Schooling for Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician

You can find a pharmacy on almost  every corner and they all need techs to handle inventories, assist the pharmacist, work with customers and perform special work like compounding medications for patients with very specific medication needs. Here’s a look at how to become a pharmacy tech and the schooling you will need. 

Pharmacy technicians act as the link between the pharmacist and the customer. They provide customer service and relay patient requirements to the pharmacists. Technicians also take care of inventory, compound medicines and stock machines. The specific duties of a tech vary depending on the where they are working.  A pharmacy tech might work at:

  • Chain drugstores
  • Big-box retailers
  • Mail-order pharmacies
  • Independent Drugstores
  • Wholesale druggists, such as Costco
  • Hospitals

Hospital-based pharmacy techs, for example work with IV medications and do laboratory preparation to ensure that patients get exactly what they need. The lab work can also include in-depth cleaning to ensure sterility and the safest possible pharmaceutical environment. Other techs in the hospital may be charged with maintaining the drug-dispensary machines that nurses rely on to access medications at a moment’s notice.

Retail pharmacy techs are public facing and deal directly with patients and customers  who need medications and advice to enhance their quality of life. Where a hospitalized patient might ask a drug-related question of their doctor, in a retail pharmacy the technician is likely to be asked about the administration of a specific medication,  like the correct dosages and if medication be taken with food or on an empty stomach. When questions extend the scope of knowledge of a tech, it is then relayed to on to the pharmacist for the correct answer. In the retail inventories also need to be maintained, but unlike a hospital, only the main pharmacy inventory is maintained, rather than multiple machines and the primary supply area.

A mail-order pharmacy tech is in a more office-like environment, filling prescriptions from a workstation while working amount many other techs. The day of a mail-order pharmacy tech might start with meetings with pharmacists and other techs, fand then duties could include preparing compounds, updating the patient database, filling vials of medicine and inventory work. Just because a mail-order technician is behind-the-scenes and is not public facing, does not mean that their jobs are easy.

Steps to Become a Pharmacy Tech

Becoming a pharmacy tech is a rather straightforward process:

  • Have a sincere interest in pharmaceuticals and the medicines that help health and recovery from illness, as well as biology, chemistry and math and a real desire to assist patients with meds. You must be able to communicate with people from a wide range of backgrounds
  • Find the best, accredited, program to learn pharmacy tech. You can choose between an online or campus program, although some schools both types of classroom. Make sure the program includes an externship and make sure to research student success in passing the PTCB exam for national certification.
  • Complete either the certificate program or degree.
  • Complete an externship in a real-world pharmacy.
  • Apply to a pharmacy location that best meets your interests and skills.

Types of Programs

There are a wide variety of programs available to pharmacy techs. One of the first big decisions is whether get a full degree or a certificate. Next, you need to find a program that is on a traditional campus or one you can access online.

Certificate programs are an excellent option for students who are changing careers and need to make a quick, smooth transition to a new field. They can also be a great choice for people who know that they will likely not pursue education beyond their certificate.

A certificate program takes about a year and is focused exclusively on the profession of pharmacy technician. When the academic work is complete, there is an externship portion that introduces you to the daily life of a pharmacy tech and offers a modicum of of experience that will help round out your resume.

A degree program is typically two years and results in an associate’s degree (AA) which distinguishes your credentials and gives you a foundation on which to build. Once you complete your AA you will have a transcript of accredited courses that can apply to a full, four-year degree in the future. 

What to Look for in Online Pharmacy Tech Programs

Online pharmacy tech programs are expanding to meet the growing demand for the profession. They offer students flexibility that can aid in their education to a great degree. For example, you may work as a pharmacy tech while pursuing your formal education. When researching programs, keep a few specific things in mind:

Accreditation.  Be sure your program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)

Externship. Even if you attend a virtual campus, your program can still help facilitate an externship with pharmacies in your local area. Check with your admissions counselor about how you can complete this portion of your education and what types relationships the program has with national or local pharmacy locations. 

Certification.  Research how well alumni of the program do on the PTCB test, even if you do not plan to sit for it. You want to have same level of knowledge to best serve your patients, customers, and pharmacists. The PTCB gives you a national certification that can give your resume a special distinction.

Professional Certification for Pharm Techs

When you have competed your classroom or online program, you can take your career further by becoming professionally certified. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) offers the CPhT credential to those who want to distinguish themselves in the field. 

To be certified you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a high school diploma or a GED
  • Fully disclose any criminal background to the State Board of Pharmacy 
  • Comply with all certification policies
  • Receive a passing score on the certification exam

The PTCB has a practice test section on their website, that allows you to get a feel for the difficulty of the exam. The exam itself consists of 90 multiple choice questions, 80 of which are scored and ten are unscored and spread randomly throughout the exam. You have an hour and  50 minutes to finish the exam; it covers some of the following topics:

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy law
  • Medication safety
  • Pharmacy quality assurance
  • Billing and reimbursement
  • Information systems application
  • Order entry and the fill process
  • Sterile and non-sterile compounding

Difference Between TENS and EMS

If you are one of the millions who experience the ill effects of endless muscle or nerve pain, you  may have heard about an EMS or TENS unit that could give you non-addictive, medicate relief.  You probably have some questions about what the difference is between these two devices. There are several differences between the two, so if you are considering TENS vs EMS, it is crucial to understand what each is designed to do and when you should use over the other.

Are TENS and EMS Units the Same Thing?

The simple answer is no, TENS and EMS are not the same thing. They are two different machines used for different applications. TENS units are used to relieve pain while EMS are used for muscle growth and athletic training. If you suffer from chronic nerve or muscle pain, you may have heard that a TENS or EMS unit can provide you with non-addictive, drug-free relief. While both units are powerful therapeutic solutions, only the TENS unit is used strictly for pain therapy. EMS machines are used for the rehabilitation of muscles after injury, as well as athletic training, but are not solely for pain relief. In general, EMS units are used for therapeutic muscle stimulation and growth, and TENS units are used to relieve pain symptoms. 

It is important to note that these units don’t function the same way. TENS uses electrical currents to confuse pain signals which essentially diverts pain from being “felt”. EMS sends an electrical signal to your muscles that causes a contraction for the purpose of exercising and building muscles; this is the same electric signal your brain would send to your muscles to make them contract. Knowing what makes these two therapy devices unique will help you decide if you should choose a TENS unit or an EMS unit. Alternatively, you may want a TENS EMS combination machine which can not only relieve pain but build muscles therapeutically to prevent pain in the future.

What is EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulation)

EMS or Electric Muscle Stimulation is the process of causing muscle contractions by using an external electrical charge or pulse that is created by an EMS machine or device. How does exactly does EMS work? Electrodes are placed on the skin over the muscle that you are going to exercise. An electrical charge is sent into the muscle charging the muscle’s fibers which then causes the muscle contraction. This is the same action muscles go through during exercise and motion. So, it is basically exercising your muscles as if you were sending the signal for the muscle to contract yourself. This is different from TENS, as they do not make the muscles contract.

What an EMS Unit is Used For

EMS stands for electronic muscle stimulation. These units are made to offer relief by stimulating the muscles themselves. Electric Muscle Stimulation is used in therapy to treat swelling and inflammation which puts a strain on both the muscles themselves and their supporting joints. By reducing inflammation, these units can help restore function and prevent joints from becoming dislocated by strained muscles. Physical therapists and doctors often recommend EMS units to their patients for muscular pain relief. They can reduce muscle spasms and edema, which are leading causes of muscle pain and loss of function. Also, they are often used in clinical and home settings to encourage greater healing by stimulating blood flow and improving range of motion. When used for blood flow stimulation, they are often able to ease muscle tension and to reduce stiffness in joints and muscles that can cause restrictions in motion. EMS units are particularly good at increasing blood circulation in the back and neck because these areas tend to be a source of more tension than the rest of the body. You could use an EMS unit if:

  • You suffer from muscle spasms
  • Have poor blood circulation
  • Have suffered from muscle atrophy
  • Your muscles need to be stimulated and re-educated
  • Your muscles are weak and lack tone
  • You have lost range of motion due to an injury or illness
  • You have recently had a surgery and doctors want to prevent DVT in your lower legs

What a TENS Unit Does

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. These units are designed to give pain relief by sending comforting, non-painful impulses through the skin to the nerves underneath. This electronic stimulation can reduce or eliminate the pain due to a nerve disorder or chronic health condition.

What is Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation or TENS?

Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation or TENS is a pain therapy using electrical impulses to relive pain naturally, without the use of drugs or narcotics. The electrical pulses stimulate nerve endings and the skin to create endorphins and confuse pain signals; TENS units deploy the stimulating pulses to distract your brain and help prevent pain signals from reaching your brain. These units can also stimulate your body to create its own natural painkillers known as endorphins, and these natural feel-good chemicals are key to pain relief and mood enhancement for those who suffer from painful chronic conditions. Manu TENS units offer a number of modes and programs so the therapy can be directed to an individual’s needs. It is easy to change the modes on these units for maximum pain relief. However, it is important to keep in mind that the level of pain relief will vary according to the individual and their condition. You might use a TENS unit if:

  • You have acute or chronic pain,
  • Have pain after a surgery
  • Suffer from post-operative incision pain
  • Have regular migraines or tension headaches
  • You have suffered from sports or activity injuries that cause chronic pain
  • You suffer from arthritis
  • You have tendonitis or bursitis
  • You have cancer pain
  • You suffer from pain from wound healing

Which Unit Should You Choose?

Deciding between a TENS and EMS unit can be a challenge. If you are not sure if your pain is caused mainly by muscle or nerve problems, talk with your doctor or physical therapist. They can direct you towards the best unit to help control pain. If you currently take medications for nerve pain, a TENS unit may be a better choice than an EMS unit. If you are currently taking medication to target muscle pain, stiffness, or spasms, then an EMS unit is probably a better choice than a TENS unit. These types of units are also a good choice if a masseuse, physical therapist, or chiropractor has noted that your pain may be caused by muscle tension. In some cases, if you suffer from chronic pain that involves both the nerves and the muscles you can find relief from combination units that offer both TENS and EMS capabilities. These lightweight combo units are designed to offer the best in therapeutic solutions for those who suffer from ongoing pain or chronic health conditions. 

Hop Profile [El Dorado]

There are all kinds of things that may spring to mind when you hear El Dorado.  In another time was a golden king, a jeweled city paved with gold, then a whole empire, rich beyond description. Many searched for it and Edger Alan Poe even penned a poem about a knight in search of the golden one. However, all of that hunting never resulted in the myth of El Dorado into a reality. However, today, we’ve got our own El Dorado in the form of a plant – hops.

A bit like the El Dorado of myth, there are some mysteries around the El Dorado hop.

CLS Farms in the Moxee Valley, Washington is where El Dorado was created. There are a few sources that say it was developed in 2008 and then released in 2010. The question is did it really only take two years to develop? Such a feat would be truly legendary by hop breeding standards, where it typically takes ten to fourteen years for a new hop to be ready for commercial use. So, what’s the real answer? For that, we will just have to wait for additional breeding information from CLS Farms to know any of the specifics.

So, does this hop bare any resemblance to the myth it is name after? There are a few similarities:  it is mysterious and for a lot of brewers, it is a king among hops. But, what about the gold? You just have to look inside. Just like the streets of the fabled city ran with the yellow stuff, lupulin within the cone shines a deep golden.

Brew With El Dorado Hops

Unfortunately for the home brewer and local gardener, the El Dorado hop variety is owned by CLS Farms and rhizomes are currently not available.  

If you plan to grow hops in your backyard, it is helpful to talk to other hop farmers in your area or visit the staff at your local home brewing supply store. They will be able guide you as to which varieties grow well in your area. Unfortunately,  it currently won’t be El Dorado. 

The Acid Composition Breakdown

  • Alpha Acid: 13 – 17%
  • Beta Acid: 7 – 8%
  • Co-Humulone: 28 – 33%

Oil Composition Breakdown

  • Total Oils: 2.5 – 3.3 mL/100g
  • Myrcene Oil: 55 – 60% (of total)
  • Humulene Oil:  10 – 15% (of total)
  • Caryophyllene Oil: 6 – 8% (of total)
  • Franesene Oil: 0.1% (of total)
  • B-Pinene Oil: 0.56% (of total)
  • Linalool Oil: 0.70% (of total)
  • Geraniol Oil: 0.02% (of total)

General Characteristics:

  • Origin — CBS Farms (Moxee Valley, Washington)
  • Growth Rate — Vigorous
  • Yield — 2300 – 2500 lbs/acre
  • Maturity — Early to Mid Season
  • Storage — Good; Retains 60% to 70% alpha acid after 6 months storage at 68°F

Aroma & Sensory Description:

El Dorado has bold, intense aromas of stone fruit, especially cherry and apricot. Other fruit aromas include pear, a zest of citrus, and watermelon. On the nose, it imbues aromas that are almost reminiscent of candy, like Lifesavers or Starburst.  

Spicy notes are subdued, playing second fiddle to the fruit, but may have a background note of grass, wood, and mint.


It’s very likely your local homebrew supply carries the El Dorado variety. However, it’s always a good idea to give them a call first to check if they have stock. If they do not have it in, you can typically put in a request, but there is no need to worry about not being able to get your hands on it.

Because of El Dorado’s extreme popularity, it is readily available through many brewing retailers online. You will have the ability to buy the hop in many forms, including pellets, whole cones and hop hash. A few online retailers even offer El Dorado as steam distilled extract.


El Dorado is a dual-purpose hop., meaning it can be used for flavor/aroma, bittering, and dry-hopping.

When bittering with El Dorado you should anticipate a firm, yet subtly balancing bitterness. It will not overwhelm, and it has been described as a rind-like drying bitterness. With its subtle bitterness, it seems particularly well-suited for use in Lagers, Blondes, even cream ales; however, its alpha-acid is considerable enough to play a single-hopped tune in something like American IPA that is geared more toward flavors than bracing bitterness.

Used later in the boil, where less of its high Mercyene and Cohumuline content gets boiled away, it produces fruity flavors and aromas that run the spectrum of apricot, peach, and cherry; along with a pithy hit of citrus and some grassy undertones. This is a good hop to pair with other fruit-centric hops or leave to do the lion share of the flavor and aroma work, and pair it with a hop that has a much bolder bitterness.

Dry-hopping with El Dorado will no doubt give you an increase in fruity aromas turning them candied and intense. You can substitute with/for Galena and Simcoe hops. 

Using El Dorado Hops for different beer styles:

  • Blondes
  • Lagers
  • American Pales, IPA / DIPA
  • Cream Ale & California Common
  • Red & Amber Ales
  • American Wheat
  • American Wild Ales

Sponsor: Michigan Hop Alliance is an excellent resource for bulk hops.

Michigan Hop Alliance 5790 North , E Omena Rd, Northport, MI 49670

Ecommerce Platform Best for Small Business

What are the Benefits of Ecommerce for Small Business?

Electronic Commerce, also known as eCommerce, is the buying and selling of products or services online. In just the last decade we’ve witnessed an explosion of eCommerce websites with many small businesses creating and developing their online stores. This massive integration of web commerce as a key part of operations has made many experts proclaim it as the leading force in the modern world of technology and it is revolutionizing the way businesses are functioning.

These days there are so many options for selling online. There are longtime sites like Ebay and more recent marketplaces like Amazon or Facebook. There are also a number of eCommerce platforms that enhance those experiences for the sellers and even allow for the building of full-blown online stores that are as simple to build and launch as a blog.

Especially in light of Covid-19 and new social distancing measures, ecommerce empowers consumers to buy products or services from the comfort of their home at any time of day or night. In a flash, online has become the most preferred medium of shopping because it is quick, easy and user-friendly.

Here are some things to consider when reviewing eCommerce platforms and choosing the best one for your small business.

eCommerce Features

Cost: eCommerce platform costs can range from free to thousands of dollars depending on the size of your business. Many sites will let you try them out for free without using a credit card. Be sure to carefully shop the features to make sure you get what you actually need when you eventually pay it. Be sure to consider all costs like hosting, extensions and other add-ons.

SEO/URL Structure: This is very important because people can’t shop your online store if they can’t find it. Having the ability to customize your URL with your business name and your products will help boost your search engine optimization which in turn makes your store easier to find. Some platforms offer enhanced SEO tools in their plans.

Scalability: Not every online store starts out small and remains small. It is important that your eCommerce platform has the ability to grow with your online clients. Also, some online stores need more than just the very basic eCommerce solution. Find a platform that won’t keep you boxed in or force you into a plan that does not fit your current and future business plans.

Mobile friendliness: More than 125 million U.S. consumers own smartphones and more than 60 percent of smartphone users have bought something using their phones. It is vital that any online store has a responsive design because the majority of sales will come through that mobile device, and your site must fit a variety of screen sizes.

Speed: If you sell physical products, your online store must feature plenty of pictures and possibly videos. You don’t want to lose customers because they have to wait for those images or videos to load. Slow-loading product pages will cost you sales.

UX: There are two users to consider for your store: one is the shop owner and the other is your customer. Most platforms make it easy for beginners to build stores with little to no programming experience, which is great for store owners just getting started online. Once the store is live it should be easy to navigate for customers and include features to help filter and search for products.

Software integration: Some platforms are incredibly simple, allowing you to place “buy buttons” on your social media channels like Pinterest, or they may have plugins that work with your existing WordPress site. The ability to add on tools and apps, some free, some paid, is appealing for store-builders who may not be coders.

eCommerce benefits to Small Business

Low Operational Costs

Among all the eCommerce benefits to small business, the cost savings is one is the most crucial. Running an online store involves far less money compared to running a brick and mortar shop. Online stores do not come with location and other overhead costs and they require very little capital outlay.

eCommerce also automates your entire operational process. So overall, opening up an online store is significantly more e economical and reasonable for small and medium-sized business owners who grapple to operate and grow with limited finances.

Increased Revenue

This comes in a close second in the list of all eCommerce advantages. Physical stores, no matter how popular, are limited by geography, but with an online store the whole world becomes your location. Small business owners do not have to rely on foot traffic and can sell their products and services across the world. And, unlike brick and mortar stores, e-stores are open 24/7, year-round and this around-the-clock availability dramatically increases sales.

Greater Customer Acquisition

Traditionally retail relied on branding and long-term customer relationships. However, things have drastically changed with online retail and search engines drive massive amounts of traffic to e-stores that then result in a far greater number of customer acquisitions.

Not only does this add more sales, but this process helps in boosting brand awareness. Consistent SEO efforts ensure recurring traffic that can be easily converted into a steady flow of new sales.

Social Recommendation

Impressed with the quality of products and services along with the overall shopping experience, many consumers post their positive feedback on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more. Tremendous word of mouth recommendation over social media lets customers to choose small business online stores over their big-brand competitors.

 Online Presence

Today your customers prefer eCommerce solutions and expect businesses to be available online. Small businesses who have created a dedicated online storefront stay strongly in the competition for purchasing dollars and prevent their audience from heading towards the competitors to make online purchase.

Larger Marketing ROI

Just like sales, the marketing activities of physical stores are limited by geography. However, with an online store, the whole world can now be your target audience. Small business owners do not have to solely depend on local customers to see their marketing messages and then come into the store. They can advertise their product and service offerings worldwide and bring in both domestic and international customers alike.

A solid ecommerce store is a necessity for today’s small businesses. It levels the playing field for SMBs and allows them to punch far above their weight in attracting customers beyond their local geographic boundaries

Cashmere Panchos and Wraps

If you you’re looking for a great place to buy 100% cashmere ponchos and wraps Paula and Chlo is the place to go online. I’ve seen them mentioned on The Today Show for various items.  I like their accessories, but it’s their cashmere that makes it the place to go.

Looking for colors? They have sixty colors in stock and ship the same day. Claudia Nichole is their best brand, but they also carry other designers such as Caroline Grace. ponchos wraps cashmere

Cashmere is so comfortable. It’s a type of wool that is soft and unlike other types of fabric, it doesn’t wrinkle. That means it’s always ready to ware for a little more comfort during chilly mornings and evenings.

I recommend purchasing one black and then two or three of your favorite colors.

A Smart Foodie

A foodie is known for seeking out new food experiences as pleasure rather than merely dining out based on convenience or hunger. Their goal is to immerse totally into the experience as a journey. Here are several suggestions to change from a mere diner out and grow into a Smart Foodie.

One key to dining out successfully is to always check a restaurant menu in advance. A smart foodie wants to know upon entering a restaurant for the first time what the house specialties are and what piques their curiosity. Looking at a restaurant’s web own site or at Yelp!, Zagat, or Urban Spoon can set an expectation and plant the seed for entrées which will stretch the palate.

Upon reading the menu, Smart Foodies look beyond the entrees meat, sauce, starch and sides with a deeper description for the spices. The recent popularity of cilantro shows how a spice adds boldness or nuisance to a dish. Just a dash of cilantro will give beef, seafood and poultry a real boost, as if it was straight from the Caribbean, Latin America, or the Far East.

Smart foodies with special dietary requirements always do pre-meal planning. Since checking a label for ingredients is nearly impossible when out, smart foodies come into the restaurant knowing what is in and out of bounds for their diet. To counter acidic tastes, High Fructose Corn Syrup is added to many tomato based favorites including pizza sauce, salsa, red pasta sauces or even tomato soup. For someone with diabetes, hidden HFCS will cause quite serious blood sugar spikes and should be avoided.  

Smart foodies practice portion control. Many restaurants serve diners enormous quantities of food, far beyond what someone would eat at home. When ordering an entrée, Smart Foodies request the server bring a take-out container along with the meal. Once served, they divide the entrée in half, place one portion directly into the to-go box, close the lid and push it to the far end of the table.  They then finish only what’s on their plate. As their appestat kicks in, a smart foodie feels satisfied, not overstuffed.

Smart foodies use shrewd strategies to take their taste buds on a journey to where it never has gone before. Upon the meal’s conclusion, they leave the table with both a filling meal and an interesting story that they will almost always share.