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!

5 Steps to Starting an Essential Healthcare Career

Healthcare workers are essential to the health and wellbeing of our society, and now is a great time to start your career in the exciting field of healthcare. The medical industry is projected to have continued growth in the future, so this could be a wonderful career option for you.

Trying to figure out the right path to start your dream career as an essential healthcare worker can be confusing, so we’ve broken it down into five steps for you!

Step 1: Choose a specific healthcare job

Choosing the specific job you want to pursue in the medical field is the first step to starting an essential healthcare career. As the healthcare industry has become more specialized over time, there are a variety of different jobs and career paths available for people who want to work in this exciting field. You could be a medical assistant, medical coding specialist, practical nurse, or even a doctor.

Answering a few important questions about yourself with help steer you in the right direction as you consider the different career options and decide which one is best for you.

  • Which areas of healthcare am I interested in?
  • What are my strengths and what do I excel in?
  • What healthcare experience do I already have?
  • How quickly do I want to complete training and start working?

Your work will be more enjoyable if you choose a career path that you’re interested in and good at. Answering these questions for yourself is important as you make these decisions, because we all want to love our job!

There are different training options for different types of healthcare jobs, so knowing how long you want to attend school and how soon you want to start your career will help you make the right decision for you. For example, if you want to become a medical office specialist, you can get the training you need in less than two years, but if you want to become a doctor, you will have to spend many more years in school.

Step 2: Pick a training program that meets your needs

The next step in starting your essential healthcare career is to choose a career training program that meets your needs and trains you for the specific job you want to do. You will need to do some research on the type of training needed for the job you want, as different career paths require different types of training.

Some healthcare positions also require professional certifications that show you can perform the specific tasks and job duties required. Employers value these certifications because they want to provide high-quality care to their patients. As you explore different options for earning your degree and getting trained, look for one that includes everything you need to be successful in your exciting new essential healthcare career.

At United Career Institute, our healthcare training programs can be completed in less than two years, putting you on the fast track to your dream career as an essential healthcare worker. If you’re ready to begin your healthcare career quickly, without having to spend 4-6 years in school, our career-focused programs may be a great choice for you!

Step 3: Gain the skills and knowledge to succeed

After deciding on the specific healthcare job you want to pursue and the best career training program to get you there, you’re now ready to learn the knowledge and hands-on skills you need to succeed. Reach out to your school of choice and set up a time to meet with an admissions advisor and take a tour of the campus. This will give you the chance to make sure it’s the right school for you and ask any questions you may have about the school, the program, and your classes.

As you complete your chosen career training program, you will gain the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to excel in your career as an essential worker in healthcare. If the healthcare training program you choose offers preparation for professional certification, you will also prepare to sit for the certification tests.

To help you get on the fast track of your exciting new career as an essential healthcare worker, we offer numerous healthcare career training programs at United. With career-focused programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Insurance Billing and Coding, you can gain the skills and experience needed to start your new career in less than two years.

Step 4: Apply for jobs and start your essential healthcare career

Now that you’ve completed the training needed to qualify for your dream job as an essential healthcare worker, it’s time to start applying for jobs. Some of the medical facilities you could work for include hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, labs, long-term care facilities, and blood centers.

Before you begin applying to jobs, update your resume with all the new skills, education, certifications, and experience you have gained while preparing for your new medical career. Add any other relevant education and experience to your resume as well and have someone proofread it for you to ensure it’s free of any errors.

Practice your interview skills with a friend or family member, so you will be confident and ready to rock your future job interviews. Begin building positive relationships with members of your local healthcare community, as this will also help you when applying for jobs.

Step 5: Start now with United

You’re now ready to start your path to becoming an essential healthcare worker! With fast-track career training programs, certification preparation, a supportive environment, hands-on learning, and career services, United is the perfect place to prepare for your exciting new healthcare career.

Explore our career training programs and request information now to get started!

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!

Lisa Mitchell-Cole – Faculty Highlight

Lisa Mitchell-Cole is an instructor in the Practical Nursing program at United Career Institute Mt. Braddock. She has been an instructor for four years. Before United, Lisa worked on a busy labor and delivery unit for 4.5years and has two years’ experience as a telemetry/step-down nurse. You can now find Lisa teaching theory for Maternity, Anatomy, and Physiology, and Nursing Fundamentals. You will also see her at the clinical sites with students and in the labs teaching nursing skills.Lisa Mitchell-Cole-Student Highlight

Lisa was a non-traditional student, much like many of the students United serves. She worked as a school cafeteria worker for many years before deciding she wanted a career change. She chose to attend Penn State Fayette and major in Nursing. She received her ASN in 2009. In 2017, she decided to go back to Penn State to pursue her BSN. She graduated in May of 2018 and is currently contemplating going back to school for her Master’s degree.

Lisa stated, “When I was working at the hospital, I always loved having students assigned to me because I loved their enthusiasm at witnessing new things. So when I saw that United had an opening for a clinical instructor, I decided to give it a shot and found out that I love it! I love interacting with the students and seeing their excitement when they learn something new. PIHT [now United] has such a great atmosphere of friendliness and closeness between the instructors and the students. I wish that I had the same experience when I was a student nurse!”

When she is not in the classroom or at clinical motivating the students, Lisa is spending time with her grandchildren. Her grandchildren are her pride and joy. Lisa is also a very creative person. You can find her baking and hand designing cookies or making colorful craft items on her days off.

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

Mallory Strauser – Student Highlight

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 Strauser - Student Highlight

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.”

To learn more about United’s Medical Insurance Billing and Coding program, request information here!

We’re Here for You Through COVID-19

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.

With healthcare programs including Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Office Administration, United – Fayette County graduates are on the front lines battling the virus by caring for sick patients and providing essential support to hospitals and doctor’s offices.

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.

To learn more about our Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Office Administration programs, contact us today to schedule a remote admissions meeting.

Marcy Landman – Faculty Highlight

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.

Marcy Landman Fayette County Practical Nursing Clinical Coordinator

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.”