Shannon McClain – Student Highlight

Like many students before her, Shannon McClain attended a local community college before coming to United Career Institute. When asked what made United different than her previous school, Shannon said, “the staff at UCI are friendly and, all the classes are relevant.” United has six-week modules, this allows classes to go by quickly while ensuring that all the information they learn applies to the workplace.

When asked why she chose medical assisting, Shannon said, “I have a passion for helping others.” Her mom is also a medical assistant and an alumna of our Mount Braddock campus, so Shannon has a good understanding of the profession. 

Shannon’s favorite class in the program has been Anatomy and Physiology because she, “loves learning the body and body systems.” Anatomy and Physiology provide United students with a great understanding of how the body works and various diseases and disorders they will see while working as a medical assistant.

Five years from now, Shannon sees herself as a graduate of United Career Institute, owning her own home, working in a cancer center, and “striving to be the best she can be at 25!”

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

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!

Katelyn Burgman – Student Highlight

Before attending United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program, Katelyn Burgman, like many before her, attended a local community college to pursue a radiology technician program. Katelyn did not have an enjoyable experience and quickly realized that she wanted to go into a field doing something she “actually enjoyed instead of just settling for a job,” and she landed at United Career Institute.

When asked why she chose United, Katelyn quickly responded, “I want to be a nurse, but I chose to get my MA first so I can have options and more knowledge of the medical field.”  Katelyn’s favorite part of attending United Career Institute is that the presented material isn’t overwhelming, and assistance is available.  Her favorite classes so far have been her three clinical courses because they provide a hands-on experience, and Katelyn is a hands-on learner.

When it comes to her favorite instructor, Katelyn couldn’t choose a specific one. “All of my instructors have shown caring and understanding, and I like them all in different ways.” This comes as no surprise, as the Medical Assisting program staff truly puts the student first, as does anyone at United.

Upon completion of her externship, Katelyn doesn’t have a particular specialty in mind but knows with the options available to medical assistant graduates; the possibilities are plentiful. After graduation, Katelyn sees herself being happy with the path she chose and having her life on track. We can’t wait to see what successes Katelyn has in her future as a medical assistant!

Shawn Hull – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our May Student of the Month, Shawn Hull! Shawn is a Medical Billing and Coding student and has been with us for almost a year. Since he stepped foot into this building, he has been a joy to be around!

Prior to attending United, Shawn served in the Air Force and then attended Triangle Tech. While some discouraged him from attending school at that point, he persevered and used their doubt as motivation to reach his goals. He says, “After I retired from the Air Force, I attended Triangle Tech and received my Associate in Specialized Technology Degree in Refrigeration, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. Even though it had been many years since I attended high school, I took the opportunity to further my education to provide better for my family. When I first started talking about going back to school, there were some that said I was crazy and that I would be lucky if I graduate. That’s all it took, and two years later, I graduated first in my class with a 3.52 GPA.” Shawn worked as an HVAC installer for a local heating and air conditioning company before he decided to return to school again.

When Shawn began looking into schools where he could continue his education, he couldn’t ignore all the great things he heard about United Career Institute. “I had friends and family members who attended and graduated from United and heard nothing but great things about the school [and] its curriculum and staff. United’s reputation was hard to ignore, which made my decision to attend United a no-brainer,” he says.

Shawn is part of United’s Medical Billing and Coding program. His interest in this particular program comes from his desire to be in the healthcare field but his aversion to needles. He says, “There has always been a part of me that wanted to be a part of the healthcare field. I choose the Medical Billing and Coding program because, like I said a part of me always wanted to be a part of the healthcare field. The truth is I’m not a big fan of needles. I don’t like getting poked and I wouldn’t want to do that to someone else. That’s why I decided to go the office route.”

The small class sizes and attentiveness of faculty and staff are some of Shawn’s favorite parts of attending United. “I really like the small class size. It gives the teachers the ability to pass on all the information we need to succeed with less distractions than you would have with larger classes.” While Shawn thinks all of the faculty and staff at United are “awesome,” one instructor in particular stood out to him because of how welcoming she was. “I can’t say that I have a favorite. All the teachers and staff are awesome. They are always available if you need them. Whether it be before class or after, they always make themselves available. There is one, however, that comes to mind more than the others, Jade Teets. The first day of classes, Jade made me feel very comfortable, especially since I am the only guy in the school and all my new classmates are young enough to be my daughters.”

Shawn had a little less trouble selecting his favorite classes… “As far as my favorite class I would have to say first the coding classes and then Anatomy and Physiology. The coding class because that’s going to be a big part of my new career. A&P is just a very interesting area, and I learn something new every class. Not too bad for a 51-year old that thought he knew it all.”

After Shawn graduates, he hopes to work in a family practitioner’s office, though he says he would be happy in just about any healthcare setting!

In five years, Shawn wants what many people want…to be comfortable in his career. “In five years, I’ll be that much closer to retiring, again, but I see myself finally having a career that I feel comfortable in and enjoy as much as I did my Air Force career,” he said.

Shawn says he would absolutely recommend United Career Institute to a friend! “I don’t think there is another medical career institute around that can touch the personable and professional environment that United has. The staff are in a category of their own when it comes to secondary education. From admissions to financial aid to teachers they all are second to none. Knowing now how professional everyone is here at United, tells me I made the right and only decision to attend United Career Institute to finally fulfill my dream.”

United Career Institute is lucky to have a student as dedicated as Shawn! If your story sounds like his, request information here!

Shaquna West – Student Highlight

The pandemic has forced changes in many people’s lives, and United Career Institute Medical Assisting student Shaquna West is, unfortunately, no different. “Before COVID hit, I was working as a kitchen manager and working full-time.” However, like so many other food industry workers, Shaq (as she likes to be referred to) found herself back at home being a full-time mother of 6. “I love being with my family, but I also had a desire to take my education and career to the next level. I started originally with Penn Foster but wasn’t getting the help when I needed it. I felt like I was on my own, so I hopped online and searched for medical assisting school, and United Career Institute was the first to pop up,” she said.

After talking to a United admissions advisor and scheduling a tour, Shaq decided to begin her classes. Her love for helping people and her dream of ultimately becoming a nurse has driven her in her studies. “I love the smaller classes at UCI, because it allows the instructors to focus on the students. If you need help, they go the extra mile to get you the information you need.” Shaq listed Arianna as one of her favorite teachers because she pushes her to do better in everything, giving her the motivation she needs. She also enjoys Kelly Clark’s classes because she breaks everything down into terms that are easy for her and the other students to understand.

Shaq looks to the future often, and when she graduates, she envisions her dream career as one where she works in MaGee’s Women’s Hospital or Children’s Hospital. Five years from now, she can see herself continuing her education until she becomes a registered nurse.

In conclusion, Shaq felt obligated to express her feelings about referring others to the United Irwin Campus. “It’s a great school, and they truly put the students first. Everyone is so helpful and willing to get you any information you need!”  With Shaquna’s dedication and work ethic, we certainly see her being successful during her program here!

To learn more about United’s Medical Assisting program, request information here!

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!

Aleesha Guidos – Student Highlight

Aleesha Guidos is one of United Career Institute’s medical assisting students. She enrolled at the Irwin campus in the summer of 2020. She graduated from Latrobe High School and attended EWCTC while working as a CNA. She chose the Medical Assisting program because she thought it would be a good stepping stone into the medical field. United Career Institute was a good fit because she liked the idea of our small classes and felt that we had a positive atmosphere.

So far, her favorite instructor has been Kelly Shriver. Aleesha said, “She is understanding and always willing to help in any way she can.” She feels that the staff is very welcoming, and her favorite class so far has been Anatomy and Physiology. “I liked that class because I was able to learn about how each and every body system works,” she said.

After Aleesha graduates, she hopes to work as a medical assistant. Possibly in a pediatrician’s office! Later down the road, she hopes to have her BSN and work at a children’s hospital. We wish you all the luck, Aleesha!!

If you want to get into the medical field and like the idea of small classes like Aleesha, request information here and learn more today!

Nikki Feltes – Student Highlight

While in high school, United Career Institute Medical Assisting student Nikki Feltes had an idea she may want to pursue a career in healthcare, but didn’t see herself going to a four year college. During her time at Latrobe Area High School, she took advantage of a program available to students through the Eastern Westmoreland Career Technology Center where they could split HS studies with a health occupation program. During that time, Nikki began to see herself making healthcare a career, so when she wasn’t studying for school, she was working part-time at a nursing home. Upon graduation in June 2020, Nikki discovered United Career Institute in Irwin and thought it might be a perfect avenue to continue her healthcare aspirations. After meeting with the admissions team, her decision was made.

When we asked Nikki why she chose the United Career Institute Irwin campus, she said, “I thought it would be a fun and interesting school. Now that I have begun the program, boy was I right!” She has enjoyed learning new things pertaining to the medical field and not only going to class with other high school students in the same position as her, but other adult learners too. Her ultimate motivation for choosing UCI’s Medical Assisting program was sparked by her already having exposure to it from her time at EWCTC. She learned a lot about what medical assistants do from her Health Occupations program, and just knew that it would be something she’d be good at. She feels she’ll always enjoy working in a healthcare setting and hopefully make a difference in people’s lives.

The Medical Assisting program has many engaging and hands-on classes, but we had to ask Nikki what her favorite class has been so far, and she didn’t hesitate to answer; Anatomy & Physiology. “I love learning about the human body and diseases,” said Nikki. We also had to ask Nikki who her favorite instructor has been to this point, and the answer was immediate again; Kelly Clark. Nikki added, “She is so nice and laid back. I’ve always felt like I could tell her anything.” That reaction to Kelly Clark’s teaching is not uncommon. So it came as no surprise that Nikki felt the same way. It’s always good to hear positive feedback like this from our students, and Nikki’s is no exception.

Looking into the future, we asked her what she sees her life like after she graduates. Nikki hopes to be a medical assistant in either a children’s hospital or at a doctor’s office. She has a true passion for caring for children. She will be looking to do her externship in pediatrics locally to quell her passion for working with kids. Five years from now, she hopes to still be working as a medical assistant, and she wants to start a family eventually. Nikki can see herself married, happy in her career, and hopefully buying and moving into a new house.

If your story sounds like Nikki’s, request information here!

Cassidy East – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to Cassidy East, the February Student of the Month!

Cassidy has not been a part of the United family for long, as she started classes after she graduated from high school last year. “Before attending United Career Institute, I was enrolled as a student at Mount Pleasant Jr/Sr High School. I was also enrolled in the Health Occupations program at Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center,” she said.

Cassidy chose United’s Medical Assisting program because of the flexibility it offers. Medical Assisting students only attend classes Monday through Thursday and are done by 2:30 each day. This schedule allows United students to work while in school, if they choose to do so. Cassidy said, “I chose to come to United because it seemed like the perfect fit for me as I still wanted to continue to work as I gained my education.”

Cassidy has hopes to continue her education one day, but chose to start with the Medical Assisting program because it offers a great base to build off of. “I chose my program based on the knowledge I wanted to gain. I felt if I did the Medical Assisting program first, I would have a better understanding for when I go to further my education,” she said.

Medical Terminology was Cassidy’s favorite class so far. “This was my favorite because of how well I excelled in that class. I earned over 100% for Med Term 1-3,” she said. Overall, her favorite part of attending United is the general environment. “My favorite part of United is how relaxing it is, and also the people are really nice, and so it makes going enjoyable.”

After graduation, Cassidy hopes to be working in the medical field, specifically in a hospital. “My ideal job after graduation is in the hospital.” She continued, “If these plans are unable to be done right away, I would also enjoy working at a doctor’s office until I can further my education.”

In five years, Cassidy hopes to have a good job and generally be living a stable life. She said, “I would like to see myself having a stable job with a livable income. I would also like to see myself living on my own and having a better car.”

Cassidy is enjoying her time at United Career Institute and would definitely refer a friend! “I would definitely refer a friend as you gain a great education at United Career!”

If your story sounds similar to Cassidy’s or if you are interested in learning more about United’s Medical Assisting program, request information here!