Dental Assistant Career Guide – Traits, Training, Jobs

Oct 23 2019

Dental Assistant Career Guide – Traits, Training, Jobs

If you have a passion for healthcare you may have considered working as a Dental Assistant. It is projected that Dental Assisting jobs will continue to increase 11% from 2018 to 2028. If you’re interested in an expanding field working in a dental office but don’t want to attend dental school, a future as a Dental Assistant might be the right path. Learn more about what a Dental Assistant does and if it’s the right fit for you!

The Ideal Personality Traits of a Dental Assistant

We think that finding the right career is about more than just getting certified and taking the right classes, it’s about finding a path that matches your personality. You may have an interest in the dental field, but it’s important to see if your personality lines up with what could make a successful Dental Assistant. This may be the right career path for you if you are:

  • A good communicator and listener
  • Organized
  • Detail oriented
  • Love helping others
  • Determined
  • Adaptable

The day to day of a Dental Assistant can be very different depending on the office you work in and the patients who come in on a given day. Those who choose this career path are often able to adapt to the different challenges that they are presented with on a daily basis.

Dental Assistant cleaning a man's teeth

A Dental Assistant has many responsibilities from scheduling patients’ next appointments to assisting dentists during procedures and everything in between. Because of this, it is important for them to be detail-oriented and organized in all these situations.

If you identify with these qualities, a future as a Dental Assistant might be right for you.

Career Opportunities for a Dental Assistant

Getting an education as a Dental Assistant can open many doors. Those who choose this educational path can work as Dental Assistants, hygienists, or technicians. It is common for assistants and hygienists to work in dental offices while technicians work in labs.

Woman looking at an xray of teeth

Pursuing an education as a Dental Assistant can also open doors for specialized jobs. Some areas Dental Assistants can specialize in are:

  • Oral surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Pediatric dentistry

There can be many possibilities when you pursue a future in Dental Assisting. As job opportunities increase, you can find a career that matches your interest!

Average Salary for a Dental Assistant*

While a fulfilling job is essential, it is also important that the profession you choose is one that can support your lifestyle. According to Glassdoor, the average Dental Assistant makes around $36k per year with the high end reaching up to $48k a year. This amount varied based on years of experience and specialized training.

*PCI cannot guarantee job placement or salary for graduates. This information is provided for reference purposes only.

How Long It Takes to Become a Dental Assistant

The requirements along the path to becoming a Dental Assistant will vary depending on what state you live in. In Pennsylvania you will need to complete your education, which can be completed in as little as 10 months, complete an externship, which can be done during the 10 months of your education, and take the certified Dental Assistant exam.

Boy getting his teeth cleaned by dentist and Dental Assistant

If you are interested in becoming a Dental Assistant, you can learn more about each step of the process at Pittsburgh Career Institute.

Start Your Journey Today

If you’re ready to start your journey to become a Dental Assistant, contact us at Pittsburgh Career Institute! We can help guide you to determine if this is the best career path for you!

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Veterinary Technician Career Guide – Traits, Training, Jobs

Aug 16 2019

Cat sniffing a stethoscope
Do you love animals? Would you enjoy working with them on a daily basis? If so, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together everything you need to know about the traits that make a good veterinary technician, the career opportunities, average salary, and how long it takes to become a veterinary technician. Read on to learn more!

The Ideal Personality Traits of a Veterinary Technician

If you already know what a Veterinary Technician is and you’re considering becoming one, you’re probably wondering if it is a good fit for you or not. Many people assume that being a veterinary technician is only for those who love animals and have lots of experience caring for animals. While it’s true that most veterinary technicians do love animals, the best veterinary technicians have more than just a love for animals. They are also:

  • Patient
  • Team-oriented
  • Adaptive
  • Good at communicating

No two days are ever the same for a veterinary technician. They often work with a variety of different types of animals. Even if you work exclusively with dogs, no two dogs are exactly the same! Being patient and adaptive through the constant change is a must.

Caring for animals is also a team effort. Sometimes caring for an animal means doing tasks that might not be very glamorous but are still essential, which is why veterinary technicians need to be team players.

Veterinary technicians work with each other and veterinarians, of course, but they also often work with owners to ensure that pets receive the care they need. Effective communication is crucial in this process. This is especially true when a pet is injured or unwell and emotions run high. While being a veterinary technician can be challenging, if you have these traits, it could be a very fulfilling career for you.

Career Opportunities for a Veterinary Technician

Veterinary Technicians do more than just help take care of cats and dogs in a veterinarian’s office. That’s one of the things that can make it such an interesting field to be in! As a certified veterinary technician, you could assist a veterinarian at:

  • Veterinary offices
  • Animal shelters
  • Equine facilities
  • Farms
  • Zoos
  • Animal hospitals
  • Aviaries

Vet Tech feeding cows at a farm
These are some of the most common careers for a veterinary technician today, but the possibilities are growing with each passing year. As veterinary science expands and new species are discovered, new specializations are always evolving. This means that career possibilities in Veterinary Technology are always expanding.

Average Salary for a Veterinary Technician*

No one likes to start a job without knowing how much money they’ll make, so let’s talk money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinary technicians in 2018 made an average of $34,420. As an industry, it’s also experiencing much faster growth than the national average. Jobs are expected to grow nationally by about 7% from 2016-2026, but predictions show veterinary technician jobs will grow by roughly 20% over the same period.
*PCI cannot guarantee job placement or salary for graduates. This information is provided for reference purposes only.

How Long it Takes to Become a Veterinary Technician

The specific requirements to become a veterinary technician vary slightly from one state to the next. Typically, some sort of license or certification is required. In Pennsylvania, you need to be certified, which requires completing a Veterinary Technology program and passing a certification exam.
Woman checking heart rate of a beagle
Our Veterinary Technology program is an Associate of Specialized Technology program that could be completed in as little as 18 months. You can then take the American Association of Veterinary State Boards’ Veterinary Technician National Exam, which is currently offered three times per year and has limited seating. After passing the exam and receiving your results, you will need to submit an application for certification through the online Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS).

Depending on when the next VTNE opening is after your program graduation, you could be certified in as little as three years after the start of your veterinary technology program.

Start Your Journey Today

Are you ready to get started? Contact us today to request more information about our Veterinary Technology program.

Medical Assistant Career Guide – Traits, Training, Jobs

Aug 09 2019

Young Medical Assistant holding a stethoscope
If you’re looking into careers in allied health, odds are medical assisting has come up more than once. If you think it sounds interesting, here are the questions you need to ask before you decide that becoming a Medical Assistant is the right decision for you.

The Ideal Personality Traits of a Medical Assistant

No matter what the job is, it’s important that you find the right person to do it. You wouldn’t want a pianist fixing your car and you don’t want a plumber performing open-heart surgery. It’s just as important to make sure that a career is a good fit for you. You might be well-suited to being a Medical Assistant if you are:

  • Organized
  • Empathetic
  • Adaptable
  • Good at communicating
  • Cool under pressure

Medical Assistants are some of the ultimate generalists, so they need to be highly organized and adaptable. On any given day, you could be doing everything from educating a patient to taking vital signs to preparing lab specimens. Because so much of what medical assistants do involves working with patients, empathy and strong communication skills are crucial. Since emergencies can happen in any medical setting, medical assistants also need to be very cool under pressure.
Female Medical Assistant taking vitals signs from elderly patient

Career Opportunities for a Medical Assistant

One great thing about being a medical assistant is that you can work in so many different settings. While some careers are stuck working in one or two places, medical assistants have the opportunity to work in:

  • Doctor’s offices
  • Hospitals
  • Labs
  • Clinics
  • Retirement homes and communities
  • Nursing homes
  • Urgent care facilities
  • Many more

With so many options, you have the chance to find the setting that works best for you. Are you passionate about childcare? You could work in a pediatrics office. Do you appreciate the perspective that working with the elderly brings? Nursing homes and retirement communities are excellent choices. The good news is that you can always switch to a new setting if you find you want to work with a different group.

Average Salary for a Medical Assistant*

Earning potential is an important consideration for any career. In 2018, Medical Assistants made an average of $33,610 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10% made over $47,000!
*PCI cannot guarantee job placement or salary for graduates. This information is provided for reference purposes only.

Another key career consideration is job security. From 2016-2026, the job market for Medical Assistants is projected to grow by 29%, which is over four times faster than the national average. This means medical assistants generally have much higher job security than the average person.
Medical assistant stands next to elderly patient

How Long it Takes to Become a Medical Assistant

There are a few different routes you can take to become a medical assistant, but typically there are three base requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete a Medical Assistant program
  • Pass a Medical Assistant licensing or certification exam

You need to have a high school diploma or GED because all reputable medical assistant schools require it prior to allowing you to enroll in the program. Medical Assistants fulfill many different responsibilities and the high school diploma or GED show that you are prepared to learn the additional specialized skills you’ll need.

Applying to a medical assistant program is an important part of this process. To know that you’ve found the right program for you, make sure that it is accredited, provides hands-on training, and provides the support you’ll need. Program lengths can vary from as little as 10 months to over two years. Our Medical Assistant Diploma program is designed to be completed in as little as 10 months.

After you’ve completed your program, you can sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) Exam. This comprehensive exam currently consists of over 200 multiple choice questions that are intended to gauge if you are ready to work as a medical assistant. This may seem daunting, but keep in mind that the broad career opportunities available to medical assistants require a broad range of skills and knowledge. These exams are offered on an ongoing basis, so you could take the exam in as little as two weeks from when you submit your application. Once you pass the exam, you’ll be able to apply for Medical Assistant positions in whichever field you find most appealing.

Start Your Journey Today

If you’ve decided that a future in Medical Assisting is right for you, the best way to get started is to talk to an admissions specialist. Our knowledgeable and friendly admissions team is ready to answer your questions and help you get on the right track. If you know you’re ready, feel free to apply today or give us a call with any questions.

Respiratory Therapy Career Guide – Traits, Training, Jobs

Jul 31 2019

Image of a medical model of a pair of lungs
Interest in medical careers has always been high, but the industry is still growing rapidly. While nurses and doctors are usually the first careers people think of, they are far from the only ways to work in the healthcare industry. If you want to work in the healthcare industry, but don’t want to go through 10+ years of schooling and residency, Respiratory Therapy may be an excellent choice for you.

The Ideal Personality Traits of a Respiratory Therapist

No job is perfect for everyone. We all have different interests and backgrounds. How do you know if you are well-suited to working as a Respiratory Therapist? Here are the traits that we’ve found make the biggest difference for Respiratory Therapists:

  • Compassion
  • Adaptability
  • Determination
  • Patience
  • Dedication

Like most jobs in the healthcare industry, Respiratory Therapists regularly interact with patients. Compassionate care can make all the difference for patients, especially those who may be dealing with chronic issues. Being adaptable and open to new ideas is key because Respiratory Therapists will always be learning new things. From the first day of their Respiratory Therapy program until the day they retire, advances in the industry will make it so Respiratory Therapists need to continuously study.

Patience is another very important trait. Being able to handle the daily stresses of working in a medical field will make a big difference. This is also why determination and dedication are so important. Becoming a Respiratory Therapist takes time. The need to continuously learn and grow throughout your career is another reason determination and dedication make such a big difference.

If you have these traits and an overall desire to help others, you could find Respiratory Therapy to be a fulfilling career.

Career Opportunities for a Respiratory Therapist

A doctor sits with a happy child
One benefit to working as a Respiratory Therapist is the ability to work in a variety of different settings. The most common places for a Respiratory Therapist to work include:

  • Hospitals
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation Centers
  • Long-term Care Facilities
  • Acute Care Facilities
  • Sleep Disorder Centers
  • Infant & Pediatric Facilities

</ br>As a Respiratory Therapist, you’ll have the chance to find a workplace that fits your style. For example, many respiratory therapists enjoy working with infants and children. If you like to get out of the office, you could work as part of a transport team.

These are just some of the options available to entry-level Respiratory Therapists. You would also have the opportunity to specialize, which often opens up even more places to work. The field is continually developing, so who knows what new opportunities could arise?

Average Salary for a Respiratory Therapist*

We all want a job that is fulfilling and enjoyable, but we also need to pay the bills. Relative to the investment in time and education, Respiratory Therapists have high earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 the average salary was $60,280. The bottom 10% made over $43,000 and the top 10% made over $83,000! Generally the more education you have and the more you specialize, the higher your earning potential becomes.
*PCI cannot guarantee job placement or salary for graduates. This information is provided for reference purposes only.

Respiratory Therapists also enjoy a high degree of job security. The industry is growing at a rate over three times higher than the national average, with an estimated 30,000 jobs to be added from 2016-2026. U.S. News & World Report estimates that the unemployment rate for Respiratory Therapists is just 0.3% and lists it among the 20 Best Health Care Jobs.
Woman using a lung strengthening device

How Long it Takes to Become a Respiratory Therapist

How quickly you can become a Certified Respiratory Therapist depends largely on how long it takes you to complete the three main requirements:

  1. Complete a Respiratory Therapy A.S.T or B.S. Program
  2. Pass the Therapist Multiple-Choice (TMC) Examination
  3. Submit an application through the online Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS)

</ br>An accredited Respiratory Therapy A.S.T. program has at least 68 credit hours of coursework and externships. Our Respiratory Therapy program can be completed in as little as 22 months. The TMC Examination is offered on an ongoing basis at more than 300 locations across the country. After passing, you can apply to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist. While no official estimate is given for how long it takes for an application to be processed, you could be a practicing Respiratory Therapist within two and a half years from the start of your program.

Start Your Journey Today

If you’re asking yourself how to get started, you’re in luck! Getting started is pretty simple. The first step we recommend is to speak with an admissions specialist for a Respiratory Therapy program. If you already know you’re ready, you can also apply! Our graduate, Lindsey Junstrom, is glad she did!