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!

Mallory Strauser – Student Highlight

Mallory Strauser is a Medical Insurance Billing and Coding student at United Career Institute in Fayette County. She works at Shop N Save but knew this work wouldn’t be fulfilling long tern and decided to further her education. Mallory knew that she wanted to be part of a healthcare team, but knew that the clinical aspect of the field was not for her or her “weak stomach”. With having no previous post-secondary school experience, she turned to her family for advice. Her family was more than happy to recommend UCI. Her mother and husband are both successful medical assisting graduates and had nothing but positive things to say about the school, its reputation, and its welcoming atmosphere.Mallory Strauser - Student Highlight

Mallory’s favorite part about attending UCI is the family like atmosphere, the staff’s unwavering commitment to its students, and their willingness to help anyone struggling. Mallory’s favorite instructors are Kelli Workman and Roxanne Seaton. When asked why, she said, “they explain things in a way that makes sense.” Her favorite class so far is Medical Terminology. “It was like learning a different language.”

Mallory hopes that in five years she will be gainfully employed at a pediatrician’s office in a career that she loves and settled in her role so that she can focus on starting a family. When asked if she would refer a friend to United Career Institute her response was simple. “Absolutely, the school is welcoming and I have learned a lot.”

To learn more about United’s Medical Insurance Billing and Coding program, 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!

The Value of Externships

The Value of Externships

A key component of all United Career Institute medical programs is an externship with local employers. It provides a real world aspect to the program and gives students valuable hands-on experience that enhances the skills they learn in the classroom. Externships also provide students a great opportunity to network with other healthcare professionals in their chosen field and get a good idea of the culture of a given employer. Whether it is a 2 week externship in the Phlebotomy program, or a 12 week externship in the Medical Assisting program, we encourage our students to look at their time during externships at a job interview of sorts. Often times, employers use this time as an opportunity to evaluate both clinical and soft skills and how a potential employee may fit in with the company long term.

While UCI students are on their externship, they obtain career-focused experience such as checking vital signs, point of care testing, specimen collection, phlebotomy, and sterilization procedures.

These valuable externships would not be possible without the support of local employers. United Career Institute Irwin is so thankful that our local employers like Excela Health, Allegheny Health Network, UPMC, and Premier Medical Associates have provided the opportunities for our students to complete this on the job training.

We’re Here for You Through COVID-19

As we all try to adjust to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that life has changed dramatically over the last few weeks. From homeschooling our children, to having our movements restricted, to the heroes who are on the front lines fighting this virus, we have all been affected.

At United Career Institute, we want our students, our community, and our future students to know, we are here for you and will support you in any way we can. We are all in this fight together, and we will get through it together.

Supporting United Students

We think of ourselves more as a family, and not just a school. Even through this difficult time, we are still fully committed to our purpose, which is to empower change by creating opportunity.

We are committed to serving and supporting our family of students through the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue educating and training our students for rewarding, successful careers, we are now providing online remote instruction for all students.

Via distance learning, students can continue to develop their skills and gain valuable knowledge that will set them up for success in their future careers. While students cannot physically attend classes or be on-campus, all instructors are fully available to assist and support students in any way possible.

For active students, in good academic standing, who are unable to begin or complete an externship due to COVID-19, United has created an Interim Leave of Absence Policy. In addition, we have revised the current Incomplete Policy to further support students who are unable to sit for their certification exams during this time. Please visit the COVID-19 Information page for more information and guidance on these policies.

Supporting the Community

In addition to supporting our students through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are highly invested in the local healthcare community, and are dedicated to serving it as best we can by providing the workforce with trained medical professionals.

With healthcare programs including Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Office Administration, United – Fayette County graduates are on the front lines battling the virus by caring for sick patients and providing essential support to hospitals and doctor’s offices.

We pledge to support our local healthcare teams and community members by continuing to educate and train essential healthcare workers who are desperately needed during this time.

Supporting Future Students

We know that many people and families have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and the mandatory restrictions on non-essential businesses. Due to these restrictions, many people have lost their jobs or been laid off, with millions of people around the country who have already applied for unemployment benefits.

As a school with the purpose of empowering change by creating opportunity, we know that we have a responsibility to help people get retrained and back to work. With this in mind, we have added virtual campus visits as an alternative to touring the campus in person. We hope this will allow those who have been affected to start their path to a more secure career, by training for valuable healthcare jobs.

In addition, high schoolers who are uncertain about what to do next due to COVID-19, are encouraged to explore our career training programs, which can lead to successful healthcare careers.

To learn more about our Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Office Administration programs, contact us today to schedule a remote admissions meeting.

How to Create SMART Career Goals

We all have goals that we want to accomplish in life and in our careers. Maybe you aren’t fulfilled in your current job and want a more rewarding career or maybe your goal is to be the first person in your family to graduate from a training program.

Regardless of what you want to achieve, setting SMART career goals can get you there! The most effective goals follow these five guidelines: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Using these criteria to create your SMART career goals gives you a higher chance of success. How exactly do you create SMART career goals? Keep reading as we share with you exactly how!

Specific

First, SMART career goals must be specific, so that you know exactly what to do in order to reach them. Here is a great example of a specific goal: I want to graduate from a Medical Assisting program in Westmoreland County within 18 months in order to begin a more rewarding career. This is a specific goal because it answers the following questions:

Now that you have answered these questions and created a specific goal, you know exactly what to do to achieve the goal.

Measurable

Next, you need to make sure your SMART career goals are measurable. Creating measurable goals ensures that you can track the progress you make toward your goals. As you take steps to reach your goals, you will be able to tell if you’re on track to meet them or if there is something you need to change.

Separating your larger goal into smaller chunks is the best way to do this. With the goal of completing a medical assisting program to start a more rewarding career, you could create milestones along the way for each class that is part of the program. This way, you are one step closer to your goal for each class you complete.

Attainable

As you create your SMART career goals, it’s essential to create ones that are attainable, because it’s hard to stay motivated to work toward a goal that’s not actually achievable. An example of an unattainable goal would be going to Mars next month. While this sounds like a great goal, it’s not actually attainable, because the technology to go to Mars doesn’t yet exist. Setting super high goals can seem like a good idea, but it can actually be demotivating, because you know you can’t accomplish them anyway.

In our medical assisting goal example, some things you should consider to ensure the goal is attainable for you is if can you commit the time required for the program, do you have the support system needed, and do you have any prerequisites that are required.

Relevant

The next thing you must do is ensure your SMART career goals are relevant to you. Here are some questions you should ask about each specific goal: Is this something you really want to achieve? Do you care enough to put in the work? Does this goal align with your other goals? Does this goal fit into your long-term plans?

For example, our medical assisting goal is relevant because it will help reach your dream of starting a more rewarding career. By achieving this goal, you’re working toward a long-term goal of being in a career that brings you more meaning and fulfillment.

Timely

Last, you need to ensure that your SMART career goals are timely. Creating a timely goal means that it has a time frame that you will complete the goal within. If you create a goal with no deadline, there is no sense of urgency to work toward the goal.

Create a deadline to reach the goal, but also create smaller deadlines for the milestones along the way. For example, with our medical assisting goal, you can create a deadline for taking each class, finishing your externship, and passing certification tests.

Achieve Your Goals with United

Now that you’ve created your SMART career goals, you’re ready to achieve your professional dreams! If you want to work in healthcare, helping your community by providing excellent patient care, United Career Institute has the fast track programs to help you get there.

Learn more and request information about our Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Phlebotomy programs to get started today!

Marcy Landman – Faculty Highlight

Marcy Landman is the Practical Nursing Clinical Coordinator at United Career Institute near Uniontown, PA  and teaches Pharmacology, Practical Vocational Nursing, and Anatomy Lab within Practical Nursing program. She earned her Associate of Science in Nursing from Penn State University. Once she completed her ASN, she entered an accelerated program to earn her BSN. She did not stop there, as she earned her Master of Science in Nursing with a minor in Family Nurse Practitioner from Carlow University.

Marcy Landman Fayette County Practical Nursing Clinical Coordinator

Prior to working at United, Marcy worked as a staff nurse at Highlands Hospital and worked in home health. When she came to United-Fayette County (formerly known as PIHT), she started out as a part-time clinical instructor. As she advanced her education, she began teaching in the classroom. When asked why she chose United  Marcy said “The people working at United are amazing. I wanted to work in an environment where everyone is a team player. Working in a supportive environment can make even the most difficult days go a little smoother.” Her favorite part of working for United Career Institute – Mt. Braddock is the people she gets to work with.

One of Marcy’s biggest motivators is her family. She is most proud of the fact that she never thought she would achieve the level of education she has received, and that she can be a role model for not only her children but also those whose lives she impacts within the nursing program.

When asked what is the most interesting thing about herself that no one would know, she replied, “She is one of the few that has been a part of the nursing program since the very first nursing class. She has not only been able to watch the program grow and change but has contributed to its continuing evolution.”

Gabriella Sotak – Student Highlight

“We work so well together and she’s such a great support system for me…a genuinely good person with a big heart!” That is how Medical Assisting student Amanda Cluss describes her classmate and friend, Gabriella Sotak. Gabriella Sotak - Student HighlightGabby was enrolled in college at CCAC when she heard about United Career Institute opening in Irwin. She wasn’t getting everything she wanted from her education so she called the school and made an appointment to come in. Immediately after speaking with Lynda in admissions, she knew this was where she was meant to be.  “Lynda was so understanding and encouraging, really made me feel like I belonged here.” There were some aspects of a larger community college Gabby liked, but most of what she saw at UCI was what she needed; smaller classes, personalized attention and tutoring, and a family atmosphere. Gabby decided that although she didn’t have aspirations of being a nurse, she definitely wanted to work in healthcare, and United Career’s Medical Assisting program provided that start. She sees herself working in a private doctor’s office someday, in general practice.

When we asked Gabby what her favorite thing about the school was, she didn’t hesitate a bit. “I love my classmates and the girls are all so helpful. They make you feel like you’re part of the family from day 1. I also love the staff! Kelly, Bianca, and Arnold are wonderful and I talk to them or Lynda about any issues or problems I might be having, educational or personal.” She loves the way Kelly teaches Med Term 1, her favorite class so far, because she explains the subject matter in detail and makes sure you understand how it applies. When asked where she wants to be in 5 years she was quick to answer. “Out of my parent’s house and into my stable career. I love my parents deeply but I’m ready to start the next chapter.”

When asked if she would recommend United to somebody else, Gaby said, “Absolutely! The whole staff there are so helpful in every way, and they truly care about me as a student, but more importantly as a person.“

To learn more about United Career Institute’s family atmosphere and fast track training, click here!

Steps to Apply for Admission to the Practical Nursing Program at United-Fayette County

United Career Institute – Fayette County located in Southwestern Pennsylvania offers a direct admission Practical Nursing Program. Direct admission means that you do not have to waste time and money taking extra elective classes allowing most students to complete the program within just 12 months. Enrolling in any nursing program can be a long process. To improve your acceptance chances in a highly sought-after program, you need to be organized and attentive to deadlines.

The purpose of this blog is to help inform you of some of the steps of applying to the direct admission United  Practical Nursing Program in Mt. Braddock, PA near Uniontown.

Steps to Apply for Admission to the Practical Nursing Program at United-Fayette County

  1. Express your interest in the Practical Nursing Program by visiting us online, calling (724) 437-4600 or stopping by our campus.
  2. Attend one of our upcoming Career Planning Sessions to see if you are a good fit for our program. It is important to understand that this program requires a lot of commitment. The practical nursing program requires students to allow 50 hours per week (40 hours of instruction and 10 hours of outside study time) of time to dedicate to the program.
  3. Potential students will need to request OFFICIAL copies of transcripts from your high school and every college they have attended. Official Transcripts should be requested and sent directly to the admission’s office or brought in unopened. Faxed or emailed transcripts that are not in a sealed envelope from the previous institution will not be accepted.
  4. Schedule and study for the TEAS entrance exam.
    • The exam is taken on campus and is around 3.5 hours long.
    • Students must achieve passing scores (65 reading, 60 math, 60 english and 45 science) within two attempts. If you do not pass within two attempts you will need to wait six months before trying again.
    • The TEAS test typically requires 2-3 weeks of preparation and study time. DO NOT WAIT…THE PROGRAM FILLS FAST!
    • Remember passing the TEAS exam does not guarantee a spot in the Practical Nursing Program.
  5. If the student passes the TEAS exam (results are provided on the same day), an interview with the Director of Nursing will be scheduled.
  6. The student will need to bring their completed Practical Nursing application (which includes two professional references and an essay) to the interview.
  7. The Director of Nursing will then decide if the student is accepted.
  8. If the student is accepted into the program, the next step is to set up an appointment with financial aid to cover the financial aid process.
  9. Complete clearances, immunizations, and disclosure forms which are due prior to orientation.
  10. Attend orientation and begin classes.

 

CLICK HERE TO BEGIN STEP 1 AND LEARN ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Meet the Practical Nursing Director – Pam Hughes

Meet Pam Hughes, Practical Nursing Director at United Career Institute!

Pam Hughes Practical Nursing Director

As the Practical Nursing Director at United, Pam loves her role and enabling students to thrive. “I love the United faculty and staff, but more so, I love watching the students succeed and grow.”

Pam has an amazing philosophy on helping students achieve their career goals, and it is showing a passion for teaching and helping students, a goal that’s instilled in all faculty members at United. She works to teach students to believe in themselves and accept themselves for who they are, while embracing everyone and their differences.

“United Career Institute is a family atmosphere and you are not a number, but an individual. Students are safe within our walls and we’re all here to help them, whether it is with their schoolwork or if they just need someone to talk to,” said Pam.

As a 2004 graduate of United Career Institute (formally PIHT), Pam knows first-hand how wonderful the family atmosphere is here. After graduating, Pam was given an opportunity to substitute at United when a medical instructor needed some time off. “I loved attending United as a student and I love teaching,” said Pam.

Pam earned an Associate in Specialized Science from Penn State in 2009 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in December 2011. She went on to complete a Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner and graduated in July 2019.

In January 2006, Pam was offered a teaching position at United and happily accepted. She worked her way up from an instructor to the Medical Assistant Program Director, and then to the Practical Nursing Director. When asked what drives her to work in education, Pam happily responded, “the students.”

When asked what drives her to get up and give her best each day, Pam’s response was an inspiring one: life. “I love life and when I come to work, I want the students, faculty, and staff to see me energized and smiling. In turn, they will also be happy and smiling.”

The accomplishment Pam is most proud of in her life is her education, because it allowed her to achieve her career goals. “Prior to becoming a student at United, I was working as an administrative assistant. While that was fine, there was no room for advancement.”

The thing Pam loves the most about her role as Practical Nursing Director is the family atmosphere.

Outside of work, Pam enjoys spending quality time with her husband. Her favorite food is pizza, and if she could have one superpower, it would be to cure diseases of all kinds.

Are you ready to jump-start your great healthcare career with a school that truly wants their students to succeed? Request information now to get started today!