Externship Success | Pittsburgh Career Institute

Externship Success

After students complete classroom instruction at PCI, they participate in on-site externships with many of the best employers in the region. This helps hone their skills and move them one step closer to their dream job.


Student:  Grace

Program:  Veterinary Technology
Externship Location:  VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

Q:  Why did you choose PCI?

I chose Pittsburgh Career Institute for the Veterinary Technology program because of the courses offered for the program. I felt the courses would prepare me well for just about anything including small animal, large animal and exotic medicine. I also liked that the PCI had a Reg prep course to ensure I would be prepared to take the certification exam. The staff was wonderful explaining the requirements for the school and was so encouraging when it came down to me enrolling. Everyone was so supportive in the big decision in beginning my career.

Q:  Why did you choose the Veterinary Technology program?

I have always been passionate about helping animals, but never truly knew what I wanted to do as a career until I began to work on a dairy cattle farm in high school. Working on a farm allowed me to really grow a passion for the medical aspect of things. I also wanted to begin a career that allowed me to enter into the field and be hands-on as quickly as I could. That is when I decided to become a Veterinary Technician. Although I am very passionate about working in large animal medicine, my time at PCI has also given me the opportunity to love emergency medicine for small animals. Emergency medicine allows constant learning and job opportunities.

Q:  What advice would you give to current students?

My best advice to current students is, don’t give up! Although it’s tough at first, you can get through it if you put in the work. Your externship is worth it all in the end; don’t get discouraged if there is something you aren’t the strong in, everything takes practice to make perfect.

Q:  Where are you doing your externship?

My externship is at VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital.

Q:  What is the best part of your externship?

The best part of my externship is being able to learn from such a great staff. There is never a discouraging moment, everyone at VCA ensures that I have a learning opportunity in nearly every case I’m assigned to. Everyone is so knowledgeable and honest on the real-life aspects of the job.


Student:  Kevin

Program:  Medical Billing & Coding
Externship Location:  ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western Pennsylvania

Q:  Why did you choose PCI?

I chose PCI because of the accolades I had heard from students. Having a sibling in school as well, I knew what I was getting into. She actually was the one who had mentioned starting school again. This was my third attempt at school. A regular university did not interest me as it was not as hands-on. At PCI, I got to work on real world problems in the area I was studying.

Q:  Why did you choose the Medical Billing & Coding program?

I chose the MBC program because I like being detail oriented in a career field. In class, it was so much fun to me to search for codes using key words. I also enjoy that there are multiple ways to find correct answers.

Q:  What advice would you give to current students?

The advice I would give to current students is to pay attention in class. Sometimes, it seems that you are learning something for absolutely no reason; but everything I learned in all of my classes was used within my first few days of externship. When people leave high school, they often say that they will never have to use pi (3.14) again. This is most definitely not true when it comes to the classes offered at Pittsburgh Career Institute.

Q:  Where are you doing your externship?

I am currently doing my externship at ENT and Allergy Specialists of Western Pennsylvania. This is a group practice with six offices in the Pittsburgh area. There are three physicians, Dr. Stephen Froman, Dr. Michael Orsini, and Dr. Mary Rago who are otolaryngologists. I am in the insurance and billing office doing collections, checking claims, coding procedures/diagnoses, billing for the audiology and allergy departments, and much more.

Q:  What is the best part of your externship?

My externship is great because I get to use my skills learned in school and keep on my toes. Every morning, we start the same way, but it quickly changes course and we never know where our day is going to lead us. I am extremely lucky to be working with a great group of employees. Everyone from the practice manager, my job supervisor, coworker, and office staff are fun to be around and we all seem to look out for each other.


Student:  Christinachristinacherico

Program:  Medical Assistant Specialist
Externship Location:  West Penn Medical Associates

Q:  Why did you choose PCI?

Because I am very much a kinesthetic learner and being that PCI has primarily hands-on learning I believed I would excel.

Q:  Why the Medical Assistant program?

I decided on the Medical Assistant Program because I enjoy the direct patient care and the interaction. I also hope to bring joy and comfort to sick and worried patients. For me, being a medical assistant is more than a job; it is a lifestyle of always helping someone, no matter the situation.

Q:  What advice would you give to current students?

Strive to be the best you can be; when you work hard and wait for the opportunity, it will appear.

Q:  Where did you do your externship?

West Penn Medical Associates on Liberty Avenue

Q:  What was the best part of your externship?

GETTING HIRED!!!

Also, the professionals I worked with, the physician, nurse practitioner, the entire staff. They made me feel comfortable, each person was open to help me and answer any questions, and they showed me how to do things that may have been new to me.

Q:  What new skills did you learn?

Referrals and all insurance information. Front and back office are both aspects of the medical assistant occupation.


Student:  Elfonzoelfonzo

Program:  Surgical Technology
Externship Location:  Allegheny General Hospital (AGH)

Q:  Why did you choose PCI?

I chose PCI initially because of the convenience of its central location in downtown Pittsburgh. The morning commute to class is quick and easy!

Q:  Why did you choose the Surgical Technology program?

I chose the Surgical Technology program because my mother worked for UPMC for years as a Surgical Technologist and after researching the job market and reading up on PCI’s program I figured it would be a perfect match for me.

Q:  What advice would you give to current students?

Some advice I’d give to current students is to make sure you’re paying attention during lectures and participating during labs, because the knowledge you obtain here on campus will definitely prepare you to succeed during your clinical/externship. It’s all about honing the skills you learn while you’re a student so that when you’re looking for a career in your field after graduation your resume can speak for itself!

Q:  What was the best part of your externship?

The best part of my externship was learning the skills necessary to obtain a career as a Surgical Technologist. I had the pleasure of interning at Allegheny General Hospital – and being a level one trauma center, they have every service and specialty you can think of, making it look good on my resume. The staff at AGH was very polite and receptive of students which makes your time on the externship run very smoothly. I really enjoyed my time at AGH and feel as though their team adequately prepared me for the transition from being a student to a full-time Surgical Technologist.

Q:  What new skills did you learn at your externship?

Apart from getting the opportunity to apply my skills learned in class at PCI clinically, being an extern taught me the inner workings of the operating room, the functions of different O.R. staff, how to utilize surgical equipment and supplies, and how the surgical team works together to ensure the safety of the patient. The hands-on experience I got from working at AGH is what made me realize that this is a field in which I can excel.

Q:  What are you looking forward to most in your new career as a Surgical Tech at UPMC?

I look forward to working as a Surgical Technologist at UPMC Presbyterian mainly because I know it is a good start to continuing my education, and is a place where I can gain skills that can only be learned through experience. Experienced Surgical Technologists are in demand in today’s job market and building a relationship with UPMC would allow me to beef up my resume and make me look good to future employers.


Student:  Kourtney

Program: Massage Therapy
Externship Location: Massage Rilassare

Q: Why did you choose PCI?

A: I chose PCI because I liked how the class sizes were smaller and allowed you a more personal style of learning. Everything was hands on from day one and I think that’s really important.

Q: Why did you choose the Massage Therapy program?

A: I chose Massage Therapy because I like to help make people feel better. There is a wide variety of practices in massage therapy, ranging from sports medicine, chiropractic offices, and spas.  I like having different options so I can grow in my field.

Q: What advice would you give to current students?

A: My advice would be study hard and don’t get frustrated. It gets overwhelming sometimes having so much information thrown at you at once, but if you take it day by day, everything will fall together and you’ll be feeling confident in no time.

Q: Where are you doing your externship?

A: Massage Rilassare in Wexford, PA.

Q: What is the best part of your externship?

A: The best part is how welcoming the staff is. They go above and beyond to make me feel comfortable and to help me gain new skills.