United Learning Experience

For those who have never been to our campuses, we want to give you a sneak peek of what it’s like for students who attend United Career Institute. Our Irwin and Mt. Braddock campuses train students for rewarding healthcare careers. Read on to discover what it’s like to attend school at United!

Hands-On Skills

Students enrolled in our healthcare training programs have the opportunity to learn a variety of hands-on skills that are essential for their future careers. Practicing these skills gives you valuable experience that you will need while on the job caring for real patients or dealing with real office situations. Check out some of the awesome hands-on skills United students have practiced in their classes!

Classroom Instruction

At United, we provide students with up-to-date classrooms and labs to complete your classes and earn your degree. You will learn from experienced instructors who truly care about you and your career. Our classroom and clinical lab instructors support you in every way possible with a one-on-one approach to education. Check out United students enjoying their educational experience in the classroom!

Certification Prep

We understand that today’s employers want candidates who are qualified and prepared to perform their specific job. That’s why our healthcare programs include training and preparation for certifications* or licenses that are valued by healthcare employers. As a student, you will prepare for those that are specific to your chosen program. Check out some of our students as they prepare for and celebrate earning their professional healthcare certifications!

Student Success

Our purpose is to empower change by creating opportunity, and we are dedicated to this mission every day. We strive to help every student realize their dreams of having a successful, fulfilling career. As you go through your learning experience with United, we are here for you every step of the way, from when you first contact us to learning in your classes to graduation and beyond. Check out some of our awesome students and graduates and request information today to get started on your own path to a successful career!

*Certification is contingent upon passing the corresponding industry certification exam.

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!

Bethany Slezak – Student Highlight

Bethany Slezak is one of United Career Institute’s practical nursing students at the Irwin campus.She started the program in June of 2020 and will be graduating in June of 2021. She chose United Career Institute because she liked the idea of smaller classes, and she felt like it had a more family-like approach. Before she came to United, Bethany was working as an aide at a personal care home. She knew she wanted to go to nursing school because she likes taking care of people. She said, “I know it’s cliché to say that I want to take care of people, but it really is true. Specifically working with geriatrics, I want to give them the care they are entitled to.”

One of Bethany’s favorite parts about attending United is the instructors. She feels that they are very approachable and helpful to the students. “I love all of my instructors. They each have amazing qualities like their confidence, cleverness, intellect, humor, and are kindhearted. All things that I look up to.” Her favorite class so far has been Anatomy & Physiology. She said, “I find it fascinating how our bodies work. It is also the basis of Medical Surgical Nursing, so it’s great to see everything I’ve learned coming together!”

After she graduates, Bethany would like to start working in long term care. She wants to move on to Hospice care eventually. When we asked how she would like her life to be like in five years, she said, “I would like to be successful in my new career, married, and have some kiddos running around.”

If your story sounds similar to Bethany’s, request information here!

Christmas Giving: How To Give Back During the Holidays

The holidays are here, and that means Christmas music, festive cookies, and tasty food. For many, this is truly the most wonderful time of the year. But for some people who are less fortunate or going through hard times, the holidays can be a real challenge.

This presents us with an opportunity to give back to others during this time of year. Keep reading as we share some ways to help people by giving back during the holidays!

Volunteer Your Time

Giving your time by volunteering is a great way to give back to those who are less fortunate. This year has been especially hard on many people, so now is the perfect time to begin your volunteering journey. Making or serving food at your local food pantry or soup kitchen can help those suffering from food insecurity and hunger.

Volunteering to help make care packages for local families is another great way to donate your time. Nonprofit organizations and churches often prepare and send out holiday care packages, so check with those in your local community to see where you can help.

Since many nursing homes have been unable to see family most of this year due to the pandemic, it’s easy for them to feel alone during the holidays. Check with your local nursing homes to see if you are able to remotely visit people via video calls to lift their spirits during this time. For those of you who are blessed with the gift of song, singing Christmas carols can really bring joy to nursing home residents!

Contribute Food

Many people suffer from hunger and food security issues, so giving food around the holidays is a great way to help others. Gather nonperishable food items like canned goods, pasta, and rice, and take these to your local food banks, shelters, and churches that distribute or serve food to those who need it. Feel free to contact these local organizations before you donate food to see any specific items they need.

Additionally, many employers, schools, and other organizations hold food drives during the holidays to help those who cannot provide holiday meals for themselves or their families. Donating nonperishable items to these food drives can go a long way in helping support your community and those in need.

Give Toys

Donating toys to local toy drives is another common way to spread the Christmas spirit and give back during the holidays. Just think of the smile you could put on the face of a child in need by giving them a toy! Check with children’s hospitals, homeless shelters, and children’s shelters to determine if they have children there currently who will not receive anything for Christmas. Be sure to ask the children’s age, so you can get them an age-appropriate gift they will love!

In addition to donating directly, many local organizations do toy drives around the holidays, and there are also national nonprofits that donate toys to underprivileged children.

Donate Money

Another great way to spread holiday cheer is by donating money directly to organizations and nonprofits that help others. These can be local charities in your community or national groups that serve the whole country. For many nonprofits, you can donate money directly on their website. For those that do not have this option, you can call them to ask how to donate. Some national charity organizations you could donate to include:

In addition to money, you can also donate other items that those less fortunate may need, like clothing and blankets.

Be There For Others

The holidays are the perfect time to spread joy and love, showing the true meaning of Christmas to those around you. Due to the pandemic, many people will be spending Christmas alone and away from family this year. You can make a difference just by being there for others during this time. Reach out to someone who may be alone for the holidays to let them know you care.

Remember, when you give back to others, you are not only bringing joy to them but you as well. Happy Holidays from United Career Institute; we hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Financial Aid 101

You must make many important decisions when enrolling in career training classes, and financial aid is one of these decisions. Determining exactly how you will pay for your training and degree is a critical step to enrolling in school.

At United, we assist each and every student through the enrollment process, from the first time we speak with you, to creating your personalized financial plan, to helping you sign up for classes.

Financial Aid Process

Figuring out your financial aid can be complicated and confusing. There are so many different options, so how do you know which ones will work best for you? This is why we are here for our students every step of the way through the financial aid process.

“Financial aid is very complex, and there is a lot of detail. If a student has no idea what kind of student aid they qualify for, that is completely fine. We will walk each student from point A to point Z,” said Parker Rhoads, Financial Aid Advisor.

After completing your admissions interview next, you will meet with a financial aid advisor for your financial aid appointment. During this meeting, we assist students by walking you through the steps to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which must be submitted to qualify for federal/state grants and loans.

Next, after completing the FAFSA, we work with each student to create a personalized financial aid plan just for you. This plan will break down exactly how you will pay for school, so you can be confident about earning your degree and starting your path to an exciting new career.

“Our goal is to get our students graduated with as little debt as possible,” said Parker. “We understand that many of our students have been to college before, especially in a university setting, and it didn’t work out, so keeping their debt low is extremely important.”

Once your personalized financial aid plan is completed, you will confirm that the plan works for you and sign your financial aid documents.

At United, we have a financial aid officer here on campus, so students can pop in to ask questions or call whenever. We are a smaller school, so you don’t have to go through 10 different people to get ahold of the person you need. If a student has a question, all you need to do is call the school and ask to speak to someone in financial aid. In addition, students get access to our loan assistance department so that they can ask questions about your loans at any time.

Types of Financial Aid*

As you go through your financial aid appointment and review your personalized financial aid plan, you will learn that there are many different types of financial aid programs available to those who qualify.

  • Federal Pell Grants: This is grant money from the federal government to help fund your education that you do not have to pay back.
  • State Grants: Some states also have grant money available to help students fund their education that does not have to be paid back.
  • Grants/Scholarships**: These include both institutional grants offered by United and third-party scholarships from other sources to help pay for your education. We encourage students to research and apply for scholarships.
  • Student Loans: These are loans from the federal government or third-party providers that students take out to help pay for their education. Students are not required to make payments for their loans while they are attending school; however, we highly encourage them to make some cash payments to reduce their total amount of debt.
  • PLUS Loans: These loans are available for parents to take out to help pay for their student’s education. Parents must qualify for this type of loan.
  • GI Bill®^: For those who have served, you can use your veteran’s tuition benefits to help pay for your education.
  • Employer Tuition Reimbursement: This is for students who work for a company that offers tuition reimbursement to help pay for their employee’s education.
  • Cash Payments: Cash payments are what students make toward their own education, so they do not have to take out as many loans.
  • 529 Plan: This is a separate savings account for educational purposes that parents can set up for their children.

Your financial aid advisor will help you determine which specific types of financial aid you qualify for to help pay for your education during your financial aid appointment.

Completing the FAFSA

Filling out the FAFSA is critical to qualifying for financial aid. The information provided in this application will determine what types of financial aid and how much you qualify for. It’s important to make sure the information provided is accurate and up to date. Once your FAFSA is submitted, you will receive an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) number, which the federal government looks at when you apply for financial aid.

At United, we assist our students by helping them fill out their FAFSA or updating a previous FAFSA that may be incomplete. The FAFSA must be completed each year that a student plans to attend school.

“We are here to walk students through it, every step of the way,” said Parker. For anyone considering going to school, Parker says to “complete your FAFSA as soon as possible. Get in touch with our financial aid department, and we can walk you through the process, step by step.”

Join Us At United

At United, we are career-driven. We want to train students quickly so that you can begin your new career faster. “We provide our students a premium educational experience with face-to-face and personal interaction,” said Parker.

Our career-focused programs and supportive learning environment can help you start your career with the knowledge, skills, and experience to succeed. Explore our healthcare training programs and request information to get started today!

*For those who qualify.

**For those who qualify. See catalog for detailed eligibility requirements.

^ GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

Jeanine Bitens – Student Highlight

Jeanine Bitens is one of United Career Institute’s bright medical assisting students. She enrolled at the Irwin campus in April 2020. She was previously enrolled at a local community college. Her favorite part about the program was doing clinicals. She really enjoyed working with the patients.

She chose United Career Institute because of our location and small class sizes. Jeanine said, “I did not have to worry about getting lost amongst many students.” She also was relieved to find out that she wouldn’t have to purchase any textbooks at our school. Overall, Jeanine feels like she made a good choice. “It is a different experience going back to school as an older adult. I think for the most part it is better. I was more focused than I was when I was younger, and more determined to finish.”

Jeanine chose to enroll in the Medical Assisting program because she knew that she wanted to be working with patients. She likes the small class sizes and feels like everyone is very welcoming. She said, “The staff and the other students are wonderful. I feel comfortable and I am not as stressed as I was in my other school.” She does not have a favorite instructor or a favorite course. Jeanine likes them all!

After she graduates, Jeanine is hoping to work full time at a local doctor’s office. She wants to be financially stable and working at a job that she loves. We know Jeanine will do great wherever she ends up working! They will be lucky to have such a committed employee!

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

The Best Time to Start a Career Training Program is Now!

We have all experienced many changes this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people have been laid off from their jobs, some are learning how to homeschool their children, and some are experiencing a variety of other life changes.

For those who have experienced disruptions to their careers this year, deciding what to do next can be a challenge, especially when things are still so uncertain. You may be wondering how to start a more secure career or what is the best way to train for a new career.

Even though it may be a little overwhelming to take the next step in your career journey, doing so now can get you ahead and help you reach your career goals faster. If your goal is to start a new career as an essential healthcare worker, now is the perfect time to start a career training program, and this week, we’re sharing with you the many reasons why!

Train For A New Career

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown which jobs are essential, and healthcare industry workers are one of the most important categories of essential workers. Those who work in healthcare are on the front lines fighting for the health and safety of everyone. Doctors, nurses, medical assistants, medical office professionals, phlebotomy technicians, and many more have dedicated themselves to helping others throughout the pandemic.

Because these healthcare workers are so important and essential, choosing a career path in the medical field can provide you with increased job security now and in the future. Training for a new healthcare career now will prepare you to succeed in the medical field as an essential worker.

In addition to increased job security, enrolling in a healthcare training program and starting a career in the medical field also allows you to help people on a daily basis and truly make a difference in their lives, providing you with a more fulfilling and meaningful career.

Finish Your Degree Sooner

Another top reason for starting a career training program now is that the sooner you begin your degree or diploma program, the sooner you will finish. It may seem like an overwhelming decision to make and you may not feel perfectly ready, but the longer you wait, the longer it will be before you can start your new career.

At United Career Institute, our healthcare career training programs are designed to get you on the fast track to an exciting new career. Our healthcare degree and diploma programs are completed in less than 18 months, preparing you for a career in the medical field much faster than traditional university options.

Stay Closer To Home

With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still happening around us, many people are nervous about going away to college. Being away from family and having to interact with people from many other places are valid concerns during this time.

Even with these concerns, you can still take the next step in your career path by starting a career training program that is closer to home. Choosing a program that allows you to complete your healthcare training courses in a small-school environment and stay closer to home can ease your mind from some of the concerns you have, and also give you an increased support system by staying closer to friends and family.

Staying closer to home and attending a smaller school also gives you the opportunity to network and build positive relationships in your local healthcare community and with potential employers. Here at United, students complete real-world externships and clinicals at local medical facilities, giving you the opportunity to build relationships and get valuable experience.

Start Your Career Training At United

At United Career Institute, we are dedicated to your success while you are enrolled as a student and after graduation. Our family atmosphere provides you with a supportive learning environment to prepare for your exciting new career. With student services like academic advising, career advising, and personal advising, we help you to achieve your full potential and reach your career goals.

Explore our healthcare training programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Insurance Billing and Coding now to start your path to a new career. Request information to get started today!

How To Start Your Journey
To Become a Medical Assistant

You have chosen the best career path for you and decided to become a medical assistant. Congratulations on making this important decision for a new medical assisting career!

After deciding on your dream job, you’re now ready to create a plan to get you there. In today’s modern healthcare industry, many medical employers require candidates to have specific education, skills, experience, and certifications to qualify for medical assistant positions.

Healthcare employers need well-trained and qualified medical assisting professionals because they are important members of the medical team, providing hands-on patient care.

At United Career Institute, we know the steps you must take to start your journey to become a medical assistant. Keep reading as we share them with you!

Enroll in a Medical Assisting Degree Program

Each member of the healthcare team must be trained in the specific tasks they will be performing while on the job, as healthcare jobs are more specialized now than in the past. When medical professionals are well-trained and knowledgeable in their specialized area, it ensures patients will have a positive experience and receive high-quality care.

As healthcare employers need candidates who have completed specialized training, those who attend a healthcare training program designed for their specific position have an advantage over others. Since you have decided to become a medical assistant, enrolling in a medical assisting degree program that provides you with the knowledge and skills needed is the best option to start your journey to your exciting new career.

At United Career Institute, our Medical Assisting program prepares students to succeed in this exciting career path. After completing their medical assisting classes, students can qualify for jobs in healthcare facilities like hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, long-term care facilities, and more.

Learn Hands-On Skills and Gain Experience

As students complete their medical assisting degree program, they also need to learn and practice the hands-on skills that medical assistants perform while on the job. At some point in our lives, we have probably all interacted with a medical assistant at a healthcare facility, so you know how important it is that these valuable professionals are well trained. You would not want someone performing a phlebotomy procedure on you who had never done it before. It’s essential for medical assistants to learn and practice hands-on skills in their medical assisting courses.

For students attending United’s Medical Assisting degree program, they learn a variety of hands-on skills including assisting with exams, collecting and processing medical specimens, performing lab tests, practicing phlebotomy, performing EKGs, and many more.

While enrolled in their medical assisting classes at United, students also have the opportunity to complete an externship and gain experience in real-world healthcare situations. This valuable medical externship provides hands-on experience, setting you up for success as you begin your new career. Adding this real-world experience to your resume can give you an advantage over other candidates as you apply for medical assisting positions.

Prepare for Industry Certifications

In addition to needing the relevant knowledge, skills, and experience, many healthcare employers also prefer medical assisting professionals who are certified. When you earn professional certifications, employers know you have the skills to perform your specific job.

Healthcare industry organizations create certifications to set specific standards for the knowledge and skills that someone must have to complete specific job tasks. Employers know that job candidates who have earned professional healthcare certifications have met these high-quality standards. For this reason, candidates who hold industry certifications stand out among the crowd, because they have the qualifications to get the job done.

Students enrolled in our Medical Assisting program will prepare to sit for multiple certifications from the National Healthcareer Association, including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**. These valuable healthcare certifications show that you have the knowledge and skills to excel in your medical assisting career.

Start Your Journey Today With United

You’re now ready to get started on your journey to become a medical assistant. Deciding on a medical assisting training program that offers the right combination of education, skills, experience, and certifications can be a tough decision. If you have questions or need help taking that next step, let our friendly admissions advisors at United help you create a customized plan just for you.

With a WE CARE approach to education, small class sizes, student support, and career services, United may be the perfect place to start your journey to become a medical assistant.

Request information to chat with one of our helpful admissions advisors today!

 

*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.

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!

Erin Messer – Faculty Highlight

Erin Messer is an adjunct instructor at United Career Institute Irwin. She has an MBA, a Doctorate in Pharmacy, and is currently earning her Doctorate in Education. She started her career working in research & development for a pharmaceutical company and eventually moved into a medical affairs role. Erin has also worked in long-term care and community pharmacy.

Erin Messer-Faculty Highlight

Erin chose to work at United Career Institute because she likes our take on education. She said, “I loved the idea of a local school that offered programs to students to advance their education and career, in a not so traditional way.” She recommends the medical field to students because of the opportunities available. There are always ways to advance your career in this field. “Take it from me, I started in research, moved to clinical practice, and now I’m teaching!”

One thing that motivates Erin is getting to know her students and seeing them succeed. She gets many questions from her students about how they will use certain medications and treatments in their fields. When teaching, she tries to incorporate examples of how the students will be using the materials in their future. Erin also reminds students of the characteristics that will help them stand out when looking for employment. Showing sympathy and understanding will go a long way in the medical field. Erin said, “Although ‘beside manor’ and listening skills are not traditionally taught in school, these attributes make a big difference to patients.”

When she is not busy teaching classes for three different institutions, Erin spends her time playing music. She can read music and plays four instruments! Not many people may know this, but Erin has been skydiving and can also crochet afghans!

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