Sahrash Masood – Student Highlight

Sahrash Masood enrolled in United’s Medical Assisting program in January of this year. Before enrolling, she was a stay at home mom of two young girls. Sahrash knew that she always wanted to go into the medical field, but wasn’t sure if she wanted to study nursing or medical assisting. After meeting with her admissions advisor, Lynda, Sahrash knew that medical assisting would be a great path that would allow her to explore her interests and learn a little bit of everything. “There is so much to learn about medical coding and the paperwork that is required in the medical offices. Best of all it has more hands-on things, as well as taking vitals on a patient and drawing blood.”

One of Sahrash’s favorite aspects of United Career Institute is the support that she’s received. She said, “I feel like that it’s a nice support system to have and to keep you motivated.” She feels that the instructors are understanding and flexible. Sahrash has gotten the chance to learn from a variety of our instructors at the Irwin campus. She likes that they all have different teaching styles because it keeps things refreshing and helpful. Sahrash said, “They’ve all brought so much to the table. From sharing stories about their lives, which I’ve learned so much from, to their motivation and dedication to helping each and every student succeed regardless of where they came from, or their daily struggle.”

After graduation, Sahrash is thinking of working in a family practice, close to home. “Once I graduate I’ll have so much more knowledge than I have now, so who knows! Maybe once I start my externship I might like a different environment far more. I’m open to different options.” Five years from now, Sahrash would like to be working in a place that she loves. She wants to be independent and financially stable. She hopes that if her kids see her reach her goals that it will motivate them to pursue what they love too!

Jessica Snyder – Student Highlight

Jessica Snyder was one of the first students to enroll at the United Career Institute Irwin campus! She is currently excelling in our Medical Assisting program. She chose medical assisting because she has a passion for helping people and has always wanted to work in the healthcare field. Jessica said, “I feel becoming a medical assistant is a great foundation to start with in the medical field. I feel if I ever want to go further and become a nurse I could do so.”

After graduating from high school in 2009, Jessica enrolled at a large university. She felt like it was too large for her to get the attention she needed in class. She then attended a local community college for business management. After taking a few classes, she realized she wanted to focus on helping people and decided to look at United Career Institute.

Jessica chose United Career Institute because she liked the small class sizes and felt that she would get the one on one attention she did not receive in the past. She felt that she would be supported by her instructors and the staff here. Jessica said her favorite part about attending United Career Institute is that the instructors and employees care and will not let students give up. “They want nothing more than for you to succeed at your goals. They are wonderful in guiding you not only through school but through life too. We’re family at UCI.”

After graduating from United Career Institute, Jessica hopes to be working in a doctor’s office. Possibly working in a pediatrician’s office or in a plastic surgery office. In a few years, she is hoping to be settled, working as a medical assistant, and enjoying what she does. She is hoping to go back to school for nursing in the future!

How to Choose the Right Career Training Program for You

We’re all better at something when we enjoy doing it, so choosing a career you love and excel at will set you up for lasting success and fulfillment. However, with so many different career paths and training options available, it can be overwhelming as you try to choose what’s best for you.

These are important decisions that will affect your future, so taking time to set your career goals, determine your needs, and find a career training program that fits your needs, are essential steps to get you into your new career. This week, we will explore the best ways to make these important decisions and the things you should consider as you go.

Set Your Career Goals

The first thing to consider as you plan your path toward a career you will love, is what are your career goals? You may already have a set goal in mind, such as becoming a doctor, or you may need help figuring this out for yourself. For those who are still undecided on exactly what their career goals should be, there are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you create your own personal career goals.

  • Why do you want to start a new career? Starting with the reasons you want to begin a new career is helpful because it will guide and motivate you as you begin this new journey. Are you trying to create a better life for your family? Are you just very self-motivated and driven? Or is there something else pushing you?
  • What are you looking for in a new career? To set career goals that fit you, it’s important to know exactly what you want from your new career path. Do you want an increased salary, better job security, more flexibility, the opportunity to help people, the ability to work from home, or something else?
  • What areas are you interested in? Figuring out what you’re already good at and what you are interested in will help guide you toward the right career path for you. For example, maybe you enjoy working with computers, or maybe you prefer to work with people instead. Whatever it may be, choose a career path you will enjoy and be good at.
  • Do you plan to continue advancing your career? Deciding now if you want to get your dream job and stay in it for a while, or continue advancing and climbing the ladder to a leadership role, will help you decide on goals that fit your now and your future.
  • Where do you want to be in five years? You know where you are now, and this question helps you visualize where you’re going. What exactly do you want once you meet your career goals? Do you want to be able to afford nice vacations? Is your goal to eventually buy a house? Or pay for your children’s education? Whatever is it that you want for yourself, creating a specific vision will help keep you motivated and inspired along the way.

After answering these questions, you should be ready to set career goals that will help create the future you want for yourself. Remember, any goals you set for yourself should always be SMART goals, which means they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Here is a great example of a SMART career goal: I want to start a career as a practical nurse in Fayette County in one year.

Determine Your Needs

Now that you’ve created career goals for yourself, it’s time to determine exactly what you need to get there. Each career field has different degrees and training requirements, and you have specific needs that will help you reach your goals.

First, look at some of the job descriptions for the career you want to pursue. If you want to become a practical nurse, look at some of the local places hiring for this role. What education or training do they require? Will you need a license to practice? Do they want you to have completed clinical hours? Do you need experience? What skills will you have to perform while on the job? After you have looked at some job descriptions, make a list of the most common things you noticed. This list of education, skills, experience, and credentials is exactly what you need to gain in order to qualify for the job you want.

It’s important to know exactly what you need to get your dream job, but you also need to know which path will work best for you. Answering the following questions will help direct you toward the path that fits your specific needs.

  • What is your learning style? We all have different learning styles. Some people learn better by reading about a topic, some by hearing others explain it, and some by getting hands-on and doing it themselves. Figuring out your learning style will help you choose a career training program that teaches to the way you learn.
  • What is your personality type? In addition to different learning styles, we all have different personality types. Consider taking a personality test, such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, to find out your personality type, as this can help you throughout the process of planning the path to reach your career goals.

You’re now equipped with exactly what you need to qualify for your dream job and what you need from a career training program to perform your best.

Research Career Training Options

You have set your career goals and know exactly what you need to get there, so now you’re ready to explore the different career training options available and choose the one that works best for you. To do this, you will need to evaluate different programs based on how they help you achieve your career goals and how well they meet your specific needs.

  • Does the program train you for the specific job you want? It’s time to use the list you made in the last step of exactly what employers require for your specific job. Compare the career training programs you are considering to this list. Does it provide you with the knowledge and skills needed? Do you prepare for certifications? Is the program length aligned with when you want to start your new career?
  • Is the school aligned with your needs? Next, you need to determine if the school will work for you. Here are some questions to ask about each school. Do you have a dedicated admissions advisor to help you as you apply? Does the school offer resources like financial aid and grants/scholarships? Does the teaching style work with your learning style? Do students get personalized instruction?
  • What support is offered to students? Finally, you need to know what support is offered to students as they complete their career training and beyond. Here are a few things to ask. Is there a supportive environment for students? Do students receive additional help when needed? Are career services offered to help students get from the program to a job? Are there any resources that students will continue to have even after graduation?

As you evaluate the different alternatives for career training, feel free to make a pros and cons list for each to help you compare them. Once you have evaluated your career training options, you can confidently choose the one that will set you up for career success, because you know it’s training you in the exact areas you need, in the way that you learn best.

Get Started Today

Now that you’ve set your career goals, determined your needs, and decided on a career training program, you’re ready to get started! If you’re looking to start a career in the exciting field of healthcare, United Career Institute may be the perfect choice for you. We offer fast-track healthcare training programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Insurance Billing and Coding.

Request information or contact us at (724) 437-4600 today, and one of our friendly admissions advisors will work with you to create a career plan customized for you!

How to Enroll for Fall Training Classes

There’s no better time than now to prepare for an exciting new career in healthcare. At United Career Institute, our career training programs are designed to give you the education, skills, and experience needed to get on the fast track to your dream healthcare career.

We’re enrolling for fall classes now, so read on to find out exactly how to get started on your path to a new career with United!

Explore Our Healthcare Training Programs

With the increasing need for essential healthcare workers, choosing a career in the medical field could be a great opportunity to build a meaningful and fulfilling career. At United Career Institute, we offer healthcare training programs in a variety of career paths, so you can choose the one that best fits your career goals.

Our Practical Nursing program allows students to earn their diploma and prepare for a new career in only 12 months. While enrolled in practical nursing classes, students will learn how to conduct physical assessments, perform IV therapy, care for wounds, perform routine lab tests, and much more. In addition to learning these procedures in the classroom, students will complete clinical rotations at local healthcare facilities. After completing their practical nursing training, students are eligible to sit for the Pennsylvania State Licensing Exam for Practical Nurses°, which qualifies students to work as an LPN in Pennsylvania upon successfully passing the exam.

In our Medical Assisting program, students prepare to work in a variety of medical facilities including hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, long term care facilities, and more. Healthcare training classes in this exciting program train students in a variety of hands-on medical skills, such as assisting with exams, collecting and processing medical specimens, assisting with minor surgeries, practicing phlebotomy, performing EKGs, and more. While completing their fast track medical assisting classes, students are prepared to sit for valuable healthcare industry certifications, including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**.

Students who choose our Medical Insurance Billing and Coding program will learn the essential front office responsibilities that are necessary to keep medical facilities running smoothly. Performing basic coding, coordinating billing, processing insurance, maintaining electronic health records, and transcribing medical charts are some of the vital skills students will learn in their medical office courses. This exciting program includes preparation for numerous healthcare certifications including Certified Medical Administrative Assistant*, Certified Billing and Coding Specialist**, and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist**.

Meet With Our Friendly Admissions Advisors

Now that you’ve explored our exciting healthcare programs, you’re ready to meet with one of our friendly and helpful admissions advisors. In this meeting, you will learn more about United Career Institute and have a chance to ask any questions you may have about the school, our career training programs, your classes, career services, and anything else. You will work with your admissions advisor to plan the best path for you to reach your career goals.

You will also get to take a tour of the United campus, meet some of your future instructors, and see our classrooms and labs. We understand that some students may not be comfortable meeting with an admissions advisor in person, so we have added virtual campus visits as an alternative to touring campus in person.

To set up a time to meet with one of our friendly admissions advisors, request information here.

Connect with a Financial Aid Representative

After meeting with your admissions advisor and creating a personal plan to help you reach your career goals, you will meet with a financial aid representative who will explain the financial aid process and help you apply for financial aid programs that you may qualify for.

Financial resources that are available to those who qualify include scholarships, federal grants, state grants, student loans, and PLUS loans. To determine your eligibility for some of these programs, you will need to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which you will learn more about when you meet with a financial aid representative.

In addition to external scholarships, United Career Institute offers students the opportunity to qualify for a variety of internal grant programs***. You will learn more about the scholarships available and how to apply for them from your financial aid representative.

Register for Classes and Get Started

The last thing you need to do to enroll is to register for your classes and ensure you have everything needed to succeed in your healthcare courses. Allocating time to do homework, ensuring you have all the necessary supplies, and talking to family members about the support you will need are all important to your success in the classroom and beyond.

Now you’re ready to start an exciting healthcare training program that will prepare you for a meaningful, fulfilling new career. Contact us now to get enrolled for fall classes!

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

*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.

Campus Safety – Mt. Braddock


At United Career Institute Mt. Braddock, we take pride in making our students feel at home. Part of making our students feel at home is making their health and safety our top priority. Campus safety can mean many different things. It could be protecting their psychological health by offering a safe place to talk and share. Other times, it could be protecting their professional health by ensuring they know the proper way to use protective gear while performing medical procedures. It also means protecting their physical health by providing a clean and healthy school environment. In the days of COVID-19, ensuring our student’s health and safety has never been so important. Read on to find out how we are making United Career Institute a safe environment for students, staff, and visitors.

The first step we take in protecting anybody who enters our school is taking temperatures. Everybody who enters the building must have their temperature taken, no exceptions. Anybody who does not meet the temperature requirements cannot come back to the building until they produce a negative COVID test or until their temperature returns to normal. All students, staff, and visitors must sign a waiver ensuring that they have not traveled to any hot spots, experienced COVID symptoms, or been in close contact with somebody who has tested positive.

The next step we are taking in ensuring the safety of our campus, is wearing masks. Anybody who enters our building is required to wear a mask, with the only exception being those who have a medical reason prohibiting them from wearing one. Since we offer in-demand medical programs at United, many of our students view this as an opportunity to prepare for their future careers!

In addition to the actions we are taking listed above, we have posted CDC guidelines around the building to remind students, employees, and visitors to frequently wash their hands (for 20 seconds at least), avoid touching their nose and mouth, and go home if they begin feeling sick. We also provide hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes in high traffic areas of the building. This includes the front desk, bathrooms, classrooms, and offices. As many of these precautionary measures are important to practice when working in the medical field, we are using COVID as an opportunity to teach our students what it is really like to work day to day in a hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic.

At United Career Institute, our students are considered a part of the United family. One of our core values is “Caring” and one way we demonstrate that is by ensuring our campus is safe for everybody who walks through our doors.

To learn more about the caring environment you will experience at United Career Institute Mt. Braddock, request information here!

Shauna Davis – Student Highlight

Shauna Davis is one of United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting students. She enrolled at the Irwin campus in January 2020. Before committing to going back to school, Shauna worked at a debt settlement company as a Payment Research Specialist. One of Shauna’s favorite things about United Career Institute is the friends that she has made. Shauna said, “I seriously love the staff and the girls that I started out with in January! We are honestly so close and have become such great friends! It’s so nice to have the support systems of the girls [and] the instructors and the rest of the staff!”

Before coming to United Career Institute, Shauna tried attending a career school for medical assisting elsewhere. She felt like the atmosphere was completely different and that she could not talk to her instructors. She then came in for an interview with United’s Admissions Advisor, Lynda Mayes, and knew this was the place for her. “From the moment I spoke with Lynda, she made me feel welcomed and like this was a school I was going to love and be able to succeed in.” Shauna’s favorite instructor is Kelly Shriver. “She keeps the classes fun, even when it is a class everyone is dreading! She is also always there for anyone that needs help or someone to talk to!”

Shauna’s favorite class so far has been Medical Coding. She enjoys searching for the different codes and diagnoses. She finds learning the different manuals used to code very interesting. In fact, she hopes to continue furthering her education into the coding aspect of the medical field.

After graduation, Shauna is hoping to work in a doctor’s office. She is considering pediatrics, orthopedics, or maybe OBGYN. Five years from now, she would like to be married, hopefully with a kid. She does plan to further her education while working towards her dream job!

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

Hannah Matheson – Graduate Highlight

Hannah Matheson is a 2019-2020 graduate from the Medical Assisting program at United Career Institute. Prior to school, she was a full-time student at California Area High School and worked as a cashier at Foodland. Hannah learned about United through our Facebook page and continued her admissions process through our high school admissions advisor, Meghan Murray. Hannah was also awarded a high school grant to help with her financial needs while furthering her education.

Hannah chose United because of the small class sizes, the one on one relationship with instructors, and the amount of time that was offered in the lab. United prides itself on the specialized attention it shows each student who walks through the door.

Hannah decided to pursue medical assisting because she ultimately wants to be a nurse and knew that starting with the Medical Assisting program would help prepare her for the more rigorous Practical Nursing program. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start nursing directly so working my way up and getting my foot in the door of the medical profession seemed like the right thing to do.”

Hannah’s favorite part of attending United was her time in the lab practicing skills, her externship, student Thanksgiving (hosted by the faculty and staff for the students each year), and the lifelong friends that she met along the way. Her favorite class was Anatomy and Physiology. “I really like learning about the human body,” she says. Hannah liked and respected all of her instructors. However, Kelli Workman was her favorite. “Kelli took time to explain things when we didn’t get it and she would stay after class to further explanation whenever we needed her to.”

Currently employed at Centerville Clinics in California, Hannah has utilized all the skills that she has acquired during her time at United. She is the lead medical assistant for her physician and is thriving in her role. When asked where she sees herself in five years, she stated “I want to be a labor and delivery nurse in Pittsburgh and I am currently working towards that goal.” Hannah is currently working through the Practical Nursing admissions process and is set to start in September.

When asked if she would recommend United to a friend Hannah had no hesitation, stating “Yes. You get one on one time with instructors, the environment is very positive, you can go to any staff member at any time and they help you, and if you ever need a pep talk any instructor will be there to lift you up.”

To learn more about United Career Institute’s medical programs, request information here!

Chelsea Lee – Student Highlight

Chelsea Lee is a student in United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program. Chelsea also works at Applebee’s while she is going to school. Working while in school is common amongst United students and we strive to offer our students the services they need to balance family, work, and school life. Our fast-track programs are also designed to get students into the professional world as quickly as possible, helping to facilitate that balance even further. Chelsea has worked at Applebee’s since she was in high school, which coincidentally, is where she heard about United Career Institute. Meghan Murray, United’s High School Admissions Advisor, visited Chelsea’s school and piqued her interest in United. Chelsea was also a high-school scholarship recipient.

Chelsea says that she chose United because of the recommendation of a friend who recently graduated from United’s Medical Assisting program. “It seemed like a fun school to go to. The staff seemed helpful,” Chelsea says. Pursuing medical assisting seemed like a logical step for Chelsea. “I’ve always wanted to be a nurse and thought medical assisting would be a good start.” (Many United students choose to pursue a Medical Assisting degree before moving into nursing because it helps prepare them for the fast-paced Practical Nursing program.) When asked what her favorite class has been so far, Chelsea said that the anatomy and physiology courses were her favorite because she loves learning about how the body works. Chelsea also said that, while she likes all her instructors, her favorite instructor is Medical Assisting Program Director, Kelli Workman. “I enjoy all the instructors, but Kelli Workman is my favorite because she explains things so that they are easy to understand, she doesn’t give up on us, and she will push you until you get it.” United Career Institute prides itself on the one-on-one attention our instructors give our students and the support we offer to help our students reach their educational and career goals.

Chelsea’s ideal job after graduation is in a pediatrician’s office. She wants to work with children because they touch her heart. Her five-year goal is to become a pediatric nurse. When asked If she would refer a friend to United she quickly responded, “yes, it is a fast-paced environment, but at the same time the ultimate learning goal is accomplished.”

If your story sounds similar to Chelsea’s and you would like to learn more about United Career Institute’s fast-track programs and hands-on training request information here today!

Martina Mullen – Student Highlight

Martina Mullen has been a student at United Career Institute’s Irwin campus since January 2020. She is currently enrolled in the Medical Assisting program. She chose Medical Assisting because she knew she wanted to go into the medical field, but wasn’t sure which direction to start in. On top of nearly perfect attendance since the beginning, Martina has also made the school’s President’s list by holding a 4.0 GPA for the first term of her program.

Martina Mullen - Student Highlight

Martina tried a different post-secondary school before, but it just wasn’t for her. She felt like her professor made the class rushed and that it was just a waste of her own time and money. “My favorite part about attending United would be the class schedule and how each class is set up. I don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed with work,” said Martina.

Just like many of our other students, Martina likes the smaller class sizes. “I chose United because I loved that it was small and that I knew if I needed it, I could get one on one help. I also love how everyone is so welcoming and supportive.” Her favorite instructor so far has been Kelly Shriver. She likes that Kelly pushes her to do her best and tries to make everything positive! Martina said, “I like how she doesn’t look at herself as an instructor. She also talks to us about our personal lives.” Her favorite class so far has been Student Success Strategies. She liked that the class helped the students open up and get to know one another. It also helped her to realize the habits she has, good and bad, for both school and life.

Eventually, Martina wants to go to school for Nursing. After she graduates, she hopes to work at either Children’s Hospital or in a doctor’s office. Down the road she hopes to have her student loans paid off, have her own place, and happy with whatever job she gets. She just really wants to help people!

To learn more about United’s medical classes and student services, request information here!

Jennifer George – Graduate Highlight

Jennifer George had been working as a hospital tech in Latrobe and Westmoreland Hospital through Excela Health for two and a half years when she started her conquest to find the perfect school to further her healthcare education. However, she, like many of our students, did not have any postsecondary education experience and wasn’t sure where to look. Fortunately, Jennifer’s co-workers and former UCI graduates were happy to point her in the right direction. Through the interview and admissions process, Jennifer realized that she had made the right choice. When asked why, she stated “I was so nervous and scared and the staff and instructors made the transition an easy experience. They were awesome.”Jennifer Georgen - Graduate Highlight

When asked why she chose her program of study Jennifer stated, “I knew that it was only one year and that in one year I would be working doing something that I have always loved and this would help me work my way towards entering the LPN program.”

Jennifer stated that the best part of attending UCI was that “the teachers treat you like you are one of them, always with open arms no matter what you are struggling with. They take the time to help you understand the material no matter what it takes.” Jennifer said that her favorite instructor was Kelli Workman. “If I wasn’t confident in myself she was always cheering me on and letting me know that I could do it. I just had to have faith in myself.” Her favorite classes were her clinical courses instructed by Jade Teets.

Jennifer’s short term goal is to return to United for the Practical Nursing program. She has already been accepted into the 2020 fall class. Jennifer is still gainfully employed through Excela Health. When asked where she sees herself in five years, Jennifer said, “I am working as nurse with the help of all the nursing instructors at United Career Institute.” When asked if she would refer a friend, she said, “yes, and I already have. Some of my coworkers are now interested in the school’s Practical Nursing Program. This is by far the greatest school.”

To learn more about United’s Practical Nursing program, request info here!