Aileen Luckowski – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to one of our co-Students of the Month, Aileen Luckowski! Aileen is a Practical Nursing student at United Career Institute.

While she has attended other post-secondary institutions, Aileen felt that United was her best option. “I’ve attended post-secondary education before, but I really felt like United being a smaller campus, was best for my learning style,” she said.

Prior to enrolling in United’s Practical Nursing program, Aileen was working a steady job, but she constantly felt that she needed more from her life. “Before I decided to attend United, I was working full time as a VIP Butler at a casino.  Although it was a very financially stable job, I left every day feeling as if I was meant to do something much more in life, which is why I chose to pursue Nursing. I chose Nursing because I want to help people and know I make a difference every day,” she said.

Aileen did her homework when it came to choosing nursing schools. She loved that she could get a very well-rounded education at United. She said, “I chose United because of their excellent NCLEX- PN* pass rates, small class sizes, and knowledgeable instructors.  The instructors came from all aspects of nursing, so I knew I’d get an in-depth education.  There was no other institution around that offered instructors with OR, maternity, pediatrics, behavioral health, and long-term care experience all under one roof.”

In addition to the well-rounded education she receives, Aileen chose United because of the small school atmosphere. “My favorite part of attending United would probably be the home-like classroom experience. Larger schools sit you in a large lecture hall, and you’re really just a number,” she said.

Aileen graduates from United in a few short weeks, and she is so excited to share that she already has a job lined up! “My ideal job after graduation would be in an emergency department. Luckily, with the skills I’ve attained at United, I’ve already been offered and accepted a full-time position in my local hospital’s emergency department.  It’s a great feeling knowing that in a little over a month, I’ll be graduated and starting my nursing career in the department I had my sights set on,” she said.

Although she is almost done with her United experience, Aileen still has big goals for her educational future! “In five years, I’d like to be beginning my Master’s Program for Family Nurse Practitioner,” she says.

As a final thought, Aileen said, “I would refer friends to United because I myself am a success story considering I’m in my late 30’s with a teenager, and I was able to do this program with the backing of great instructors and a good classmate support system.”

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

*Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.

What Is the Difference Between a MA and LPN?

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!

Career Outlook

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.

Skills Needed

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.

Training Required

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.

Work Environment

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!

Explore our healthcare training programs in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing today. Request information now to start your dream 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.

 

Dominique Thomas – Graduate Highlight

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!

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!

Kaitlyn Monosky – Graduate Highlight

Kaitlyn Monosky is a medical assisting graduate of United Career Institute Mt. Braddock. She chose United because it came highly recommended, and the small classes were similar to the class sizes she had in high school. “I knew of a few people that went to the school and highly recommended it to me. I come from a small town where my high school classes were extremely small, and I felt like because United was a smaller school, it would be the right fit for me.”

Prior to attending United Career Institute, Kaitlyn had attempted another post-secondary institution, but did not have a good experience. “I was not really a fan of the school, I did not enjoy the environment. I felt rushed every day by teachers and just trying to make it to class on time. I ended up leaving because I felt like college just was not right for me”, she said. After her first attempt at school, Kaitlyn decided to focus on work and being a mom. She worked as a waitress at The Kitchen on Main in Ligonier while also balancing being a full-time mom. “Honestly, I was just trying to figure out what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

After Kaitlyn decided she wanted to go back to school, she had to decide what she wanted to study. She had an interest in the medical field, so she decided to pursue United’s Medical Assisting program. “I chose the Medical Assistant program because I felt like it would be a good start for me and help me get my foot in the door.” United students often choose our Medical Assisting program because it offers a good launching point into the medical field. Students who graduate from our Medical Assisting program often go on to study nursing in United’s Practical Nursing program.

Kaitlyn says that her favorite part of attending United was the education she got and the people she met. “My favorite part of attending United was all the friendships and knowledge I gained while being there.” Some of the people who contributed to her positive experience here include her instructors! “I loved all my teachers. They were always so helpful and kind. All of my instructors just wanted each of their students to do the best they can and to just succeed in life. Each one of them gave me the boost of confidence I needed to push through when I thought I couldn’t. Out of all the classes I had, psychology has got to be my favorite class. I’ve always had an interest in the way the brain worked.”

Kaitlyn has some big plans for herself now that she has graduated from United Career Institute. In the next few years, she hopes to be back in school and studying to be a registered nurse. In her personal life, she hopes to own a home, be married, and have another child.

Kaitlyn really enjoyed her time at United and hopes to see others have the same experience! “I would absolutely refer anyone to United to get their degree. This school has shown me that as long as you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. The staff is extremely amazing. They care for each and every one of the students that go there. I have never been to a school where all they want you to do is succeed and do the best you can. If it was not for the staff of the United Career Institute, I would still be waiting tables and trying to figure out my life still. Thanks to this school, I never have to second guess what my capabilities are.”

If your story sounds similar to Kailyn’s, check out our medical programs here!

 

Growth of United’s Practical Nursing Program in Westmoreland County

At United Career Institute, we are committed to providing our local healthcare community with qualified and well-trained medical professionals.

In Westmoreland County, the need for practical nurses has been growing and is expected to continue to grow in the future. Excela Health has dominated the local area but over the last year, there have been multiple additions from other providers in Westmoreland County, which is a huge area for care centers.

Many nurses are retiring and there are not enough new nursing professionals entering the job market to fill the openings, which is also contributing to the growing need for practical nurses locally.

To meet this increasing need for practical nurses in the local healthcare community, we designed our Practical Nursing program to prepare students to excel in the healthcare field. With no other program like ours in Westmoreland County, United is here to make a difference by training qualified practical nursing professionals.

On June 29 of this year, we started our first cohort in our fast-track Practical Nursing program. Our program is direct admission, which means if you meet entrance requirements, you are immediately in the Practical Nursing program and taking nursing classes. Since this program is direct admission, students don’t waste countless years and financial resources taking general education classes.

Our unique practical nursing training program allows students to complete their nursing courses, prepare for the NCLEX-PN* exam, and graduate in only 12 months.

Practical nursing classes at United are designed to give progressive NCLEX-PN* preparation, including lecture, classroom, and clinical aspects. Students get more and more preparation for the NCLEX-PN* exam as the program progresses.

“Clinical rotations and what students focus on in the curriculum really helps them understand what they will be doing once they graduate,” says Arnold Thimons, Campus President at United Career Institute – Irwin. Practical nursing students may complete clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities like Excela Health, Allegheny Health Network, and Hempfield Manor.

For those who want to want to enroll in United’s Practical Nursing program, now is a great time! First, potential students need to request information and meet with one of our admissions advisors. Based on that interview, if it looks like the program is a good fit for the student and the school, they fill out the application and schedule a time to take the TEAS exam. Once a potential student passes the TEAS exam, they are then scheduled for an interview with the nursing director to complete the final steps in the nursing admissions process.

“Our next practical nursing start is projected to be June of 2021, however, there is such a demand for our school, that we are considering adding an additional start at the beginning of the year,” says Arnold. “With no other Practical Nursing program like ours here in Westmoreland County, students are choosing our fast-track, 12-month option, instead of taking two years of general education courses before even starting nursing classes.”

At United, we are working hard to meet the need for additional practical nursing professionals in Westmoreland County. “We will meet a good portion of the need with the classes that we have at one per year, however, if we can provide a second class, we can help fill the void of the nursing shortage in Westmoreland county,” says Arnold.

Practical nurses who graduate from United Career Institute have the opportunity to make a real difference in the local community by having a positive impact on patient care and providing an exceptional patient experience. Students take with them the knowledge, skills, and experience to be a successful practical nurse, but also soft skills like professionalism, employability, and communication.

To anyone who is thinking about enrolling in United’s Practical Nursing program, Arnold says to “just do it. We truly are a small family here with an environment that is very supportive and conducive to learning. There is a lot of instructor-to-student interaction, hands-on training, and student support.”

Do you dream of becoming a nurse? Are you looking for a career that allows you to help people on a daily basis? Do you want to truly make a difference in the lives of others? Then United Career Institute’s Practical Nursing program may be the perfect choice for you!

Learn more about our fast-track, 12-month Practical Nursing program, and request information now to get started today!

 

*Passing the NCLEX – PN exam is required to become a Practical Nurse.

Abigail Douglass – Student Highlight

Abigail Douglass is a practical nursing student at United Career Institute Mt. Braddock and is September’s student of the month.

Before Abby became a part of the United family, she attended another institution. Like many of our students, the traditional college environment did not work for her. “My experience was fairly good, but I did not like the bigger class sizes and less personal experience. I enjoyed the school, but I was not ready for a four year university experience.” Abby began working as an aide at a personal care facility and loved her experience, but her dream of becoming a nurse continued to nag at her. “I have known I wanted to be a nurse for a long time now. I love the health care field and I am fascinated by everything the body does. I want to be able to help people and support them however I can.”

Abby chose to attend United’s Practical Nursing program because of the small classes and family-like atmosphere. She also likes that the program is quick. United’s Practical Nursing program is direct admission, meaning if you are accepted into the program, you begin nursing classes immediately. You won’t waste time and money taking general education courses that don’t apply to your nursing career. “My favorite part of attending United has been the friends I made. I have become very close with some of the people in my class and I know I have made some truly amazing lifelong friends.”

While Abby has enjoyed her entire experience at United, there are a couple of classes and instructors that have stuck out to her.  “Amanda is my favorite teacher and I loved both med surg classes that she taught. Amanda is always very supportive and encouraging. I also love Mrs. Stotelmyer because of the wealth of knowledge she has to offer and her passion for nursing.”

After Abby graduates, she hopes to be working on the med surg floor of a hospital. She also wants to continue her education! “In five years I am looking forward to being a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree. I would love to be working in an emergency department and working on getting my master’s degree in nursing.”

When asked if she would refer a friend to United, Abby said, “I would refer a friend to United because of the fast-tracked nursing program. This program provides you with a great education and I do feel that I will be leaving this school fully equipped with the knowledge I need to be a great nurse.”

If your story is similar to Abby’s or you are interested in a nursing career, request information here to learn more!

Sahrash Masood – Student Highlight

Sahrash Masood enrolled in United’s Medical Assisting program in January of this year. Before enrolling, she was a stay at home mom of two young girls. Sahrash knew that she always wanted to go into the medical field, but wasn’t sure if she wanted to study nursing or medical assisting. After meeting with her admissions advisor, Lynda, Sahrash knew that medical assisting would be a great path that would allow her to explore her interests and learn a little bit of everything. “There is so much to learn about medical coding and the paperwork that is required in the medical offices. Best of all it has more hands-on things, as well as taking vitals on a patient and drawing blood.”

One of Sahrash’s favorite aspects of United Career Institute is the support that she’s received. She said, “I feel like that it’s a nice support system to have and to keep you motivated.” She feels that the instructors are understanding and flexible. Sahrash has gotten the chance to learn from a variety of our instructors at the Irwin campus. She likes that they all have different teaching styles because it keeps things refreshing and helpful. Sahrash said, “They’ve all brought so much to the table. From sharing stories about their lives, which I’ve learned so much from, to their motivation and dedication to helping each and every student succeed regardless of where they came from, or their daily struggle.”

After graduation, Sahrash is thinking of working in a family practice, close to home. “Once I graduate I’ll have so much more knowledge than I have now, so who knows! Maybe once I start my externship I might like a different environment far more. I’m open to different options.” Five years from now, Sahrash would like to be working in a place that she loves. She wants to be independent and financially stable. She hopes that if her kids see her reach her goals that it will motivate them to pursue what they love too!

Jessica Snyder – Student Highlight

Jessica Snyder was one of the first students to enroll at the United Career Institute Irwin campus! She is currently excelling in our Medical Assisting program. She chose medical assisting because she has a passion for helping people and has always wanted to work in the healthcare field. Jessica said, “I feel becoming a medical assistant is a great foundation to start with in the medical field. I feel if I ever want to go further and become a nurse I could do so.”

After graduating from high school in 2009, Jessica enrolled at a large university. She felt like it was too large for her to get the attention she needed in class. She then attended a local community college for business management. After taking a few classes, she realized she wanted to focus on helping people and decided to look at United Career Institute.

Jessica chose United Career Institute because she liked the small class sizes and felt that she would get the one on one attention she did not receive in the past. She felt that she would be supported by her instructors and the staff here. Jessica said her favorite part about attending United Career Institute is that the instructors and employees care and will not let students give up. “They want nothing more than for you to succeed at your goals. They are wonderful in guiding you not only through school but through life too. We’re family at UCI.”

After graduating from United Career Institute, Jessica hopes to be working in a doctor’s office. Possibly working in a pediatrician’s office or in a plastic surgery office. In a few years, she is hoping to be settled, working as a medical assistant, and enjoying what she does. She is hoping to go back to school for nursing in the future!

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!