Meet the Staff: Sherri Steele, Medical Assistant Diploma Program Director
About Sherri Steele
Ms. Steele wasn’t always in the medical field like she is today. She initially attended school for accounting and quickly discovered that it wasn’t a job that would allow her to be social! She found a job working as a purchasing manager that she mostly enjoyed, but when she started a family of her own, things changed and she could no longer travel long distances or work long hours like she used to. She saw a commercial for medical assisting and decided to look into it for herself.
For Sherri, the rest is history! She fell in love with medical assisting right away and has made a long and impressive career out of it. She worked as a medical assistant for several years after graduating from her program. The former dean at the school Sherri attended told her that she would make for an excellent teacher, so she began teaching! Sherri taught for nearly a decade at the school that would later become Pittsburgh Career Institute as the director of the school. When that school closed down, she went into urology and worked there for about five years until PCI reached out to her to welcome her back. She started with us in October of 2017 as our Program Director of Medical Assisting and Medical Billing and Coding. We’re glad to have a member of the PCI family back!
PCI’s New Medical Assistant Diploma Program
With our new Medical Assistant diploma program on the horizon, Sherri has played an instrumental role in ensuring that this program strives to be an excellent curriculum that prepares students to be clinically trained. This new program is exciting because it removes all of the nonessential requirements that might come with a full-length medical assistant degree program. There are no general education classes to bog students down; we teach only medical assisting instruction and help students prepare for the job market right after graduation!
PCI’s Medical Assisting program was once an Associate’s Degree program, but after meeting with medical assistant employers, they made it clear that a degree doesn’t matter as much to them as the students having the hands-on skills required to do the job. Our students are now trained with an emphasis on job skills that can help them be prepared to work as successful entry-level medical assistants right after graduation!
When asked about the quality of education and how it prepares students for professional careers, Sherri explained:
”Students are clinically trained here and I would match them against students from any other program. When students get hired, their employers call to tell us that our students are clinically trained and ready to go. We teach our students with a real-world perspective, giving them a chance to practice real-world skills. We don’t just drop them to figure it out on their own. Many students come back to PCI to learn more because once they get into it they are really excited.”
Sherri is so passionate about her students that she goes above and beyond to ensure that they are prepared to meet the demands of the field. For example, students at other schools might use oranges or other analogues to practice drawing blood and handling needles, but at PCI our students eventually learn to practice on one another. It’s real-world experience that helps our students make a natural transition from being a student to a professional! Sherri is so driven to help her students succeed that when one student was struggling with drawing blood, she invited to student into her office to practice on her! Sherri is humble and passionate enough to help her students in any way that they need, and it shows!
Why Sherri Chose to Teach at PCI
When Sherri came back to PCI to interview for the Program Director position, she was met by many old friends and colleagues from when she was teaching at the former school before it closed. For her it felt like she was coming home, as if everyone was saying “Finally, we have Sherri back!” The family feeling and culture at PCI is what makes it stand apart, and it’s why Sherri wants to work with us until her retirement – and we’re thrilled to have her with us!
Advice for New Students
If you’re still trying to decide if medical assisting is the right career for you, Sherri encourages you to visit the school! Medical assisting is perfect for certain kinds of people, and visiting the school can help you make the choice. She says:
”I need to be a people person. Allied health is all about other people. Some are sick or hurting, and there’s a lot going on. We can give you students to talk to, people from outside the school, experts, or anyone else who can help you make your decision. The job market for medical assistants is awesome. I’ve never seen it where MAs are not needed, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. This industry has grown tremendously!”
Visit Pittsburgh Career Institute
Making the jump into a medical career isn’t always an easy one, but the faculty and staff at Pittsburgh Career Institute are here to help you every step of the way! If you visit the school and decide that medical assisting isn’t the ideal choice for you, we have many other programs that you can investigate to find the perfect match for what you’re looking for. Contact us today for more information on our Medical Assistant diploma program or to schedule your tour!