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!

Amy Murray – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is proud to introduce you to our March Student of the Month, Amy Murray. Amy is one of our practical nursing students and has a unique story behind how she ended up at United….She was a student 17 years ago when we were still named West Virginia Career Institute! At the time, she was a medical assisting student, and her experience in that program is what encouraged her to come back to United when she was ready to continue her education. “I chose United because I had an amazing experience the first time around!!! The PN program was exactly what I was looking for and located fairly close to me. United also worked with my schedule with my children. I have school when they have school, so I’m not missing a significant amount of time with them,” Amy said.

Amy had always had dreams of being a nurse and originally hoped to pursue that dream directly after completing her Medical Assisting degree. “I chose the PN program because it has always been a dream of mine to become a nurse. After the MA program, I had planned on continuing my journey to become a nurse, but God had bigger plans for me then. That’s when I was blessed with my three beautiful children and was lucky enough to stay home and raise them for several years. Now that they are older, with their support, I was finally able to return to school to finish what I started so many years ago.”

There are so many things about United that Amy loves that she had trouble picking just one! “One of my favorite parts of attending United is knowing that I am learning the skills that will help me reach my lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. Another favorite part would have to be coming to school every day and being in a class full of amazing women who support each other,” she said.

Just like Amy had trouble picking her favorite part of attending United, she also had a hard time picking her favorite instructor. “I love ALL of my teachers! Each and every one of them wants to see us succeed and will encourage and believe in us even when we may not believe in ourselves.” While Amy had trouble picking her favorite part of attending United and her favorite teachers, she had no trouble picking her favorite class! “My favorite class would have to be Lab/Clinical,” she said. “I really enjoy being able to go to the hospital for clinical and use what we have learned in class to help people,” she continued.

Amy’s ideal job after graduation is working in the Emergency Department or Labor and Delivery. In five years, she hopes to be working as a nurse and achieve financial stability.

When asked if she would recommend a friend to United, Amy said, “I would definitely recommend United to a friend, and I would even recommend [it] to a complete stranger. The small class sizes, amazing teachers, location, and hands-on experience United offers prepares you to become the best nurse you can be for future patients and their families.”

If your story sounds similar to Amy’s or if you’re interested in learning more about United’s Practical Nursing program, request information here!

Mackenzie Stefanini – Graduate Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce one of our newest graduates, Mackenzie Stefanini. Mackenzie graduated from United’s Medical Assisting program this month and is already working in the field!

Mackenzie began her journey at United right after high school! She attended a presentation in one of her classes that sparked her interest, and went for an interview afterward and loved it!

Mackenzie has always known she wanted to be in the medical field. However, she knew she needed a school where she could get her foot in the door of the medical field that also provided one on one time with instructors in a small school atmosphere. She said, “I chose the MA program so that I could get my foot in the door and be sure that this was the career I wanted and because I have always wanted to do something in the medical field.” Mackenzie continued,  “I chose United because it was hands-on experience and was a small building with not a lot of people at one time, allowing more one-on-one time with teachers for any questions you might have had.” United’s small class sizes allow plenty of time for one on one help if students need it!

The familial atmosphere was Mackenzie’s favorite part of attending United. “My favorite part was how friendly and family-oriented the building was. They made you feel at home while you were there,” she said. While the family-like atmosphere was Mackenzie’s favorite part of attending United, Kelli, United’s Allied Health Program Coordinator, was her favorite instructor. She said, “I would say my favorite teacher was Kelli. She was the teacher for my clinical classes, and I loved my clinical classes. She always told stories to help remember things.”

One of the most exciting parts of a student’s experience at United Career Institute is the externship they get to participate in their last 12 weeks of the program. This externship allows students to get real-world experience in medical settings. This experience can sometimes lead to job opportunities, and that is the case with Mackenzie! She said, “I am currently working from my extern because they hired me at Conn Family Medicine.”

Mackenzie has big plans for her life in the next five years, both professionally and personally! “I would like to be living in my own house, and starting a family, possibly even go back to United for their LPN program.” Many United students who graduate from the Medical Assisting program go on to the Practical Nursing program because the MA program offers an excellent base to build on.

Mackenzie says she would absolutely refer a friend to United because of the friendly environment and staff! “I would definitely refer somebody to United because of how friendly the environment is. Also, because of how great the teachers are, and they love what they do. I loved the hands-on experience that I also got being at the school.”

If your story sounds similar to Mackenzie’s, request information here!

Why You Should Choose a Direct Admission Practical Nursing Program

Are you dreaming of a career in nursing but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re considering a career in healthcare, and practical nursing is one of your options. Whatever your circumstances are, a direct admission practical nursing program can be an excellent choice for you!

Employers are consistently hiring new nurses, making this a great career choice for entering the healthcare field. As more people have access to healthcare services and the baby boomer generation continues to age, the demand for nurses is projected to continue increasing.

With so many different options available for becoming a nurse, where do you begin this journey? A direct admission practical nursing program has many benefits and advantages. Check out our top reasons below on why you should choose a direct admission practical nursing program!

Start Nursing Courses Immediately


One of the main benefits of enrolling in a direct admission practical nursing program is that you will also immediately begin completing your nursing courses as soon as you start the nursing program. You don’t have to wait years, taking general education classes, before you’re accepted into a nursing program. In a direct admission program, you’re accepted “directly” into the Practical Nursing program.

When you choose a program that allows you to start your nursing classes right away, it gives you a lead over people who enroll in a traditional nursing program. You learn critical knowledge and hands-on skills immediately as you jump right into your nursing courses, setting you up to make a meaningful impact in your patient’s lives when you begin your new nursing career.

Take Exact Classes Needed

Most nursing programs that are not direct admission require you to take two years of general education classes, but you can avoid this when choosing a direct admission practical nursing program. This means that you don’t have to take courses that are not related to nursing and instead, you take the exact classes you need. By avoiding classes you don’t need, you save money and time.

At United, we designed our direct admission Practical Nursing program to get you on the fast-track to becoming a nurse. You begin nursing classes immediately and are trained in critical areas, including conducting physical assessments, caring for wounds, monitoring vital signs, and performing routine lab tests.

Graduate In Less Time

When you start your nursing courses right away and take only the classes you need to succeed as a nurse, you complete your courses quicker and graduate sooner. It can take four years or more to finish a nursing program and graduate from a traditional nursing school. If you don’t want to spend that much time and money attending school, a direct admission practical nursing program could be an excellent option for you.

Another reason traditional nursing programs are not as quick is there’s no guarantee you will be accepted into their nursing program. You could spend years taking prerequisites and general education classes and still never be accepted into the program.

Begin Your Career Sooner

When you choose a direct admission nursing program that accepts you right away, allowing you to begin your nursing courses immediately, you can start your nursing career much sooner. This can have a positive impact on your career now and in the future. By starting your career as a nurse quicker, you get to earn money and gain experience faster. When you choose this option, you will be years ahead of those who enroll in traditional nursing programs.

At United, our direct admission Practical Nursing program was created with one goal in mind: to train and prepare you for a nursing career in only 12 months. Our program is designed to give you the education, skills, and experience required to succeed in your nursing career. While enrolled in your nursing classes, you prepare for the NCLEX-PN* exam and have the opportunity to complete your clinicals at a variety of local healthcare facilities.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward achieving your goal of becoming a nurse and want a direct admission program that gets you on the fast-track to your new career, request information today!

 

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

Our Proven Process for Success

At United Career Institute, we take pride in providing quality education, training, and preparation for students starting new careers. It’s an honor to ensure that each and every student is empowered to achieve their career goals.

We have created and established a proven process that helps us cater to each student’s journey in their career. Our proven process helps guide students through these six steps: Plan, Equip, Learn, Enhance, Apply, and Succeed.

Continue reading to learn more about each step and request information to begin your path to a new and exciting career!

Step 1: Plan


We understand that everyone is different. We all have our unique circumstances, requirements, and goals. At United, we believe in identifying each student’s needs to create an individual educational plan that works specifically for you.

Once you request more information, you will be introduced to one of our supportive and friendly career advisors. They will work with you to develop a plan that gets you on your way to achieving your financial goals. You can ask any questions you have to learn all about the student experience at United. After your meeting, you will be provided with an opportunity to tour the campus, see classrooms and labs, and chat with your future instructors.

Step 2: Equip

After you’ve met with an admissions advisor, our dedicated enrollment team will ensure you are equipped with everything you need to get started with your classes, including creating a financial plan that helps you accomplish your career goals.

You will have a meeting with a financial aid advisor, who will explain and guide you through the financial aid process. You will get the opportunity to learn about the different financial aid programs you could qualify for, for example, grants** or loans.

We will assist you in completing your enrollment by getting you registered for your classes and helping you plan for other support you may need, like childcare or transportation.

Step 3: Learn

You are now officially enrolled, and it’s time to start your classes! You will gain important career training, learn practical skills, and practice them while in the classroom and with our interactive labs.

Each of our career-focused degree programs offered here at United includes hands-on training. For instance, students in our Medical Assisting program will learn essential skills, such as measuring vital signs, giving injections, conducting lab tests, drawing a patient’s blood.

While you train for a new healthcare career, you will be in a supportive and helpful environment that caters to all students through our WE CARE educational approach. Academic advising, tutoring, and other services are provided to empower you to succeed in your classes.

Step 4: Enhance

As you learn the important practical skills taught in our healthcare training programs, you will also improve your marketability to employers and prepare for professional certification or license exams. The certifications and licenses will differ depending on the career field you choose, as employers have different criteria for different jobs.

For instance, students who complete our Medical Billing and Coding program are prepared for the Certified Billing and Coding Specialist* certification exam, while students who are enrolled in the Practical Nursing program will prepare for the NCLEX-PN° exam.

Improving your skillset with professional certifications shows your value and can give you an edge over those who may not be certified as you apply for healthcare jobs.

Step 5: Apply

Outside of learning in a classroom or lab setting, you will be given the opportunity to apply what you have learned through an externship or a clinical experience. This provides you with real-life experiences, which is a great asset for potential employment. You will practice the new skills you have gained to be successful on the job and after graduation.

While you apply your skills in the real world, you will be presented with opportunities to create positive relationships with potential employers and others in your local healthcare community. This networking will be of great value when you start your job search. For students enrolled in our Practical Nursing program, you will have clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities.

Step 6: Succeed

Once you finish your classes, complete your externship or clinicals, and pass your certification exams, it’s time for you to graduate. You are now equipped to begin your new healthcare career!

At United, we provide career services that help students kick-start their new careers. You can take advantage of many benefits, including resume development, professional interview training, and access to our network of employers.

After graduation, you will receive continued support with brush-up courses and career services to enable your success now and in the future.

If you are looking for a school with a proven process for success in training students to succeed in healthcare careers, then United may be the right place for you! Discover our career-focused degree programs and request information to start your path to a new career today!

**For those who qualify. See catalog for detailed eligibility requirements.

*Certification is contingent upon passing this industry certification exam.

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

Bethany Slezak – Student Highlight

Bethany Slezak is one of United Career Institute’s practical nursing students at the Irwin campus.She started the program in June of 2020 and will be graduating in June of 2021. She chose United Career Institute because she liked the idea of smaller classes, and she felt like it had a more family-like approach. Before she came to United, Bethany was working as an aide at a personal care home. She knew she wanted to go to nursing school because she likes taking care of people. She said, “I know it’s cliché to say that I want to take care of people, but it really is true. Specifically working with geriatrics, I want to give them the care they are entitled to.”

One of Bethany’s favorite parts about attending United is the instructors. She feels that they are very approachable and helpful to the students. “I love all of my instructors. They each have amazing qualities like their confidence, cleverness, intellect, humor, and are kindhearted. All things that I look up to.” Her favorite class so far has been Anatomy & Physiology. She said, “I find it fascinating how our bodies work. It is also the basis of Medical Surgical Nursing, so it’s great to see everything I’ve learned coming together!”

After she graduates, Bethany would like to start working in long term care. She wants to move on to Hospice care eventually. When we asked how she would like her life to be like in five years, she said, “I would like to be successful in my new career, married, and have some kiddos running around.”

If your story sounds similar to Bethany’s, request information here!

Kristen Ruby – Student Highlight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.