Mallory Strauser is a Medical Insurance Billing and Coding student at United Career Institute in Fayette County. She works at Shop N Save but knew this work wouldn’t be fulfilling long tern and decided to further her education. Mallory knew that she wanted to be part of a healthcare team, but knew that the clinical aspect of the field was not for her or her “weak stomach”. With having no previous post-secondary school experience, she turned to her family for advice. Her family was more than happy to recommend UCI. Her mother and husband are both successful medical assisting graduates and had nothing but positive things to say about the school, its reputation, and its welcoming atmosphere.
Mallory’s favorite part about attending UCI is the family like atmosphere, the staff’s unwavering commitment to its students, and their willingness to help anyone struggling. Mallory’s favorite instructors are Kelli Workman and Roxanne Seaton. When asked why, she said, “they explain things in a way that makes sense.” Her favorite class so far is Medical Terminology. “It was like learning a different language.”
Mallory hopes that in five years she will be gainfully employed at a pediatrician’s office in a career that she loves and settled in her role so that she can focus on starting a family. When asked if she would refer a friend to United Career Institute her response was simple. “Absolutely, the school is welcoming and I have learned a lot.”
A key component of all United Career Institute medical programs is an externship with local employers. It provides a real world aspect to the program and gives students valuable hands-on experience that enhances the skills they learn in the classroom. Externships also provide students a great opportunity to network with other healthcare professionals in their chosen field and get a good idea of the culture of a given employer. Whether it is a 2 week externship in the Phlebotomy program, or a 12 week externship in the Medical Assisting program, we encourage our students to look at their time during externships at a job interview of sorts. Often times, employers use this time as an opportunity to evaluate both clinical and soft skills and how a potential employee may fit in with the company long term.
While UCI students are on their externship, they obtain career-focused experience such as checking vital signs, point of care testing, specimen collection, phlebotomy, and sterilization procedures.
These valuable externships would not be possible without the support of local employers. United Career Institute Irwin is so thankful that our local employers like Excela Health, Allegheny Health Network, UPMC, and Premier Medical Associates have provided the opportunities for our students to complete this on the job training.
As we all try to adjust to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that life has changed dramatically over the last few weeks. From homeschooling our children, to having our movements restricted, to the heroes who are on the front lines fighting this virus, we have all been affected.
At United Career Institute, we want our students, our community, and our future students to know, we are here for you and will support you in any way we can. We are all in this fight together, and we will get through it together.
Supporting United Students
We think of ourselves more as a family, and not just a school. Even through this difficult time, we are still fully committed to our purpose, which is to empower change by creating opportunity.
We are committed to serving and supporting our family of students through the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue educating and training our students for rewarding, successful careers, we are now providing online remote instruction for all students.
Via distance learning, students can continue to develop their skills and gain valuable knowledge that will set them up for success in their future careers. While students cannot physically attend classes or be on-campus, all instructors are fully available to assist and support students in any way possible.
For active students, in good academic standing, who are unable to begin or complete an externship due to COVID-19, United has created an Interim Leave of Absence Policy. In addition, we have revised the current Incomplete Policy to further support students who are unable to sit for their certification exams during this time. Please visit the COVID-19 Information page for more information and guidance on these policies.
Supporting the Community
In addition to supporting our students through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are highly invested in the local healthcare community, and are dedicated to serving it as best we can by providing the workforce with trained medical professionals.
We pledge to support our local healthcare teams and community members by continuing to educate and train essential healthcare workers who are desperately needed during this time.
Supporting Future Students
We know that many people and families have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and the mandatory restrictions on non-essential businesses. Due to these restrictions, many people have lost their jobs or been laid off, with millions of people around the country who have already applied for unemployment benefits.
As a school with the purpose of empowering change by creating opportunity, we know that we have a responsibility to help people get retrained and back to work. With this in mind, we have added virtual campus visits as an alternative to touring the campus in person. We hope this will allow those who have been affected to start their path to a more secure career, by training for valuable healthcare jobs.
In addition, high schoolers who are uncertain about what to do next due to COVID-19, are encouraged to explore our career training programs, which can lead to successful healthcare careers.
Marcy Landman is the Practical Nursing Clinical Coordinator at United Career Institute near Uniontown, PA and teaches Pharmacology, Practical Vocational Nursing, and Anatomy Lab within Practical Nursing program. She earned her Associate of Science in Nursing from Penn State University. Once she completed her ASN, she entered an accelerated program to earn her BSN. She did not stop there, as she earned her Master of Science in Nursing with a minor in Family Nurse Practitioner from Carlow University.
Prior to working at United, Marcy worked as a staff nurse at Highlands Hospital and worked in home health. When she came to United-Fayette County (formerly known as PIHT), she started out as a part-time clinical instructor. As she advanced her education, she began teaching in the classroom. When asked why she chose United Marcy said “The people working at United are amazing. I wanted to work in an environment where everyone is a team player. Working in a supportive environment can make even the most difficult days go a little smoother.” Her favorite part of working for United Career Institute – Mt. Braddock is the people she gets to work with.
One of Marcy’s biggest motivators is her family. She is most proud of the fact that she never thought she would achieve the level of education she has received, and that she can be a role model for not only her children but also those whose lives she impacts within the nursing program.
When asked what is the most interesting thing about herself that no one would know, she replied, “She is one of the few that has been a part of the nursing program since the very first nursing class. She has not only been able to watch the program grow and change but has contributed to its continuing evolution.”
“We work so well together and she’s such a great support system for me…a genuinely good person with a big heart!” That is how Medical Assisting student Amanda Cluss describes her classmate and friend, Gabriella Sotak. Gabby was enrolled in college at CCAC when she heard about United Career Institute opening in Irwin. She wasn’t getting everything she wanted from her education so she called the school and made an appointment to come in. Immediately after speaking with Lynda in admissions, she knew this was where she was meant to be. “Lynda was so understanding and encouraging, really made me feel like I belonged here.” There were some aspects of a larger community college Gabby liked, but most of what she saw at UCI was what she needed; smaller classes, personalized attention and tutoring, and a family atmosphere. Gabby decided that although she didn’t have aspirations of being a nurse, she definitely wanted to work in healthcare, and United Career’s Medical Assisting program provided that start. She sees herself working in a private doctor’s office someday, in general practice.
When we asked Gabby what her favorite thing about the school was, she didn’t hesitate a bit. “I love my classmates and the girls are all so helpful. They make you feel like you’re part of the family from day 1. I also love the staff! Kelly, Bianca, and Arnold are wonderful and I talk to them or Lynda about any issues or problems I might be having, educational or personal.” She loves the way Kelly teaches Med Term 1, her favorite class so far, because she explains the subject matter in detail and makes sure you understand how it applies. When asked where she wants to be in 5 years she was quick to answer. “Out of my parent’s house and into my stable career. I love my parents deeply but I’m ready to start the next chapter.”
When asked if she would recommend United to somebody else, Gaby said, “Absolutely! The whole staff there are so helpful in every way, and they truly care about me as a student, but more importantly as a person.“
United Career Institute – Fayette County located in Southwestern Pennsylvania offers a direct admission Practical Nursing Program. Direct admission means that you do not have to waste time and money taking extra elective classes allowing most students to complete the program within just 12 months. Enrolling in any nursing program can be a long process. To improve your acceptance chances in a highly sought-after program, you need to be organized and attentive to deadlines.
The purpose of this blog is to help inform you of some of the steps of applying to the direct admission UnitedPractical Nursing Program in Mt. Braddock, PA near Uniontown.
Attend one of our upcoming Career Planning Sessions to see if you are a good fit for our program. It is important to understand that this program requires a lot of commitment. The practical nursing program requires students to allow 50 hours per week (40 hours of instruction and 10 hours of outside study time) of time to dedicate to the program.
Potential students will need to request OFFICIAL copies of transcripts from your high school and every college they have attended. Official Transcripts should be requested and sent directly to the admission’s office or brought in unopened. Faxed or emailed transcripts that are not in a sealed envelope from the previous institution will not be accepted.
As the Practical Nursing Director at United, Pam loves her role and enabling students to thrive. “I love the United faculty and staff, but more so, I love watching the students succeed and grow.”
Pam has an amazing philosophy on helping students achieve their career goals, and it is showing a passion for teaching and helping students, a goal that’s instilled in all faculty members at United. She works to teach students to believe in themselves and accept themselves for who they are, while embracing everyone and their differences.
“United Career Institute is a family atmosphere and you are not a number, but an individual. Students are safe within our walls and we’re all here to help them, whether it is with their schoolwork or if they just need someone to talk to,” said Pam.
As a 2004 graduate of United Career Institute (formally PIHT), Pam knows first-hand how wonderful the family atmosphere is here. After graduating, Pam was given an opportunity to substitute at United when a medical instructor needed some time off. “I loved attending United as a student and I love teaching,” said Pam.
Pam earned an Associate in Specialized Science from Penn State in 2009 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in December 2011. She went on to complete a Master of Science in Nursing/Family Nurse Practitioner and graduated in July 2019.
In January 2006, Pam was offered a teaching position at United and happily accepted. She worked her way up from an instructor to the Medical Assistant Program Director, and then to the Practical Nursing Director. When asked what drives her to work in education, Pam happily responded, “the students.”
When asked what drives her to get up and give her best each day, Pam’s response was an inspiring one: life. “I love life and when I come to work, I want the students, faculty, and staff to see me energized and smiling. In turn, they will also be happy and smiling.”
The accomplishment Pam is most proud of in her life is her education, because it allowed her to achieve her career goals. “Prior to becoming a student at United, I was working as an administrative assistant. While that was fine, there was no room for advancement.”
The thing Pam loves the most about her role as Practical Nursing Director is the family atmosphere.
Outside of work, Pam enjoys spending quality time with her husband. Her favorite food is pizza, and if she could have one superpower, it would be to cure diseases of all kinds.
Are you ready to jump-start your great healthcare career with a school that truly wants their students to succeed? Request information now to get started today!
“My favorite part of working for United Career is being a part of a group that makes you feel like family. That includes both the staff and the students!” –Lynda Mayes
Lynda Mayes is the Admissions Advisor at United Career Institute in Irwin. As an Admissions Advisor, Lynda helps potential students find their right education path. A large part of her job involves guiding students through any life obstacles they may have. It’s not uncommon to walk by her office and see her talking with her current students. Whether its school related or personal, Lynda always makes a large effort to help the student keep their eye on the prize!
Lynda has a Bachelor of Science in Administrative Management from Robert Morris University. After graduating she started working at the Westmoreland County Prison. She worked there for three years as a Records Clerk and then moved on to work at the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC). Lynda worked there for nineteen and a half years, working her way up from a Collections Clerk all the way up to a Field Service Super Intendant. During that time, she was managing over sixty-five employees, and was able to complete her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership at Robert Morris University.
Lynda is motivated by her mother. She says her mother has always encouraged and supported her in her decisions. “Because of her support I want to show the same love and respect towards her by doing the best that I can do.” She is most proud of her family, not only because of their ability to deal with difficult times, but because they always find a way to support each other while doing it.
Lynda’s long term career goals include getting her Ph.D. She would like to get involved in teaching leadership coaching to college students and adults. “It’s important for anyone going into a career to develop leadership and skills to be successful.”
Tiffany Patterson had been looking to further her education after having to take care of her fiancé after a terrible accident. Caring for him provided her with the passion and drive she needed to expand her knowledge in the medical field. Tiffany had researched several schools and decided to tour United Career Institute after learning that she could receive her training in just 12 months. After touring the school, she knew that she made the right choice. Campus President, Pamela Hughes and Admissions Representative, Kathy Coddington’s hugs had reassured her of that.
Tiffany had initially aspired to enter the Practical Nursing program, but decided that Medical Assisting was more of a fit for her and her plans to start a family.
For Tiffany, the best part about attending UCI was the caring instructors and staff. She stated that the instructors keep her looking forward to attending every day. She also enjoyed working with career services to plan events and fundraisers for the Student Event Club. Tiffany respected all the instructors, but she stated that Kelli Workman and Jade Teets stood out the most. When asked why, she said that she was able to relate to their teaching methods and that the material was always explained in a way that was easy to understand. Her favorite class was Clinical Laboratory Procedures. She really enjoyed learning phlebotomy, because she has always been curious and intrigued by the process.
Tiffany is gainfully employed at UPMC through an ear, nose, and throat specialist where she aspires to advance throughout the company and eventually become the office’s Senior Medical Assistant. Her five-year goal is to become a Registered Nurse.
Tiffany would absolutely refer a friend to United Career Institute. “The staff is excellent and the education is designed to provide a great deal of information in a short period of time.”
We’d like for you to take a minute and meet one of our great employees at United Career Institute Irwin campus. Kelly Clark is a Financial Aid Advisor for United Career Institute. She has her associate degree in clinical administration/medical assisting. She started off working at a urology clinic in Philadelphia and then moved back to the Pittsburgh area and worked in an OB-GYN office. Seven years later she went to California University of Pennsylvania and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary English Education. After a few years of substitute teaching, Kelly moved into the banking field. She worked in banking for 14 years and then started her career with United Career Institute in 2019.
Kelly knew after interviewing with Arnold, the Campus President, that she wanted to be a part of the United Career Institute team. Kelly said, “He was easy to talk to and very funny. I felt comfortable and knew that we would work well together.”
Kelly says one of her favorite things about working for United Career Institute is seeing the smiles on students faces after their financial aid appointment. Kelly likes the feeling of helping students get one step closer to reaching their educational goals. “Helping others motivates me because I want to see changes in the student’s lives so they can reach their goals.”
Kelly is most proud of her five children! She is excited to see her children develop positive morals and values. They all focus on their academics first and they love the activities they choose to participate in. She is enjoying watching them grow into caring and respectable young adults.
Kelly’s long term career goals are to get her master’s degree. “I would like to pursue a master’s degree in higher education and continue working in a career at United that best fits that education.”
Something interesting that most people don’t know about Kelly is that she has always wanted to be a wedding planner. She has been in eleven weddings!
Outside of work, you can catch her at her oldest daughter’s many twirling competitions, her second daughter’s gymnastic meets, watching her third daughter cheer at football and basketball games, her son’s wrestling matches, and her youngest son’s travel baseball games. Go Vipers! She also loves going to Penguin hockey games with her husband Todd.