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!

Abby Dorogi – Student Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is thrilled to introduce you to our June Student of the Month, Practical Nursing student, Abby Dorogi!

Before attending United’s Practical Nursing program, Abby was working full time to prepare for nursing school. “I really wanted to just focus on school with no other responsibilities,” she said.

Abby chose United because she was drawn to the hands-on experience she observed while on her tour with Admissions Advisor Kathy Coddington. She had previously attended two other institutions, but couldn’t find one that offered the hands-on experience she was looking for until she found United!

Abby chose the Practical Nursing program at United because it was fast in addition to being hands-on! “I wanted to get into the field as soon as possible,” she said. The Practical Nursing program at United is only 12 months long, allowing students to quickly get trained in the nursing field!

In addition to the hands-on experience and short program length, Abby really enjoys the small class sizes at United. “The small class size provides more opportunity for success.” She also likes the confidence she has gained, knowing that she will be entering the nursing field with the skills she needs to care for patients. Abby’s favorite class is Med-Surg. “I love learning about the different disease processes,” she said.

After she graduates, Abby hopes to work in a doctor’s office or clinic, but she has big hopes for her education as well. She wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing! In five years, she hopes to be a registered nurse and have completed her bachelor’s degree.

Abby says she would recommend United Career Institute to a friend. “I would refer United if you want to receive a fast education and be ready to enter the work field in a short amount of time,” she said.

To learn more about United’s Practical Nursing program, or if your story sounds similar to Abby’s, request information here!

 

The Return to Campus

As more and more people get vaccinated, and things start opening back up, we are all transitioning back to our in-person lives. Our children are returning to school, many people have returned to their in-person jobs, and schools are bringing students back on campus.

Here at United Career Institute, we are so excited for our students to return to campus. Like before, there are many positive advantages of on-campus learning. When you enroll in a career-focused degree program here at United, you enjoy an interactive education, receive a variety of in-person support, and build great connections.

Interactive Education


Students who choose United to start their path to a successful career have an interactive educational experience. Our class sizes are small and intimate, so you receive personal attention and instruction from your teachers. We understand that each student has unique needs and learning preferences, so we work with you to ensure you have the support needed to excel in your classes.

While completing your healthcare degree program, you will learn hands-on skills to apply directly when you start your career. Our training programs include interactive labs that allow you to practice these skills with the guidance of your experienced instructors.

You also have the opportunity to complete an externship, providing you with real-world experience in your chosen career field. This on-the-job experience in a real healthcare setting gives you the confidence and credentials to set you up for success when applying for jobs.

In-Person Support

As you complete your interactive educational experience, we offer a variety of in-person support at both of our campuses. From the moment you first reach out to us, our helpful admissions team will guide you through the process of enrolling in school. From filling out your application to completing your FAFSA to registering for classes, we are here to help!

Once you are enrolled and begin your healthcare training program, our academic team will support you every step of the way as you complete your degree. We offer academic advising, tutoring services, help developing your study and test-taking skills, and help setting your academic goals.

As you get closer to completing your degree program, our career services team helps you prepare to succeed in getting a job and beyond. Your dedicated career services director will help you develop a five-year career plan, create your resume and cover letter, help you practice with mock interviews, and facilitate job interviews.

Great Connections

When you attend healthcare training classes at our Irwin or Mt. Braddock campus locations, you have the opportunity to build lasting connections with a variety of people, including the staff, your instructors, and your classmates. With our family atmosphere, you will feel right at home here in your classes.

Creating these meaningful connections while in school gives you a more enjoyable experience and helps you build your professional network, which can be valuable for years to come. You also have the opportunity to build connections with potential employers as you complete your externship experience.

At United, we truly care about you, your education, and your future success. We are dedicated to helping you reach your career goals with our WE CARE approach to education. Whatever you need to succeed, we are here to help you every step of the way.

Get Started Today

Are you looking for a school that offers career-focused degree programs and personalized support throughout your educational experience? Then you’ve come to the right place at United. Explore our Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Practical Nursing programs today. Request information now to get started!

Tammy Kerner – Staff Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to our Front Office Manager/Registrar, Tammy Kerner! Tammy started at United in August of 2020 and has quickly become a very valued member of our team!

Tammy’s background is in business administration and she has spent the majority of her career working in the administrative side of offices. “Most of my career I’ve worked in an office environment, working administrative roles. I worked at the Herald Standard Newspaper for 12 years. I managed the store accounts. I worked at BAE systems for 13 years. I was promoted to three different positions while employed there. I started at the front desk with administrative duties. I worked with the material team as their assistant. My last position I held there was in procurement.”

If you were to ask Tammy what she does in a day, the list would go on and on because her responsibilities are varied. Among other things, she is in charge of greeting and checking in students and guests, overseeing attendance submissions, and processing and sending student transcripts. She is also always willing to lend a helping hand for student events, fundraisers, or staff events. This variety keeps her motivated and challenged each day and is part of why she enjoys working at United. “I love variety, and this position offers changes to my everyday workload,” Tammy said.

Some of Tammy’s favorite parts of working at United include working with the staff and talking with the students each morning. She loves to see the students excel and grow! Tammy feels the same way about her passions outside of work. She is very involved with her church, specifically the music team. She is very motivated by her team. “I love watching them learn new music and grow in their talent,” she says.

Tammy’s family is very special to her. When asked what she is most proud of, Tammy said, “My son and daughter, and how they have exceeded in their jobs and how hard they work to achieve their goals.” While Tammy enjoys her work, she hopes to one day retire to spend time with her kids and two grandkids who call her BB.

It is clear that Tammy is passionate about her family and her music team. When asked to share something that others may not know about her, she said, “I love music. I’m a musician and worship leader at my church. I have two grandchildren. They call me BB. I have a passion for helping others when in need.” Tammy’s desire to help people is clear to anybody who interacts with her at United. She is always willing to jump in and help out whenever needed and is always available should a student need something, whether it be copies of something or just an encouraging word! United Career Institute is lucky to have her!

To learn more about the staff at United Career Institute, request information here!

Medical Assisting Student Begins Externship

One of the key elements of United Career Institute’s Medical Assisting program is the opportunity to complete a 12-week externship at the end of the program. An externship can set the groundwork for your future career by allowing students to obtain on-the-job experience in a real-world setting. An extern works alongside existing employees in the form of “shadowing experience.” This experience under the watchful eye of seasoned staff or faculty members allows students to build on the skills gained in the classroom and school labs and demonstrate knowledge in a work setting.

We caught up with Medical Assisting student Amanda Cluss, who recently began her externship at Excela West Center for Internal Medicine, and asked her what her experience has been like so far. “More than anything, everyone I’ve met has been so helpful and informative. They go out of their way to assist you in getting started, and I love the work environment there; everyone works as a team!” Amanda’s experience is not unique. Many United Career students echo very similar experiences with all the healthcare providers that assist the school in placing externs, such as UPMC, Allegheny Health Network, Premier Medical, and MedExpress, in naming a few. United’s working relationship with leaders in healthcare provides such a vast exposure to different types of settings a student may wish to start their career in. Excela is no exception!

Excela Health, one of the region’s leading providers of advanced medical care, was founded in 2004. Excela Health brought together three hospitals – Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant, Latrobe Hospital in Latrobe, and Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg – along with other health care affiliates to meet the health care needs of those in Westmoreland, northern Fayette, and southern Indiana counties.

To serve the needs of the communities better, they actively recruit new physicians and currently have a medical staff of more than 700 physicians and allied health professionals in 35 clinical specialties, along with more than 4,800 employees and 797 volunteers. At the same time, they work to enhance access to their services through outpatient locations all across the region.

Having this opportunity has already done so much for Amanda. “It has allowed me to immediately bring my confidence up, and it has shined a light on the discipline in which I would like to start my career,” she says.

To learn more about United Career Institute’s externship 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!

Stacey Davis – Staff Highlight

“Being in control of your own motivation and happiness is a great feeling!” Those are the words of the newest team member of United Career Institute Irwin’s Campus, Stacy Davis. “I like to motivate myself, and that can be very rewarding.” Stacey’s path to joining our team may not have been a traditional one. She graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Marketing and put that education to use by moving to New York City, where she was a fashion blogger and involved with social media marketing. She recalls that move as one of her proudest moments, and says “I moved to NYC on a whim, and it was terrifying! But I’m so glad I pushed myself to do it, and it was an experience that I will never forget!”

Upon returning to the area, Stacey worked in the restaurant industry and recently managed a wedding venue as a wedding coordinator. She relates that experience to why she originally applied for Front Desk/Registrar at UCI-Irwin. “I like seeing and helping people when they are happy and pursuing their dreams. That certainly is the case as they plan for their wedding, and I believe that is the case for students beginning their path to reach their career goals.” She says she chose to work at UCI because she liked the atmosphere from the very beginning, and she made her final decision based on her favorite thing so far, the people. “Everyone has been so nice and welcoming; it’s like an extended family.” Stacey sees herself as a creature of comfort and would love to have a long career at UCI. She believes her attention to detail and organizational skills will help her tremendously in her role.

To say Stacey might be a little bit of a cat person is an understatement. Stacey and her husband once decided to foster a group of kittens for the local animal rescue shelter. “Our guest bedroom quickly turned into a kitten sanctuary until they were able to be adopted out. It was really wonderful for us, even though my cats didn’t particularly like all the extra house guests.”

So far, Stacey’s Type A personality has been a great fit for our school and our students, and she has been a quick study on the responsibilities of her position. Join me in welcoming Stacey to the United Career Institute Irwin’s family and being a super addition to our team!

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!

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!