Kyle Bair – Student Highlight

Irwin, Pennsylvania is a good distance from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. There’s little chance anyone would confuse the two of them, but that is precisely the route that Practical Nursing student Kyle Bair took that brought him to United Career Institute Irwin Campus. “I was living in Lake Tahoe and going to Sierra Nevada College before I came to United Career.
Overall it was a good experience, but I moved back this way, and United was the closest school to me for what I wanted.” Kyle was working at a local nursing home as an aide when he decided to go back to school. “I knew helping people is what I’ve always wanted to do, and what better way to accomplish that than becoming a nurse.” Kyle started the fast-track Practical Nursing (LPN) program in June of 2020 and is set to graduate in June of this year.

We asked Kyle what his favorite part of the program has been so far, and he was quick to answer all of the curriculum and information he has absorbed. “I have a thirst for knowledge, and there is no shortage of that here, and so far, my favorite class has been A&P.” When it comes to instructors, he said, “they all have been very good, but if he had to pick his favorite it would be Tina Fenyus,” who he had for Pharmacology, Nutrition and Med Surg.

Kyle likes to think of himself as a nomad, so it’s no surprise his ideal occupation after graduating would be a travel nurse. In 5 years, he hopes his career is steady, and he has a lot of travel under his belt. When asked if he would refer a friend to United Career Institute, Kyle didn’t hesitate, “Absolutely! Nursing is tough, but I enjoy my classmates, and we support each other. This is a great school, and if you are willing to put the work in, the reward is well worth it!” United couldn’t be happier to have Kyle as one of our students.

If you’re looking for a fast-track, Practical Nursing program in Westmoreland County, then request information here!

Flores and Flores Medical Associates – Externship Highlight

At United Career Institute Mt. Braddock, we pride ourselves on offering our students hands-on, real world experience prior to graduation. An integral component of that is our externship program, which occurs in the last 12 weeks of a student’s program. This exciting part of our curriculum would not be possible without the help of our wonderful industry partners. Read on to learn more about one of these companies!

Flores and Flores Medical Associates is a primary care physician’s office located in Uniontown, PA. They have been in business for over 20 years and specialize in emergency medicine, family medicine, and internal medicine.

United Career Institute students can expect a well-rounded training experiencing if they extern at Flores and Flores. Melissa Stevenson, the site coordinator, said, “We allow United students to get hands-on training on almost every single aspect of working in a doctor’s office – both front and back staff positions.” She continued, “Our staff enjoys teaching and sharing their knowledge with our externs. They also appreciate the help that students provide in return, making our employees’ days go easier.”

United students love the externship portion of their program for many reasons. For starters, the hands-on experience they receive solidifies the skills they have been taught throughout their program and gives them the confidence they need to apply those skills in a real word environment. Another reason the externship is such an exciting experience is the potential for a job offering at the end of it. While not all of our industry partners are in a position to hire after externship, some can be, and who better to hire than somebody you just trained for 12 weeks? Regardless of whether or not an externship ends with a job opportunity, it still serves as a wonderful experience and a resume booster.

 United Career Institute looks forward to continuing our partnership with Flores and Flores as they hope to grow their practice in the next five. Melissa says, “We are looking to add more mid-level providers and staff to support them.”

Melissa’s advice to anybody entering a new educational journey is this: “Learn as much as you can in your classes and definitely take advantage of your time as an extern. Externships are a great way to bridge using what you learn in the class with how to apply it in the real world setting. Ask the staff at your externship questions, so you can learn tips that you can possibly apply in your future job.”

To learn more about United Career Institute’s externship program, request information here!

Sonya Over – Staff Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce Sonya Over, our very own Financial Aid Advisor!

Sonya’s professional journey began back in 1993 when she graduated Summa Cum Laude from California University of Pennsylvania. She worked hard also to pass the CPA exam in May of 1993.

Before landing at United Career Institute, Sonya held a few different positions. She worked as a finance director with public housing for 10 years, a business manager with the local school district for five years. She was an executive director for a drug and alcohol recovery center for five years. Sonya says that her wide variety of professional experiences has nurtured her desire to see people succeed and achieve their dreams. “I spent decades working in public housing, public education, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. This all gave me the firm belief that anybody can change their lives and, more importantly, anybody can succeed with the right attitude and a strong support system,” she said.

Sonya has been with United for a number of years in a part-time capacity. “I had worked at PIHT (now United Career Institute) as needed for several years, and I really liked the family like atmosphere and the ‘student first’ attitude during my time. There is a common and collective goal among all staff to do whatever it takes to help the students. When the full-time position opened, I realized it would be a great fit to take me into retirement.” Sonya also loves the familial atmosphere amongst staff. “Having a united front with co-workers that have quickly become family makes going to work enjoyable.” She also notes that the school’s small size gives each employee the ability to get to know each student and provide support when needed. Sonya hopes to be able to continue to work in an environment that allows her to make an impact on many people.

Sonya loves her family, and one of her proudest accomplishments is being able to say that she and her siblings are the first generation of college graduates on both sides of her family. “The work ethic instilled in all of us by our mother has allowed us to achieve success in our individual paths.” In fact, Sonya cites her mother as her motivation in life. “Although my mom is no longer with us, she was always and always will be my greatest motivation to do well and make her proud.”

In Sonya’s spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her cat. “Most people don’t know that, although I really love animals, cats were never my favorite. I was a dog lover. However, when my neighbor convinced me to adopt a rescue named Patti Cat, I fell in love, and she is now my special cat. I can’t imagine life without her.”

To learn more about the financial aid process or to speak to Sonya yourself, request information here!

Romona Thompson – Graduate Highlight

United Career Institute Mount Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to one of our graduates, Romona Thompson. Romona graduated from our Practical Nursing program and is now working in a nursing center while she works on becoming a registered nurse.

Romona came to United straight from Albert Gallatin high school. She chose United because it seemed like a great opportunity when she was looking for schools. Romona especially loved the hands-on classes that she had heard so much about. United offers students small classes, which not only gives students plenty of hands-on time, but also allows them one on one time with instructors.

Romona has always wanted to be a nurse, so when she was nearing the end of her high school career, she started to look for short-term, hands-on programs. She found what she was looking for at United Career Institute.

In addition to having short term programs, Romona also liked that United helped her through the financial process*. A part of United’s enrollment process is sitting down with a financial aid advisor so that they can help walk you through the financial side of going to school. This includes filling out your FAFSA and answering any questions you may have.

Romona’s favorite part of attending United Career Institute was the hands-on training she received. She also LOVED the annual holiday celebrations, such as room decorating for Halloween, Thanksgiving dinner, and Christmas door decorating!

Romona loved all the instructors she had while attending United’s Practical Nursing program, but two that stood out to her were Amy and Amanda. She said they both had major impacts on her. Her favorite classes while in school were her lab classes because they were a change from normal lecture.

In five years, Romona hopes to be a registered nurse and living in her own house, but for now, is enjoying her time working at Cherry Tree Nursing Center.

When asked if she would refer a friend to United, Romona said she absolutely would because it provides a great experience in the chosen field of study.

If your story sounds like Romona’s and you want to learn more about United Career Institute, request information here!

 

*Financial aid for those who qualify.

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!

Victoria Moore – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to our November Student of the Month, Victoria Moore!

Victoria came to United from high school, where she was involved in many extracurricular activities. “I was involved in a handful of activities such as Marching Band, Medical Interest Club (MICSADD), Interact Club, and my school’s student committee (R.O.A.R.),” Victoria said. Victoria’s love for being hands-on is part of the reason she chose to attend United Career Institute in the first place. She said, “I chose United because of the opportunities it presented me. I am able to receive hands-on learning in an accelerated environment that offers the support I need for success.”

Victoria chose to enroll in United’s Medical Assisting program because she has long term plans for a career in the medical field. In addition to becoming a medical assistant, Victoria hopes to one day become a registered nurse. “I chose the MA program as a stepping stone. I am able to receive extra certifications as a phlebotomist and EKG tech. I felt like this was a good place to start my career journey,” she said. Many United students who choose to enroll in the Medical Assisting program do so for the same reason Victoria did. It is an excellent way to prepare for a more vigorous nursing program. United Career Institute also offers graduates of our Medical Assisting program a Nursing Pathway Grant to help continue their educational journey into nursing.

In addition to the hands-on experience she is gaining, Victoria’s favorite part of attending United is the supportive, family-like atmosphere. “We are all a family who supports one another! We celebrate our differences, strengths, and weaknesses.” While her favorite part of attending United Career Institute is the family-like atmosphere, Victoria’s favorite class is Medical Terminology. She said, “My favorite class so far is Medical Terminology! I am very good at memorization, so I excel in that class.”

Victoria has big dreams of becoming a nurse and she also knows which type of environment she would like to one day work in! “In five years, I want to have, or start, my RN. I would like to have a secure job before I settle down. I would love to work in a pediatric setting, like a doctor’s office,” she said.

Victoria is enjoying her experience at United so much that she would even refer friends here! “I feel like this school has it all. I would say that no other school will make you as prepared to achieve your dreams like United.”

If your story sounds similar to Victoria’s or if you have big dreams of a career in the medical field, request information here!

Lisa Clawson – Faculty Highlight

Lisa Clawson is the phlebotomy instructor at United Career Institute Irwin. She has been at United for almost a year now! She chose to become a phlebotomy instructor because she simply loves phlebotomy and loves to teach. Her favorite parts about working at United Career institute are the students and the staff!

Before joining the United Career Institute team, Lisa had worked doing a few different jobs. She has experience working in a variety of practices including primary care, pediatrics, and ear, nose, and throat (ENT). When asked which characteristics people interested in the medical field should have, Lisa said, “a good work ethic, thoughtful, works well with others, and is helpful.”

Lisa gets a variety of questions from her phlebotomy students. One of the most asked questions is “what kind of job opportunities will I have?” She tells her students, “There are plenty of job opportunities. You can work in many different settings such as dialysis, labs, family practice, blood banks, etc.”

Lisa is motivated by her family. “My children. They are my life. They make me want to be a better person.” She is very proud of them! We are very fortunate to have such a caring instructor!

To learn more about United’s short-term phlebotomy course, 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.

Karen Mayle – Student Highlight

Karen Mayle is a medical assisting student at United Career Institute. This is the first post-secondary school she’s attended. Before she decided to come back to school at United, Karen was working at a restaurant and had been laid off due to circumstances of Covid-19.

Karen chose United Career Institute as her school because she has a daughter who also attends school here. While talking to her daughter about going back to school for healthcare, she told her about what United Career Institute has to offer. She gave Karen the contact information for Kathy Coddington, who works in admissions, and Karen started down the enrollment path.

Karen is a student in the Medical Assisting program, and when asked why she chose this field, she said, “I have always found myself falling back into the healthcare field. I considered the skills I already had in the healthcare field and put that together with the fact that I like working with computers and working with people.” So, being an MA was a “no-brainer” for Karen.

When asked who her favorite teacher is, she couldn’t choose just one. She says, “Rachel, and the way she always makes sure everyone is included. Jade, with her teaching techniques and offerings of tutoring all the time. Kelli is ‘straight to the point’ with things and tells you how things are going to happen so you know what to expect.” She also loves how all of the instructors take their time to make sure they talk with their students about everything, not just schoolwork, even if they aren’t that student’s advisor.

Karen’s ideal job is working in a hospital or doctor’s office as a medical assistant. Within the next five years, she wants to be worry free of financial burdens. She doesn’t want to worry about things from pay to pay. “Things like that are difficult for a single mom,” she says. “I think, once I graduate from UCI, I will be able to accomplish that goal.”

Karen’s favorite part about attending United Career Institute is the people. She says, “Everyone there is great. All the instructors and other staff are very helpful with everything.”

When asked about whether or not she would refer United Career Institute to a friend, she said, “Yes I would. People at UCI are great!”

To learn more about United’s healthcare programs, request information here!