Wendi Rost – Student Highlight

“I wanted to go for Medical Assisting when I was just out of high school. However, I was living with my fiancé at the time and could not afford the class. When I decided to go back and went for coding, I didn’t have faith in my skills or brains to even think I could do the assisting part because of the clinicals. I was and still am terrified of that part. However I thought it’s now or never and if I don’t try, I won’t know.” We would like to introduce Wendi Rost, a medical assisting student attending our Irwin campus.Wendi Rose - Student Highlight

Before enrolling at United in January, Wendi was a stay at home mom. She had previously attended other post secondary schools for Esthetics and Medical Billing and Coding. She had some great experiences, but one thing she did not like about Medical Billing and Coding was that a majority of her classes were online. Wendi chose the United Career Institute because of the Irwin location and its hands-on training. “I’m old school. I like a classroom.”

When asked what her favorite part of going to school at United Career Institute is, Wendi responded by saying, “Oh I absolutely love going to United Career. Currently, we are smaller, but the students are very mature for their ages. I am so happy to be around people who take this seriously and know when to have fun. We are like a family, instructors, and all. We laugh, cry, and learn without pressure.”

Wendi’s favorite class so far has been Medical Terminology. She feels like she is learning to talk professionally in the medical field. When asked who her favorite instructor is, Wendi replied, “Kelly, Erin, and Arnold are all my favorites so far. I can’t say that there is an absolute favorite. They all have different teaching styles. However they are always there to talk to, or ask for help if you’re not understanding or to give you a pep talk if you’re feeling overwhelmed.”

After graduating from the Medical Assisting program, Wendi has a few different directions in medical field that she may want to pursue. “I have three fields that interest me, and that’s because I like helping people with their problems or watching them succeed.  Dermatology, since my field of esthetics has been a passion. Gynecology because ever since I was young, I always wanted to be a female doctor since, at the time there weren’t many, and I personally prefer a female.  Finally, Bariatric. This is one I like to see the results and hopefully get motivation for myself.”

To learn more about United Career Institute, request information 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!

The Value of Externships

The Value of Externships

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.

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.

How to Create SMART Career Goals

We all have goals that we want to accomplish in life and in our careers. Maybe you aren’t fulfilled in your current job and want a more rewarding career or maybe your goal is to be the first person in your family to graduate from a training program.

Regardless of what you want to achieve, setting SMART career goals can get you there! The most effective goals follow these five guidelines: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Using these criteria to create your SMART career goals gives you a higher chance of success. How exactly do you create SMART career goals? Keep reading as we share with you exactly how!

Specific

First, SMART career goals must be specific, so that you know exactly what to do in order to reach them. Here is a great example of a specific goal: I want to graduate from a Medical Assisting program in Westmoreland County within 18 months in order to begin a more rewarding career. This is a specific goal because it answers the following questions:

Now that you have answered these questions and created a specific goal, you know exactly what to do to achieve the goal.

Measurable

Next, you need to make sure your SMART career goals are measurable. Creating measurable goals ensures that you can track the progress you make toward your goals. As you take steps to reach your goals, you will be able to tell if you’re on track to meet them or if there is something you need to change.

Separating your larger goal into smaller chunks is the best way to do this. With the goal of completing a medical assisting program to start a more rewarding career, you could create milestones along the way for each class that is part of the program. This way, you are one step closer to your goal for each class you complete.

Attainable

As you create your SMART career goals, it’s essential to create ones that are attainable, because it’s hard to stay motivated to work toward a goal that’s not actually achievable. An example of an unattainable goal would be going to Mars next month. While this sounds like a great goal, it’s not actually attainable, because the technology to go to Mars doesn’t yet exist. Setting super high goals can seem like a good idea, but it can actually be demotivating, because you know you can’t accomplish them anyway.

In our medical assisting goal example, some things you should consider to ensure the goal is attainable for you is if can you commit the time required for the program, do you have the support system needed, and do you have any prerequisites that are required.

Relevant

The next thing you must do is ensure your SMART career goals are relevant to you. Here are some questions you should ask about each specific goal: Is this something you really want to achieve? Do you care enough to put in the work? Does this goal align with your other goals? Does this goal fit into your long-term plans?

For example, our medical assisting goal is relevant because it will help reach your dream of starting a more rewarding career. By achieving this goal, you’re working toward a long-term goal of being in a career that brings you more meaning and fulfillment.

Timely

Last, you need to ensure that your SMART career goals are timely. Creating a timely goal means that it has a time frame that you will complete the goal within. If you create a goal with no deadline, there is no sense of urgency to work toward the goal.

Create a deadline to reach the goal, but also create smaller deadlines for the milestones along the way. For example, with our medical assisting goal, you can create a deadline for taking each class, finishing your externship, and passing certification tests.

Achieve Your Goals with United

Now that you’ve created your SMART career goals, you’re ready to achieve your professional dreams! If you want to work in healthcare, helping your community by providing excellent patient care, United Career Institute has the fast track programs to help you get there.

Learn more and request information about our Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration, and Phlebotomy programs to get started today!

Steps to Apply for Admission to the Practical Nursing Program at United-Fayette County

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 United  Practical Nursing Program in Mt. Braddock, PA near Uniontown.

Steps to Apply for Admission to the Practical Nursing Program at United-Fayette County

  1. Express your interest in the Practical Nursing Program by visiting us online, calling (724) 437-4600 or stopping by our campus.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Schedule and study for the TEAS entrance exam.
    • The exam is taken on campus and is around 3.5 hours long.
    • Students must achieve passing scores (65 reading, 60 math, 60 english and 45 science) within two attempts. If you do not pass within two attempts you will need to wait six months before trying again.
    • The TEAS test typically requires 2-3 weeks of preparation and study time. DO NOT WAIT…THE PROGRAM FILLS FAST!
    • Remember passing the TEAS exam does not guarantee a spot in the Practical Nursing Program.
  5. If the student passes the TEAS exam (results are provided on the same day), an interview with the Director of Nursing will be scheduled.
  6. The student will need to bring their completed Practical Nursing application (which includes two professional references and an essay) to the interview.
  7. The Director of Nursing will then decide if the student is accepted.
  8. If the student is accepted into the program, the next step is to set up an appointment with financial aid to cover the financial aid process.
  9. Complete clearances, immunizations, and disclosure forms which are due prior to orientation.
  10. Attend orientation and begin classes.

 

CLICK HERE TO BEGIN STEP 1 AND LEARN ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Meet the Practical Nursing Director – Pam Hughes

Meet Pam Hughes, Practical Nursing Director at United Career Institute!

Pam Hughes Practical Nursing Director

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!

Lynda Mayes – Staff Highlight

“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 - Staff Highlight

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 – Graduate Highlight

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 Patterson - Graduate Highlight

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.”

Premier Medical Associates – Externship Site Partnership

Founded in 1993, Premier’s leadership team led a transition that made the company independent in 2004. Premier’s independence allowed the company to focus on building a stronger model of patient-centered care and expand operations to include critical services and specialties that provide a continuum of care to PMA’s patients. In December 2011, Premier Medical Associates affiliated with Highmark and today is an affiliate of the Allegheny Health Network.
Premier Medical Associates – Externship Site Partnership

Premier Medical Associates is a high performing health organization delivering an advanced care model to the more than 100,000 patients in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Recognized as a national leader in healthcare transformation, Premier is headed by a nationally awarded physician and leadership team, representing over 400 employees. Premier delivers a higher quality of care to its communities and patients through a resolute commitment to prevention, immunization, whole-body health, and patient-centered care.

Premier Medical Associates, an affiliate of the Allegheny Health Network, is the largest multi-specialty physician practice in the Greater Pittsburgh area with 100 providers, 24 medical services and specialties delivering care in 10 convenient locations.

Before Premier focuses on delivering the highest quality care to our patients, we focus on the people delivering that care. Their wellbeing is critical to providing better care. We make considerable investments of time, training and other resources to cultivate a thriving employee culture.

As an extern, students will be exposed to a team-based, healthy working environment.  Employees at Premier work efficiently and effectively to deliver care to our patients.  Students will receive the tools and training they need to have a productive and educational learning experience at Premier and will be involved in participating in the day to day operations of the practice.  We are committed to providing a positive and valuable experience to all students.

Premier strongly believes that partnerships are critical to the success of the organization.  We are excited to partner and align goals with United Career Institute.  We believe that we have an excellent opportunity to teach and develop students in the healthcare industry, and we are confident that our efforts will have a positive impact on the success of our recruitment strategies.

Premier gives the following advice to students entering college in 2020-2021; focus on the direction of your education on industries and jobs that bring joy and gratitude to your life.  It is so important to love and be excited about what you do every day.