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.

Excela Health – Externship Highlight

One of the core values of United Career Institute is relationships; “we build meaningful and trusted relationships at the foundation of our culture.” Through these relationships, we provide our students with a well-rounded educational experience that will give them hands-on experience in their field of study.

United accomplishes this through an externship component of the Medical Assisting and Medical Billing/Administration programs. The students’ externship allows them to go into a real-world setting and apply the knowledge and skills they have learned at the campus.

For externships to work, you have great employer partners willing to accept students to apply these skills, and we do not have a shortage of partners at the Irwin campus. One of our partners is Excela Health, and many students have performed their externship at one of the many facilities that they operate. Excela Health brought together three hospitals and other healthcare affiliates to meet the health care needs of those in Westmoreland, northern Fayette, and southern Indiana counties. We are honored to work with; Frick Hospital in Mount PleasantLatrobe Hospital in Latrobe, and Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg. 

Students completing their externship with Excela achieve various clinical experiences, and Excela has been incredibly accommodating when it comes to United Career Institute students. We asked their representatives some key questions to explore why Excela likes to participate in these externship experiences, and they were indeed quick to answer.

When asked, “what value does a United student receive completing an externship with your organization?” Office Manager Nicole Zerone was quick to respond, saying, “We believe hands-on is so important, and we like to provide students support learning hands-on. We have all been there before and love to help students out.” When we asked the question, “What value does your organization receive having a United student complete their externship at your business?” she responded just as quickly, explaining, “It gives us an opportunity to mold someone into a good employee and give them the tools they need to succeed should they be employed by Excela.” United Career Institute could not value the relationship with Excela enough.

When it comes to giving students insight into their futures, we had to conclude with this perspective. “What advice would you give a student entering school in 2021/2022?” Zerone replied, “Take it one day at a time and learn as much as you can. Be attentive to your experiences and take constructive criticism, as all of these things can help you to become a good employee.”

To learn more about United’s externship program or if you are interested in getting the training you need to work at a place like Excela Health, request information here!

How to Enroll for Fall Classes

Are you ready to make the move into an exciting healthcare career? Or maybe you want to advance your current career but aren’t sure where to start? Whatever your unique situation may be, we’ve got you covered at United Career Institute.

We have many years of experience helping students achieve their career goals by providing the training and education necessary to get started. From the time you first reach out to us to graduation and beyond, we support our students through every step of getting an education and starting their new careers.

Now is a perfect time if you are ready to get on the fast track to a new healthcare career. We are currently accepting applications for fall classes. Read on to find out exactly how to enroll and jump-start your new career!

Explore Our Programs

The first step to enrolling in fall classes is to decide which healthcare training program is best for you. To make this decision, ask yourself a few questions: do I want to work directly with patients, do I want to work in an office setting, and what skills do I want to learn?

For students who want to work directly with patients in a clinical setting, our Practical Nursing program may be the best choice for you. As a licensed practical nurse, you get to work directly under doctors and registered nurses to provide medical care to patients. Some of the skills students will learn while enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at United are conducting physical assessments, administering medications, caring for wounds, and performing routine lab tests. This comprehensive nursing program prepares students for the NCLEX-PN° exam, which is required to work as a licensed practical nurse.

If you want to work directly with patients but in more of a medical office setting, our Medical Assisting program may work best for you. As a medical assistant, your focus will be on helping with patient care and treatment while completing administrative and clinical tasks. Skills you’ll practice as you complete your medical assisting classes to include taking vital signs, collecting medical specimens, drawing blood, and giving injections. While in this program, students prepare to sit for professional certifications including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**.

If you want to work more on the administrative side of healthcare, our Medical Billing/Administration program could be perfect for you. As a medical billing and administrative professional, you will be focused on helping medical facilities run smoothly by managing the front office operations. For students who choose the Medical Billing/Administration program, you will learn valuable skills such as performing basic coding, maintaining electronic health records, handling billing and transcribing doctor’s notes. As you complete your medical office classes, you will prepare for professional certifications, including Certified Billing and Coding Specialist*, Certified Medical Administrative Assistant**, and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist**.

Meet Your Admissions Advisor

Now that you know more about the healthcare training programs we offer, it’s time to meet with an admissions advisor. To set up this meeting, request information now, or call our Irwin Campus at 724-515-2440 or our Mt. Braddock Campus at 724-437-4600. Our admissions advisors are friendly and ready to help you with anything you need to get started in your chosen career training program.

You will meet with your dedicated admissions advisor, who will walk you through the enrollment process. In this meeting, you will learn more about United Career Institute, the classes you will take as part of your program, and our proven process for helping you get into your new career. You will get the opportunity to ask any questions you have about United or our programs.

Your admissions advisor will give you a tour of the campus, so you can see the classrooms and labs, meet some of your instructors, and get a feel for what it’s like to attend United. You can complete your admissions meeting and campus tour in person or virtually.

Find Out About Financial Aid

Next, it’s time to meet with a financial aid advisor to learn more about the financial aid options that you may qualify for. Your financial aid advisor will explain the process to you and help you apply for the various financial aid programs.

Some of the financial aid resources that you will learn more about include federal grants, state grants, student loans, and veteran GI Bill programs. To determine which of these financial aid options you may qualify for, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial aid advisor can help you accurately complete your FAFSA.

Additionally, we offer several internal grants that students could qualify for if eligible, including the Nursing Pathway Grant***, Early Admission Grant***, and United Commitment Grant***.

Getting Registered for Classes

The final step is to register for your healthcare classes. At United, we take the work out of registering for classes. We will get you registered each term, so you don’t have to worry about not getting into the classes you need.

Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have everything you need to succeed in your healthcare courses. Get your supplies ready, make time for homework, and talk with your family and friends about any support you will need to excel in your program.

Now that you know exactly how to enroll for fall classes, you’re ready to get on the fast track to a new career. Contact us now to get started!

*Certification is contingent on passing the corresponding certification exam. Required/included in tuition/fees.

**Certification is contingent on passing the corresponding certification exam. Optional at own expense.

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

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

Career Services at United

Career services at United Career Institute assist students with their experience while giving them the edge they’ll need for future job prospects. Whether you’re a traditional or nontraditional student, returning to school, or just starting your journey, United’s career services are here for you.

We are committed to helping you achieve your goals, which is why we offer career readiness, professional development, and continuing assistance to all of our students.

Career Readiness

Interviewing for your dream job can be intimidating and overwhelming, which is why students are given the opportunity to participate in mock interviews before graduation. Practicing and polishing your interviewing skills helps you gain the confidence needed to stand out from others in actual interviews who may be applying for the same job as you.

United maintains partnerships with a network of local employers where students can gain hands-on experience in real-world settings through externships or clinicals, depending on your program. The skills and knowledge you acquire during this experience will benefit you when added to your resume and LinkedIn profile.

The assistance of career services goes beyond the classroom. We take great pride in helping employers find qualified candidates for open positions while simultaneously helping our students with job placement as they begin their careers.

Professional Development

At United, we have a team ready to assist all students with professional development. From admissions to career services to graduation, our team is dedicated to helping you create a plan to achieve your career and financial goals.

Personal and professional branding is essential in today’s job market and can help you stand out among other job applicants. Career services will help you create individualized branding tailored just for you.

We will help you create a LinkedIn profile showcasing your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience to prospective employers. Volunteer work, externships, and special projects may be added to demonstrate your value as an employee.

Career services will also help you prepare professional documents like cover letters, resumes, thank you notes, references, and letters of recommendation. These documents are often the first impression an employer has of you as a potential employee and should be error-free and professional-looking.

Continuing Assistance

Our enthusiasm for your success doesn’t end once you graduate. We’ll still be here to give you continued guidance throughout your career. You’ll have access to courses that keep you up to date in your chosen career. For example, you’ve earned a degree in Medical Assisting from United, and a few years later, you must learn a new technique. Career services can assist you with learning about and understanding the new procedure.

Additionally, your career goals may change over time, so with that in mind, United offers career advising to all alumni because we want you to succeed now and in the future.

Apply Today

When you choose United, you receive hands-on training as you prepare for professional certifications or licenses while earning your degree.

Applications are now being accepted for fall classes! Check out our career-focused degree programs in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing. Request information now to get started on your path to a new career!

Brandon Hegland – Student Highlight

People always dream of studying abroad, which is exactly what United Career Institute  Practical Nursing student Brandon Hegland was able to do. His studies led him to South America, and upon his return to the United States, he attended Mutual Aid’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program.  Though the training was rigorous, Brandon said it was an “amazing training experience.”

That rigorous training helped to prepare him for what to expect from United’s fast-track Practical Nursing program.  When asked about why he chose United, Brandon credited his sister, a graduate of our Mount Braddock campus, as his “inspiration for becoming a nurse.”

Brandon enjoys the small class sizes and the individualized instruction provided by his instructors. When asked who his favorite instructor was, he said Tina because “she really does know the material she teaches and is more than willing to present the material in different ways so that all her students can comprehend the lectures.”

Clinical experiences are Brandon’s favorite as they help put students in the industry and showcase their skills and work collaboratively with other nurses and patients.  Brandon says clinical allows him to “put all the skills learned into good use.” Clinical experiences have also presented the opportunity for Brandon to reflect on how much he has grown as a practical nurse.

When asked about his ideal job, Brandon didn’t have a specific organization or area in mind, but he does want to be somewhere where he can see the difference he makes in someone’s life.  In his time here at United, this comes as no surprise since Brandon can always be found conversing with his peers and the faculty and staff of United Career Institute with a smile on his face. Five years from now, Brandon sees himself being successful and back to traveling abroad while still keeping in touch with his fellow classmates, particularly Jodi.

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

What’s the Difference Between a CNA and MA?

Many people want to start a career in the healthcare field, and for a good reason. The healthcare industry continues to grow rapidly, and the variety of jobs available is expanding as well. Working in healthcare also gives you the chance to help people and make a difference in their lives when they need it most.

There are so many opportunities to begin a healthcare career that it can be confusing to try and figure it out on your own. With this in mind, we’re going to help by explaining the difference between a certified nursing assistant and a medical assistant.

Career Outlook


The career outlook for medical assistants is promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for medical assistants in the United States from 2019-2029 is 19%, well above the 4% average growth rate for all occupations. This means that there will be even more medical assistants needed in the future, and employers will need qualified people to fill these positions.

For certified nursing assistants in the United States, the BLS estimates that the growth rate will be 8% between 2019 and 2029. This is still more than the average rate of 4% but not anywhere near as high as the growth rate for medical assistants.

Skills Required

Medical assistants perform various duties while on the job, including both clinical and administrative tasks that focus on assessing patients and helping doctors with patient care and treatment. Skills a medical assistant needs to learn include taking vital signs, helping with examinations, giving injections, preparing lab tests, and handling patient information.

At United, medical assisting students have the opportunity to practice their hands-on skills in a real healthcare setting as part of an externship. This real-world experience sets students up for success as they begin applying for jobs and start their careers.

Certified nursing assistants focus more on direct patient care and help with daily living activities. Performing baths and cleaning patients, helping patients get dressed and use the bathroom, moving patients between beds and wheelchairs, feeding patients, and changing linens are all common necessary skills of certified nursing assistants.

Training Needed

To start a career in medical assisting, you will need specialized training that prepares you for this specific job. Most medical assisting degree programs can be completed in under two years and include classroom instruction and hands-on skills. It’s also a good idea to choose a medical assistant program that includes preparation for professional certifications, as many employers prefer candidates who have these credentials.

For example, in our Medical Assisting program here at United, students learn valuable knowledge and practice their hands-on skills in their medical assisting classes, labs, and externship. Students also prepare for healthcare certifications specific to being a medical assistant, including the National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician** certifications.

To become a certified nursing assistant, specialized training is required for this career path, and it is usually completed in under six months. The training must be state-approved and typically teaches direct patient care, patient safety, and documentation. CNAs must also pass a competency exam and complete a number of hours of hands-on clinical training, which varies by state.

Work Environment

According to BLS data, medical assistants are most likely to work in physician’s offices, with 57% employed there in 2019. Another 15% is working in hospitals, and the rest in outpatient care centers and at chiropractors. Most medical assistants are full-time employees with 40-hour workweeks. Medical assisting professionals who work in medical facilities that are always open, like hospitals, may work evenings, weekends, and holidays.

According to the BLS, certified nursing assistants are more likely to work in nursing care facilities, with 37% working there, and hospitals, with 27% working there. The remainder of nursing assistants work in retirement and assisted living facilities, home healthcare services, and government. The job duties are more physically demanding and strenuous, as CNAs are on their feet a lot of the time and expected to lift over 50 pounds. Most certified nursing assistants work full time, but some work part-time. They may work longer shifts and more on nights, weekends, and holidays.

Get Started

Now you know the difference between medical assistants and certified nursing assistants! If you’ve decided to go with medical assisting for your career, we may have the perfect Medical Assisting program for you. With hands-on training, academic support, and career services, we can help you reach your career goals. Request information today to get started!

 

*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.

4 Tips For High School Seniors Choosing A School In 2021

This school year has been very different for high school seniors, but one thing has not changed: each of you must decide what you’re going to do after you graduate from high school.

Graduating in the middle of a pandemic can seem scary and be filled with uncertainty. At United Career Institute, we are here to help you every step of the way. Check out our top four tips for high school seniors choosing a school in 2021!

Know Your Options

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many things, but as a high school senior, you still have a variety of options after graduation. You could go straight into the workforce with a job in retail or food service. You could attend a traditional university and plan to spend the next 4-6 years there. If you don’t want to spend this much time and money in school, a career-focused degree may be the better choice for you.

Like the ones offered here at United Career Institute, accelerated degree programs allow you to finish school quicker, saving you time and money as you earn your degree.

To help you choose the option that’s right for you, talk with your parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and friends. Listen to their thoughts on the different options, as they may bring up points that you hadn’t thought about. You should always do your own research because, at the end of the day, you are the one making this choice. Deciding what to do after you graduate high school is a big deal and can impact your life now and in the future.

Make Your Plan

Now that you know your options for after high school, it’s time to create a plan that works for you. Your plan will depend on what you want to do in your career. For example, if you want to become a licensed practical nurse, you will need to attend training that prepares you for the NCLEX-PN exam. Write your career goals down, including what field you want to work in and what specific job you want to perform.

If you are unsure about what career is best for you, consider taking our career test or finding one online to complete. A career test can help guide you in the direction best for you by taking into consideration your strengths, interests, skills, and experiences.

For those of you who already know what career you want, now you need to figure out how to get there. What degree, skills, and experience do you need? Does your career require a specific certification or license? Will you need to be trained in specific areas and tasks? Answering these questions will help guide you to the right school that offers what you need to succeed.

Start Applying Now

You’ve made your plan, so now you’re ready to begin applying to the school that best fits your needs. Research the schools that offer the degree or career training program you need to work in your chosen career field. In addition to your program, find out what other services and learning environments are offered by the schools. Some questions to ask include:

  • Are the classes accelerated or traditional length?
  • In what ways does the school support students?
  • Is there hands-on training included in the program?
  • What career services are offered to students?
  • Does the school have positive online reviews?

Once you decide on the school you want to attend, contact them to get started. You may be able to take a virtual tour of the school to get a feel for what it’s like. Be sure to write down any questions you have about the program or school so that when you meet with them for an admissions interview, you will be prepared.

Complete the Process

Once you have applied to your chosen school, it’s time to complete the process to get enrolled. When you meet with an admissions advisor, they will let you know what you need to enroll in your program. Be sure to plan for due dates for items you must complete, such as entrance exams and essays. You will also need to complete your FAFSA and apply for any scholarships you may qualify for.

At United Career Institute, our helpful admissions advisors work with you one-on-one to create a career plan designed just for you. We understand each student is unique, with different goals, needs, and educational experience requirements. Our admission advisors guide you through the enrollment process from the moment you contact us to starting your classes and beyond. We are here to help you every step of the way.

If you’re a high school student wondering what to do after graduation, call us or request information today, and we will help you get started on your path to a great career!