Advantages of Practical Nursing

If you have always dreamed of becoming a nurse, starting a career in practical nursing may be the perfect choice for you. As a licensed practical nurse, you have the opportunity to help people and make a difference in their lives every day when you go to work.

There are many advantages of choosing a career in practical nursing, such as being able to start your career quicker, the opportunity to advance your nursing career, and enjoying more meaningful work.

Start Your Career Quicker

One of the top advantages for those who want to become a licensed practical nurse is the ability to start their career quicker. Most practical nursing programs are completed in 12 months, which means that you can finish school and graduate faster.
In comparison, many other healthcare degree programs take years to complete. Nursing programs at more traditional schools require years of general education classes before you are even accepted into nursing school, with many never being accepted at all.

At United, we designed our Practical Nursing program to be direct admission. This means that you don’t have to waste precious time and money taking years of general education classes. For those who are accepted into the Practical Nursing program at United, you will start your nursing classes immediately. Our direct admission policy allows you to get into your dream nursing career faster.

Advance Your Nursing Career

There is a positive job outlook for those who choose to pursue a career as a practical nurse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be about 60,700 job openings for licensed practical nurses on average each year for the next decade in the United States. The growth rate for LPNs during the same time period is projected to be 9%, which means healthcare employers will need to hire even more LPNs in the future.

Starting your healthcare career as a licensed practical nurse gives you the opportunity for upward career mobility in the future. Since those choosing a career as an LPN are able to finish school so quickly and get started in their careers sooner, they gain valuable real-world experience that will be extremely helpful in any future educational pursuits.

For example, some people start their careers as an LPN and work for a couple years, and then go back to school to earn a degree in registered nursing. With LPN to RN bridge programs, this process can be even more streamlined. For those who want to go even further, there are also nursing master’s degrees that you could pursue.

Enjoy More Meaningful Work

Another top advantage of becoming an LPN is the opportunity to enjoy more meaningful and fulfilling work. When people are having health issues and interacting with healthcare professionals, this is when they need supported the most. As a nurse, you can offer your patients the kindness, compassion, and caring nature that will make a huge difference for them in tough moments.

Nurses not only get to provide comfort to their patients, but they also get to empower them and their families to take care of their health. For example, if a patient comes in with an open wound, as a nurse you will care for the wound and instruct the patient how to care for the wound themselves once they get home. By empowering the patient with information on how to correctly care for their wound at home, you are lessening the chance of complications like an infection.

United’s Practical Nursing Program

Our direct admission Practical Nursing program here at United offers students the ability to train for a new career as a licensed practical nurse and graduate in only 12 months. Students complete comprehensive nursing courses and are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN* exam.

While completing their practical nursing training, students learn a variety of hands-on skills including how to conduct physical assessments, care for wounds, perform IV therapy, monitor vital signs, collect medical specimens, and perform routine lab tests.

Upon graduation, practical nursing professionals have the opportunity to work in different types of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, doctor’s offices, and long-term care facilities.

We offer Practical Nursing programs at both our Irwin Campus and our Mt. Braddock Campus, so you can train for your new career closer to home. Contact us today to start your path to an exciting practical nursing career!

 

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

Aileen Luckowski – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to one of our co-Students of the Month, Aileen Luckowski! Aileen is a Practical Nursing student at United Career Institute.

While she has attended other post-secondary institutions, Aileen felt that United was her best option. “I’ve attended post-secondary education before, but I really felt like United being a smaller campus, was best for my learning style,” she said.

Prior to enrolling in United’s Practical Nursing program, Aileen was working a steady job, but she constantly felt that she needed more from her life. “Before I decided to attend United, I was working full time as a VIP Butler at a casino.  Although it was a very financially stable job, I left every day feeling as if I was meant to do something much more in life, which is why I chose to pursue Nursing. I chose Nursing because I want to help people and know I make a difference every day,” she said.

Aileen did her homework when it came to choosing nursing schools. She loved that she could get a very well-rounded education at United. She said, “I chose United because of their excellent NCLEX- PN* pass rates, small class sizes, and knowledgeable instructors.  The instructors came from all aspects of nursing, so I knew I’d get an in-depth education.  There was no other institution around that offered instructors with OR, maternity, pediatrics, behavioral health, and long-term care experience all under one roof.”

In addition to the well-rounded education she receives, Aileen chose United because of the small school atmosphere. “My favorite part of attending United would probably be the home-like classroom experience. Larger schools sit you in a large lecture hall, and you’re really just a number,” she said.

Aileen graduates from United in a few short weeks, and she is so excited to share that she already has a job lined up! “My ideal job after graduation would be in an emergency department. Luckily, with the skills I’ve attained at United, I’ve already been offered and accepted a full-time position in my local hospital’s emergency department.  It’s a great feeling knowing that in a little over a month, I’ll be graduated and starting my nursing career in the department I had my sights set on,” she said.

Although she is almost done with her United experience, Aileen still has big goals for her educational future! “In five years, I’d like to be beginning my Master’s Program for Family Nurse Practitioner,” she says.

As a final thought, Aileen said, “I would refer friends to United because I myself am a success story considering I’m in my late 30’s with a teenager, and I was able to do this program with the backing of great instructors and a good classmate support system.”

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

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

Sakya Baker – Student Highlight

Practical Nursing student, Sakya Baker, began her journey with United Career Institute in April 2021. United is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, an important advantage in Sakya’s search for schools. Another reason Sakya chose United was the location. The campus is located on Lincoln Highway in Irwin and is easily accessible from the turnpike and surrounding areas in Westmoreland County.

Before attending United, Sakya was a CNA for 15 years. She always wanted to further her education but did not feel she had the support system. Now she’s got her amazing support system and an 11-year-old daughter cheering her on! Sakya says, “a big part of her support system is the staff members at United Career Institute, who really want to see you succeed.”

United Career Institute prides itself on having supportive instructors with experience working in their respective fields. One of those staff members is nursing instructor Tina Fenyus, who teaches Sakya’s favorite classes. When asked why she said it is because “she is passionate about nursing and genuinely wants you to succeed.”

After graduating, Sakya hopes to work in a long-term care facility as an LPN where she will get to use the knowledge and skills United taught her. When asked where Sakya would like her life to be in five years, she said she would like to follow in the footsteps of her favorite instructor, Tina! Sakya said, “I plan to further my education and eventually become a nursing instructor.” Having a caring and encouraging instructor is a major reason Sakya would recommend United Career Institute to a friend or family member.

If you are interested in learning more about United, request information here!

Cassidy Winck – Student Highlight

United Career Institute is thrilled to introduce you to our August Student of the Month, Cassidy Winck.

Cassidy is a student in United’s Medical Assisting program.

United Career Institute is Cassidy’s first experience with a post-secondary institute. Prior to attending school, she was a part of the workforce. “I was working full time at Pediatric Associates as a receptionist,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy’s decision to attend United was driven by some of her friends who attended previously. “I chose to come to United Career Institute because two of my mutual friends came here a couple of years ago,” she said.

Cassidy’s experience as a receptionist at Pediatric Associates was part of what drove her decision to pursue medical assisting at United. She said, “I chose medical assisting because while I was working at Pediatric Associates of Westmoreland, I was able to see what a medical assistant was and became interested in what they do daily.”

Cassidy’s favorite part of attending United is the bond she has built with her fellow classmates. “My favorite thing about United Career Institute are the friends that I made while being here,” she said.

She also loves the instructors she’s had at United. “I haven’t found a teacher I didn’t like here. All of the teachers are helpful, supportive, and push you to do your best.”

Cassidy has some big plans for her life after graduation. “After graduation, my ideal job is to be a medical assistant.” She continued to say “I would [also] like to have a house and a family of my own.”

Cassidy said she would absolutely refer United Career Institute to a friend. “This school has shown me that hard work pays off.”

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

Excela Health – Externship Highlight

One of the core values of United Career Institute is relationships; “we build meaningful and trusted relationships at the foundation of our culture.” Through these relationships, we provide our students with a well-rounded educational experience that will give them hands-on experience in their field of study.

United accomplishes this through an externship component of the Medical Assisting and Medical Billing/Administration programs. The students’ externship allows them to go into a real-world setting and apply the knowledge and skills they have learned at the campus.

For externships to work, you have great employer partners willing to accept students to apply these skills, and we do not have a shortage of partners at the Irwin campus. One of our partners is Excela Health, and many students have performed their externship at one of the many facilities that they operate. Excela Health brought together three hospitals and other healthcare affiliates to meet the health care needs of those in Westmoreland, northern Fayette, and southern Indiana counties. We are honored to work with; Frick Hospital in Mount PleasantLatrobe Hospital in Latrobe, and Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg. 

Students completing their externship with Excela achieve various clinical experiences, and Excela has been incredibly accommodating when it comes to United Career Institute students. We asked their representatives some key questions to explore why Excela likes to participate in these externship experiences, and they were indeed quick to answer.

When asked, “what value does a United student receive completing an externship with your organization?” Office Manager Nicole Zerone was quick to respond, saying, “We believe hands-on is so important, and we like to provide students support learning hands-on. We have all been there before and love to help students out.” When we asked the question, “What value does your organization receive having a United student complete their externship at your business?” she responded just as quickly, explaining, “It gives us an opportunity to mold someone into a good employee and give them the tools they need to succeed should they be employed by Excela.” United Career Institute could not value the relationship with Excela enough.

When it comes to giving students insight into their futures, we had to conclude with this perspective. “What advice would you give a student entering school in 2021/2022?” Zerone replied, “Take it one day at a time and learn as much as you can. Be attentive to your experiences and take constructive criticism, as all of these things can help you to become a good employee.”

To learn more about United’s externship program or if you are interested in getting the training you need to work at a place like Excela Health, request information here!

Kelly Shriver – Staff Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to our new Allied Health Programs Director, Kelly Shriver! Kelly oversees all allied health programs, including Medical Billing/Administration, Medical Assisting, and Clinical Medical Assistant (our 12-month diploma program.)

Though Kelly is new to the United Mt. Braddock family, she has been a part of the United Irwin family since its inception in 2019. We are so happy to have her as part of both teams now!

Kelly’s educational background is in healthcare. She graduated from Indiana County Technology Center with her diploma in Medical Assisting and from Robert Morris University with her Bachelors of Science in Health Services Administration.

Kelly has a plethora of experience in the healthcare industry. Before coming to United, she worked at places such as Excela Health and her alma mater. She says, “I started my career as a medical assistant working in a neurology practice at Excela Health. I moved into a family practice setting 8 months later. After working in family practice for almost 3 years, I was promoted to be a quality coordinator. I worked closely with physicians to make sure patients were receiving all their necessary health screenings. After a year in this role, I was approached to join the organizational, education, and training team, which I happily accepted.  One year into that role, I was promoted to team lead. While working full time at Excela Health, I also taught for two years at Indiana County Technology Center for their evening adult Medical Assistant program.”

Training future medical professionals is one of Kelly’s favorite parts of working at United. “I wanted to get back into being an instructor as it was something I truly enjoyed doing.  Training future medical assistants is really where I saw myself working,” she said. She also loves the familial atmosphere at United. “From the top of the ladder down, everyone truly cares about you and your wellbeing. It really is a great place to work with amazing people,” she continued.

In addition to training future medical professionals, Kelly is motivated by her daughter, Harper. She said, “My daughter Harper motivates me more than anything else. I want to show her that no matter what she wants to do in life, she can achieve it with hard work, dedication, and love. I want to be the best role model I can be for her.”

Kelly is most proud of her academic accomplishments, specifically her time at Robert Morris. “I am most proud of graduating magna cum laude from Robert Morris because I started my program while working a full-time and part-time job and finished it with a newborn baby. Achieving a high GPA was an amazing accomplishment,” she said.

Kelly has some big plans for her future, both in her education and career! “My long-term career goals would be to further my education by getting my master’s in the field of education.  Down the line, I would love to take on a more leadership-oriented role in the organization, too,” she said!

Something you may not know about Kelly is that she wanted to be a special education teacher growing up. “I wanted to be a special education teacher, specifically at the elementary level. I went to elementary school with an autistic boy, and working with him on a daily basis made me so happy. Even though I didn’t end up doing that as a profession, I am still happy where life took me.”

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

Amy Smith – Student Highlight

Before stepping on campus at United Career Institute, Amy Smith, one of our medical assisting students, spent some time at Slippery Rock University.  After her father suffered from some severe medical conditions, she, unfortunately, did not return.  Thankfully for us at UCI, that lead her here!

Amy did a lot of traveling and volunteer work before leaping back into her education.  When asked why she chose UCI, Amy said she saw the banner while visiting a local restaurant and decided to speak to one of our Admissions Advisors to get the ball rolling.  After her appointment, she knew this was something she could manage and wanted to earn her degree.

When asked why she chose to work as a medical assistant, Amy replied that she “enjoys working with people.”  Amy hopes to apply her “knack for making people feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations” to her future career as a medical assistant.  This “knack” is something we all have seen, as you can frequently find Amy in a study group with her peers, performing random acts of kindness and lending an ear to anyone who needs it.

Amy said her favorite part of UCI is the people.  She said she had no idea she would “meet so many truly wonderful people” when she decided to attend United.  Amy “thinks this profession attracts helpful and genuinely kind individuals, and we have a school full of them!”

When asked about her favorite instructor, Amy picked one of our newest team members, Annette Crowe. Medical terminology was once an intimidating class for Amy, but it is now Amy’s favorite class, thanks to Annette’s “down-to-earth and funny way” to approach the course.

After graduation, Amy feels like she could find herself working in a doctor’s office and maybe even offering private tutoring to struggling students.  In five years, Amy hopes to be “living in the moment by trusting and enjoying the story of her life.”

When asked if she would refer a friend or family to attend United Career Institute, Amy quickly replied, “I absolutely would refer a friend or family member.” In fact, her own daughter, a high school senior, is the first person she is recommending our school to.

We here at United feel it is truly a pleasure to have Amy as a student on our campus, and we can’t wait to see where life takes her.

How to Enroll for Fall Classes

Are you ready to make the move into an exciting healthcare career? Or maybe you want to advance your current career but aren’t sure where to start? Whatever your unique situation may be, we’ve got you covered at United Career Institute.

We have many years of experience helping students achieve their career goals by providing the training and education necessary to get started. From the time you first reach out to us to graduation and beyond, we support our students through every step of getting an education and starting their new careers.

Now is a perfect time if you are ready to get on the fast track to a new healthcare career. We are currently accepting applications for fall classes. Read on to find out exactly how to enroll and jump-start your new career!

Explore Our Programs

The first step to enrolling in fall classes is to decide which healthcare training program is best for you. To make this decision, ask yourself a few questions: do I want to work directly with patients, do I want to work in an office setting, and what skills do I want to learn?

For students who want to work directly with patients in a clinical setting, our Practical Nursing program may be the best choice for you. As a licensed practical nurse, you get to work directly under doctors and registered nurses to provide medical care to patients. Some of the skills students will learn while enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at United are conducting physical assessments, administering medications, caring for wounds, and performing routine lab tests. This comprehensive nursing program prepares students for the NCLEX-PN° exam, which is required to work as a licensed practical nurse.

If you want to work directly with patients but in more of a medical office setting, our Medical Assisting program may work best for you. As a medical assistant, your focus will be on helping with patient care and treatment while completing administrative and clinical tasks. Skills you’ll practice as you complete your medical assisting classes to include taking vital signs, collecting medical specimens, drawing blood, and giving injections. While in this program, students prepare to sit for professional certifications including National Certified Clinical Medical Assistant*, Certified EKG Technician**, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician**.

If you want to work more on the administrative side of healthcare, our Medical Billing/Administration program could be perfect for you. As a medical billing and administrative professional, you will be focused on helping medical facilities run smoothly by managing the front office operations. For students who choose the Medical Billing/Administration program, you will learn valuable skills such as performing basic coding, maintaining electronic health records, handling billing and transcribing doctor’s notes. As you complete your medical office classes, you will prepare for professional certifications, including Certified Billing and Coding Specialist*, Certified Medical Administrative Assistant**, and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist**.

Meet Your Admissions Advisor

Now that you know more about the healthcare training programs we offer, it’s time to meet with an admissions advisor. To set up this meeting, request information now, or call our Irwin Campus at 724-515-2440 or our Mt. Braddock Campus at 724-437-4600. Our admissions advisors are friendly and ready to help you with anything you need to get started in your chosen career training program.

You will meet with your dedicated admissions advisor, who will walk you through the enrollment process. In this meeting, you will learn more about United Career Institute, the classes you will take as part of your program, and our proven process for helping you get into your new career. You will get the opportunity to ask any questions you have about United or our programs.

Your admissions advisor will give you a tour of the campus, so you can see the classrooms and labs, meet some of your instructors, and get a feel for what it’s like to attend United. You can complete your admissions meeting and campus tour in person or virtually.

Find Out About Financial Aid

Next, it’s time to meet with a financial aid advisor to learn more about the financial aid options that you may qualify for. Your financial aid advisor will explain the process to you and help you apply for the various financial aid programs.

Some of the financial aid resources that you will learn more about include federal grants, state grants, student loans, and veteran GI Bill programs. To determine which of these financial aid options you may qualify for, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial aid advisor can help you accurately complete your FAFSA.

Additionally, we offer several internal grants that students could qualify for if eligible, including the Nursing Pathway Grant***, Early Admission Grant***, and United Commitment Grant***.

Getting Registered for Classes

The final step is to register for your healthcare classes. At United, we take the work out of registering for classes. We will get you registered each term, so you don’t have to worry about not getting into the classes you need.

Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have everything you need to succeed in your healthcare courses. Get your supplies ready, make time for homework, and talk with your family and friends about any support you will need to excel in your program.

Now that you know exactly how to enroll for fall classes, you’re ready to get on the fast track to a new career. Contact us now to get started!

*Certification is contingent on passing the corresponding certification exam. Required/included in tuition/fees.

**Certification is contingent on passing the corresponding certification exam. Optional at own expense.

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

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

Allison Orr – Graduate Highlight

United Career Institute Mt. Braddock is excited to introduce you to Allison Orr, a recent graduate of our Medical Assisting program.

Prior to attending United, Allison was working with the elderly at a nursing home.  She knew she had a passion for helping people and wanted to find a school that would set her up to continue to do that in her career. She said, “I chose United because it looked like a promising school. I was absolutely correct about my expectations. I’m so grateful I chose this school.”

Allison chose United’s Medical Assisting program because of her love for helping people and her desire to learn all she can about the medical field and have a meaningful impact on the community around her. “I have a passion for helping people. I want to make a difference in this community and become very educated in my field of study,” she said.

There were many things about United Career Institute that Allison enjoyed. Among these things were the curriculum and the “amazing teachers,” but first and foremost, she liked that she was treated as an individual. “Everyone knew you as who you were, and [you were] not just a number,” she said.

Allison cites the “amazing teachers” as one of her favorite things about United, but one instructor, in particular, stands out as her favorite. “My favorite teacher was Kelli Workman. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She pushed me to my greatest potential. She knew I had the courage within me and encouraged me. I’m so thankful to have had her while I attended this school,” Allison said.

Allison graduated from United Career Institute a few short weeks ago, and we are so excited to announce that she will be returning to United for our Practical Nursing program! Many students who dream of becoming a nurse choose to start their journey in the medical field with United’s Medical Assisting program. This allows students to gain a base knowledge in a less stressful and rigorous environment.

Allison has some very admirable goals for the next five years. She says, “In five years, I would love to be at my forever job. I can’t wait to be a nurse and helping people every day of my life. The ultimate goal is to be unconditionally happy.”

When asked if she would refer a friend to United Career Institute, Allison said, “Absolutely. This is a great environment to learn and grow as a person.”

To learn more about the medical pathway programs at United Career Institute, request information here!