Pharmacy Technician Schooling and Training Options

The work completed by a pharmacist is coupled with the needed assistance of a technician. Several schooling options exist for students interested in working inside the pharmacy industry. Students will gain a valuable skill set through one of the available educational programs. Pharmacy technician schooling and training options are available at the certificate and associate’s degree levels.

Pharmacy technician’s assist pharmacists by administering medication, providing customer service, and conducting clerical work. This general breakdown of job tasks is learned through specific medical study that prepares students to fulfill their roles inside a pharmacy, hospital, nursing home, and more. Students can expect to learn how to assist in the workplace by completing duties that may include:

  • Preparing a prescription by counting, weighing, and sometimes mixing the needed medication.
  • Maintaining patient files and preparing different medical insurance paperwork
  • Clerical work: includes answering phones, operating industry technologies, and receiving prescription requests

Depending on the level of education and experience students may find themselves performing more or less duties. Schools provide students with the required knowledge to accurately assist in the workplace making education at the certificate program or associate’s degree level very beneficial. The main difference between programs is the length. Certificate programs last approximately two to six months and an associate’s degree is usually a two-year program. Each educational path prepares students to become technicians. Associate degree programs incorporate general education courses, which make program lengths longer than a certificate program.

In certificate programs students learn the skills to fill medications, process insurance claims, and understand pharmacy procedures. Education covers all industry related areas and teaches students how to perform job related activities under the federal and state regulation laws for pharmacies. Curriculum covers subjects that include:

  • Microbiology
  • Pharmacy Laws
  • Metric measurements

Upon completion of a program students are ready to take a certification exam. Students can complete the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians exam. Becoming certified is optional, however, many employers choose to hire individuals that are certified. Certification shows employers that the people they hire understand every area of the field.

An associate’s degree is lab and hands-on intensive, which is extremely useful when transitioning into a career. Students should expect to earn strong fundamental knowledge of medical coding, terminology, pharmacology, and medical procedure. Coursework could include:

  • Drug Interactions
  • Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Products

Curriculum centers on providing students with the skills to mix and fill prescriptions. Students will understand how to assist a pharmacist with medications and provide medical information to patients in regards to their prescription. Students enter the profession knowing how to work with pharmacy technology and medication interactions. Further study is obtainable inside a bachelor’s degree program. Students that continue education though graduate schools and colleges study to become pharmacists.

Learn the ins and outs of being a technician by working through a program inside an accredited school. Students can find the program for them at the certificate or associate’s degree level by examining the different pharmacy technician schools that provide programs for this career. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education ( ) provides accreditation to schools and colleges that offer the best training programs.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at

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Why Support and Training Are Vitally Important in Any Successful Home Based Business

How many times have you heard the words

“Go to school, get a good education and then a good job and you’ll be set for life”?

For some of us, all too many times I think. If you subscribe to the philosophy of some of the most famous entrepreneurs such as Robert Kiyosaki, then you will know that the key to being financially free is just the opposite. It is not being an employee; rather it is being an investor and business owner.

When you become an investor and business owner you are in control of your own financial destiny and you no longer have to trade time for money. However, not everyone has the skills to be a successful business owner and consequently make enough cash to invest. That is why, if you are taking on a home based business you would be wise to look for one that will help you grow and develop the skills necessary to make the business thrive.

And what are those skills? Well, the most important ones are the skill of communicating with people and the skill of selling. Whether you are in a business that stocks products or services, you will inevitably be dealing with people and encouraging them to buy what you offer.

It is widely believed that the network marketing industry teaches these skills well. So always look for a home based business that has support and training built in. It will be much better than one where you have to learn on your own by trial and error.

However the best kind of support and training is the interactive kind. By this I mean the kind that responds to your needs, not just a series of ideas or articles that may or may not help you.

Also it is vitally important that the top income earners in the business are involved in the training so that you can benefit from their experiences.

Having different networking groups for both new members and more experienced members is also a bonus. That way you can learn from one another and not get caught up in handling issues and problems that don’t really relate to you.

So if you are considering a home based business, check out the support and training offered so that you can become successful and financially free. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Preparing Society For the Cognitive Age With New Brain Research, Education and Tools

Groundbreaking cognitive neuroscience research has occurred over the last 20 years – without parallel growth of consumer awareness and appropriate professional dissemination. “Cognition” remains an elusive concept with unclear implications outside the research community.

Earlier this year, I presented a talk to health care professionals at the New York Academy of Medicine, titled “Brain Fitness Software: Helping Consumers Separate Hope from Hype”. I explained what computerized cognitive assessment and training tools can do (assess/enhance specific cognitive functions), what they cannot do (reduce one’s “brain age”) and the current uncertainties about what they can do (i.e., delay Alzheimer’s symptoms). At the same symposium, Dr. Gary Kennedy, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center, provided guidance on why and how to screen for executive function deficits in the context of dementia.

I could perceive two emerging trends at the event: 1) “Augmenting Cognition” research is most commonly framed as a healthcare, often pharmacological topic, with the traditional cognitive bias in medicine of focusing on detection and treatment of disease, 2) In addition, there is a growing interest in non-invasive enhancement options and overall lifestyle issues. Research findings in Augmenting Cognition are only just beginning to reach the mainstream marketplace, mostly through healthcare channels. The opportunity is immense, but we will need to ensure the marketplace matures in a rational and sustainable manner, both through healthcare and non-healthcare channels.

In January 2009, we polled the 21,000 subscribers of SharpBrains’ market research eNewsletter to identify attitudes and behaviors towards the “brain fitness” field (a term we chose in 2006 based on a number of consumer surveys and focus groups to connect with a wider audience). Over 2,000 decision-makers and early adopters responded to the survey.

One of the key questions we asked was, “What is the most important problem you see in the brain fitness field and how do you think it can be solved?”. Some examples of the survey free text answers are quoted here, together with my suggestions.

Most important problems in the brain fitness field

- Public awareness (39%): “To get people to understand that heredity alone does not decide brain functioning”. We need to ramp up efforts to build public awareness and enthusiasm about brain research, including establishing clear links to daily living. We can collaborate with initiatives such as the Dana Foundation’s Brain Awareness Week and use the recent “Neuroscience Core Concepts” materials developed by the Society for Neuroscience to give talks at schools, libraries and workplaces.

- Claims (21%): “The lack of standards and clear definitions is very confusing, and makes a lot of people sceptical”. We need an easy-to understand taxonomy to help consumers and professionals evaluate claims focusing on cognitive functions, not on mental health diagnoses. The classifications should be grounded on a standardized research taxonomy. However, over time we may have to develop a “labeling system” based on the targeted cognitive domain and level of validation. Press releases often only add more confusion. We should blog study results in depth, become trusted resources to trusted reporters and differentiate new findings from previous ones.

- Research (15%): “Determining what activities are most beneficial to the user with the minimum level of effort or most overlap of already existing effort”. A high priority would be to ensure widely-accepted output standards (either commercial or following consensus processes such as the schizophrenia MATRICS Cognitive Battery) with a transparent architecture of outcomes and relationships covering the impact (brain-based, cognitive, behavioral performance) by age groups and by healthy vs. specific disorders.

- Culture (14%): “Integration within existing healthcare infrastructure will require research, education and cultural change. If brain fitness remains a niche alternative approach for the well-healed, we will have failed”. We need to improve the partnership with clinicians and their professional associations.

- Assessment (6%): “Development of standardized and easily accessible assessments of cognitive status that could be used by individuals and organizations to test the efficacy of cognitive improvement methods”. Perhaps the single most effective way to bring cognitive research into the mainstream conversation would be if people took an “annual brain check-up” serving as a cognitive baseline (as objective, functional information to track changes and to inform about interventions and diagnoses). Computerized assessments are already being used in a variety of contexts, from sports neuropsychology to military Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) detection. A recent report by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America advocating for widespread cognitive screenings after the age of 75 or even 65 may open up a very interesting public policy debate.

- Exposure (5%): “Get information and products out to all the people, perhaps a drive to get them into public libraries”. We have a major opportunity now to help prepare society to thrive in this cognitive age. We need to improve research and focus on public awareness and standards for this opportunity to come to fruition.

Dr. Bill Reichman, CEO of Baycrest, puts it this way, “We have an opportunity to make major progress in Brain Health in the 21st century, similar to what happened with Cardiovascular Health in the 20th, and technology will play a crucial role”. For that prediction to come true, research on augmenting cognition will need to become mainstream. Neuroscientist Torkel Klingberg is optimistic, “In the future we may be as aware of cognitive function as we now are obsessed with calories, diets, glycemic index and cardiovascular training”.

The process in under way.

Copyright (c) 2009 SharpBrains