have multiple Christmas events that include visits with Santa and door decorating. While this year has forced us to celebrate differently, we are hopeful that next year we can celebrate bigger and better than ever!

As the holidays draw nearer, the United faculty and staff want to reiterate that we are here for our students and are hopeful that 2021 will bring many good things for all.

Happy Holidays and a Happy (and healthy) New Year from all of us at United Career Institute Mt. Braddock!

To learn more about United Career Institute, 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!