5 Steps to Starting an Essential Healthcare Career

Healthcare workers are essential to the health and wellbeing of our society, and now is a great time to start your career in the exciting field of healthcare. The medical industry is projected to have continued growth in the future, so this could be a wonderful career option for you.

Trying to figure out the right path to start your dream career as an essential healthcare worker can be confusing, so we’ve broken it down into five steps for you!

Step 1: Choose a specific healthcare job

Choosing the specific job you want to pursue in the medical field is the first step to starting an essential healthcare career. As the healthcare industry has become more specialized over time, there are a variety of different jobs and career paths available for people who want to work in this exciting field. You could be a medical assistant, medical coding specialist, practical nurse, or even a doctor.

Answering a few important questions about yourself with help steer you in the right direction as you consider the different career options and decide which one is best for you.

  • Which areas of healthcare am I interested in?
  • What are my strengths and what do I excel in?
  • What healthcare experience do I already have?
  • How quickly do I want to complete training and start working?

Your work will be more enjoyable if you choose a career path that you’re interested in and good at. Answering these questions for yourself is important as you make these decisions, because we all want to love our job!

There are different training options for different types of healthcare jobs, so knowing how long you want to attend school and how soon you want to start your career will help you make the right decision for you. For example, if you want to become a medical office specialist, you can get the training you need in less than two years, but if you want to become a doctor, you will have to spend many more years in school.

Step 2: Pick a training program that meets your needs

The next step in starting your essential healthcare career is to choose a career training program that meets your needs and trains you for the specific job you want to do. You will need to do some research on the type of training needed for the job you want, as different career paths require different types of training.

Some healthcare positions also require professional certifications that show you can perform the specific tasks and job duties required. Employers value these certifications because they want to provide high-quality care to their patients. As you explore different options for earning your degree and getting trained, look for one that includes everything you need to be successful in your exciting new essential healthcare career.

At United Career Institute, our healthcare training programs can be completed in less than two years, putting you on the fast track to your dream career as an essential healthcare worker. If you’re ready to begin your healthcare career quickly, without having to spend 4-6 years in school, our career-focused programs may be a great choice for you!

Step 3: Gain the skills and knowledge to succeed

After deciding on the specific healthcare job you want to pursue and the best career training program to get you there, you’re now ready to learn the knowledge and hands-on skills you need to succeed. Reach out to your school of choice and set up a time to meet with an admissions advisor and take a tour of the campus. This will give you the chance to make sure it’s the right school for you and ask any questions you may have about the school, the program, and your classes.

As you complete your chosen career training program, you will gain the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to excel in your career as an essential worker in healthcare. If the healthcare training program you choose offers preparation for professional certification, you will also prepare to sit for the certification tests.

To help you get on the fast track of your exciting new career as an essential healthcare worker, we offer numerous healthcare career training programs at United. With career-focused programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Insurance Billing and Coding, you can gain the skills and experience needed to start your new career in less than two years.

Step 4: Apply for jobs and start your essential healthcare career

Now that you’ve completed the training needed to qualify for your dream job as an essential healthcare worker, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Some of the medical facilities you could work for include hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, labs, long-term care facilities, and blood centers.

Before you begin applying to jobs, update your resume with all the new skills, education, certifications, and experience you have gained while preparing for your new medical career. Add any other relevant education and experience to your resume as well and have someone proofread it for you to ensure it’s free of any errors.

Practice your interview skills with a friend or family member, so you will be confident and ready to rock your future job interviews. Begin building positive relationships with members of your local healthcare community, as this will also help you when applying for jobs.

Step 5: Start now with United

You’re now ready to start your path to becoming an essential healthcare worker! With fast-track career training programs, certification preparation, a supportive environment, hands-on learning, and career services, United is the perfect place to prepare for your exciting new healthcare career.

Explore our career training programs and request information now to get started!

Erin Messer – Faculty Highlight

Erin Messer is an adjunct instructor at United Career Institute Irwin. She has an MBA, a Doctorate in Pharmacy, and is currently earning her Doctorate in Education. She started her career working in research & development for a pharmaceutical company and eventually moved into a medical affairs role. Erin has also worked in long-term care and community pharmacy.

Erin Messer-Faculty Highlight

Erin chose to work at United Career Institute because she likes our take on education. She said, “I loved the idea of a local school that offered programs to students to advance their education and career, in a not so traditional way.” She recommends the medical field to students because of the opportunities available. There are always ways to advance your career in this field. “Take it from me, I started in research, moved to clinical practice, and now I’m teaching!”

One thing that motivates Erin is getting to know her students and seeing them succeed. She gets many questions from her students about how they will use certain medications and treatments in their fields. When teaching, she tries to incorporate examples of how the students will be using the materials in their future. Erin also reminds students of the characteristics that will help them stand out when looking for employment. Showing sympathy and understanding will go a long way in the medical field. Erin said, “Although ‘beside manor’ and listening skills are not traditionally taught in school, these attributes make a big difference to patients.”

When she is not busy teaching classes for three different institutions, Erin spends her time playing music. She can read music and plays four instruments! Not many people may know this, but Erin has been skydiving and can also crochet afghans!

To learn more about United’s medical classes, request information here!

Martina Mullen – Student Highlight

Martina Mullen has been a student at United Career Institute’s Irwin campus since January 2020. She is currently enrolled in the Medical Assisting program. She chose Medical Assisting because she knew she wanted to go into the medical field, but wasn’t sure which direction to start in. On top of nearly perfect attendance since the beginning, Martina has also made the school’s President’s list by holding a 4.0 GPA for the first term of her program.

Martina Mullen - Student Highlight

Martina tried a different post-secondary school before, but it just wasn’t for her. She felt like her professor made the class rushed and that it was just a waste of her own time and money. “My favorite part about attending United would be the class schedule and how each class is set up. I don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed with work,” said Martina.

Just like many of our other students, Martina likes the smaller class sizes. “I chose United because I loved that it was small and that I knew if I needed it, I could get one on one help. I also love how everyone is so welcoming and supportive.” Her favorite instructor so far has been Kelly Shriver. She likes that Kelly pushes her to do her best and tries to make everything positive! Martina said, “I like how she doesn’t look at herself as an instructor. She also talks to us about our personal lives.” Her favorite class so far has been Student Success Strategies. She liked that the class helped the students open up and get to know one another. It also helped her to realize the habits she has, good and bad, for both school and life.

Eventually, Martina wants to go to school for Nursing. After she graduates, she hopes to work at either Children’s Hospital or in a doctor’s office. Down the road she hopes to have her student loans paid off, have her own place, and happy with whatever job she gets. She just really wants to help people!

To learn more about United’s medical classes and student services, request information 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!

Haley Sance – Student Highlight

Haley Sance chose United Career Institute because she was not interested in going to a large, four-year school. She was interested in the medical field, but wished to start off slowly in order to narrow down her options. She wanted the comfortable, small school environment that United offered.

Haley Sance-Student Highlight

Her favorite part of attending United Career Institute, so far, has been the holiday celebrations.  “They are so much fun and give us time to relax in school.”

Her favorite teacher is Roxanne Seaton.  “She was my first teacher at PIHT so she really helped me get comfortable. She is well educated, so I have a lot of respect for her.”

Haley’s ideal job is to work as a medical assistant in a pediatrician’s office. She feels this career path is the most suitable for her because she enjoys working with children. In five years, she would like to have a new, reliable car and a steady job to begin saving for her dream home.

Haley would refer a friend to United Career Institute because the outcome of the program is worth all of the stress that goes into being a college student. Haley has excelled during her time with United and we are very proud of her.

To learn more about United’s medical career training programs, click here!

Wendi Rost – Student Highlight

“I wanted to go for Medical Assisting when I was just out of high school. However, I was living with my fiancé at the time and could not afford the class. When I decided to go back and went for coding, I didn’t have faith in my skills or brains to even think I could do the assisting part because of the clinicals. I was and still am terrified of that part. However I thought it’s now or never and if I don’t try, I won’t know.” We would like to introduce Wendi Rost, a medical assisting student attending our Irwin campus.Wendi Rose - Student Highlight

Before enrolling at United in January, Wendi was a stay at home mom. She had previously attended other post secondary schools for Esthetics and Medical Billing and Coding. She had some great experiences, but one thing she did not like about Medical Billing and Coding was that a majority of her classes were online. Wendi chose the United Career Institute because of the Irwin location and its hands-on training. “I’m old school. I like a classroom.”

When asked what her favorite part of going to school at United Career Institute is, Wendi responded by saying, “Oh I absolutely love going to United Career. Currently, we are smaller, but the students are very mature for their ages. I am so happy to be around people who take this seriously and know when to have fun. We are like a family, instructors, and all. We laugh, cry, and learn without pressure.”

Wendi’s favorite class so far has been Medical Terminology. She feels like she is learning to talk professionally in the medical field. When asked who her favorite instructor is, Wendi replied, “Kelly, Erin, and Arnold are all my favorites so far. I can’t say that there is an absolute favorite. They all have different teaching styles. However they are always there to talk to, or ask for help if you’re not understanding or to give you a pep talk if you’re feeling overwhelmed.”

After graduating from the Medical Assisting program, Wendi has a few different directions in medical field that she may want to pursue. “I have three fields that interest me, and that’s because I like helping people with their problems or watching them succeed.  Dermatology, since my field of esthetics has been a passion. Gynecology because ever since I was young, I always wanted to be a female doctor since, at the time there weren’t many, and I personally prefer a female.  Finally, Bariatric. This is one I like to see the results and hopefully get motivation for myself.”

To learn more about United Career Institute, request information here!

Elizabeth Compton – Student Highlight

Before April’s Student of the month, Elizabeth LaRue Compton, decided to join the United Career Institute family, she was a culinary arts student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a kitchen manager for the Ohiopyle House Café.

Elizabeth Compton - Student Highlight

However, her children inspired her to reach for more and to better herself.  Liz was interested in the medical field, with her eye on becoming a surgical assistant.  She felt that the Medical Assisting program at United would help her toward achieving that goal.

Her favorite part of attending United Career Institute is meeting new people, many of whom have turned into lifelong friends.  She also appreciates that the instructors are understanding and do their best to only move on to new material once they are certain a student has mastered current material.

Her favorite teacher is Kelli Workman who does an amazing job at teaching anatomy. “She makes sure that everyone understands it before she moves onto the next part of the chapter.”

After graduation, she hopes to work at J. W. Ruby Memorial Hospital.  Her five-year professional goal is to be a surgical technician at Ruby Memorial.  Her personal goal is to be married and living in Uniontown with her little family.

“I would love to refer a friend to United Career Institute because it is a wonderful place to go to and there is someone always there if you need help or just need someone to talk to. Everyone is very understanding, even when you are going through a rough time.”

To learn more about United’s medical programs, click here!

Amber Berdar – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is the first post-secondary school Amber Berdar has attended. Before coming to school here, Amber had just graduated from high school. She heard of the school during a job fair at California University of Pennsylvania, where she met our High School Admissions Representative, Meghan Murray.Amber Berdar-Student Highlight

Amber decided to become a medical assistant because she wanted to further her education in the medical field, growing from her current position as a Certified Nursing Assistant. She has always felt the need to help others and had the desire to work in the medical field.

She decided to start out as a medical assistant, because she believes in working from the bottom up. She wants to start with the basics so she will have a lot more knowledge and experience as she advances in the medical field.

Amber can’t pick a favorite part of attending United Career Institute. She has loved the whole experience, from meeting all the teachers to being able to learn so much from them. The school feels like a second home to her.

Amber has two favorite teachers, Kelli Workman and Rachel Osniak. She likes Kelli because she has taught her everything she needs to know when it comes to medical knowledge, and she likes Rachel because she taught her many things she can use after she graduates.

Her ideal job after graduation would be working somewhere in a lab, where she can perform phlebotomy all day, or somewhere in an ER setting.

In five years, Amber would love to have her dream job as a trauma nurse. She would also like to be living on her own and have a family.

Amber says she would definitely refer United Career Institute to a friend because this place is an amazing learning environment and everyone is so supportive here. She says you have the opportunity to make many new friends and many memories that will never be forgotten.