a few tips on how to start a career as a pharmacy technician

Pharmacy Technician is a solid career choice. Health-care jobs are predicted to steadily grow over the next decade. In fact, labor and industry forecasters all seem to agree that most health-care job numbers will keep increasing over the next decade. The aging baby-boom population reaching their golden years is a major indicator of health-care’s upcoming growth. And, pharmacy is tied into health-care at nearly every level, which means that being a pharmacy technician should prove the be a stable career path over both the short and long term. This article talks about some tips and ideas about how to become a pharmacy tech. First, lets talk about what pharmacy technicians do day-to-day?

What Do Pharmacy Techs do?

Pharmacy Technicians have a wide range of duties since they work in a variety of venues. The majority of techs work in retail stores. Other environments include Hospitals, Long-Term Care facilities, Mail-Order pharmacies and Military bases. Insurance companies also hire experienced pharmacy techs to audit paperwork and adjust claims. Most pharmacy technicians work directly with customers / patients under the direction of a pharmacist. They may perform many of the same duties as a Pharmacist and must have a good working knowledge of the pharmacy operations. Besides counting out tablets and ringing up orders, pharmacy technicians also decode prescriptions, enter data into computers, create labels, make and receive phone calls, rotate stock as well as countless other duties.

Pharmacy Technicians do much of the work in a pharmacy, but they can’t do everything. They may not answer questions about medications or give any advice whatsoever. They can tell a customer where to find “over-the-counter” products and even read the words from the packaging. However, they can never personally advise anyone to use any type of drug product. Overall, a pharmacy technician’s main goal is to assist the pharmacist in helping patients and customers. They are expected to be attentive and accurate, but also friendly and knowledgeable.

Do I have to get certified to become a pharmacy tech?

Most employers and states require National Certification. Someday, the regulations may be the same everywhere, but for now it’s different in every state. The first step is to find out what is required in your state and/or any prospective employers. At the minimum, Pharmacy Technicians are required to register and keep an updated license with the Board of Pharmacy in their respective state. Most U.S. states require national certification from either the PTCB or ICPT (ExCPT). However, even if the state doesn’t require national certification, most companies who employ pharmacy technicians do. In addition, even if neither the state or your employer require certification, it’s recommended that anyone planning on a career as a pharmacy tech should become nationally certified in order to be more qualified when applying for a tech position or promotion.

What is the pharmacy tech test like?

Taking the PTCB Exam:

Most states recognize the PTCB since it’s been around longer and has a solid reputation. The pharmacy technician test given by the PTCB is a 90 question multiple choice test. There are four answers to choose from, with one being the correct answer. You get 120 minutes to complete the exam. The exam is in random format, which means that the subject matter switches around nearly every question. The exam is constructed as:

66% – Assisting the pharmacist / serving22% – Maintaining Medication and Inventory Control Systems12% – Administration and management of pharmacy business practices

To pass the PTCB Exam:

You’ll need to score at least 650 out of 900. Whatever you do, don’t read online message boards (Yahoo groups, etc.) where people who have passed try to tell you what’s on the exam. There are several test batteries that change frequently. In fact, they’ve currently updated all of the exams in mid 2010. The best way to ensure you pass the PTCB exam is to study until you confidently know all of the subjects on the exam.

What do Pharmacy Technicians earn?

The Salary paid to pharmacy technicians really varies by geographical location. So, in an attempt to collect the best available data, an ongoing wage survey has been running on my website for several months and the results are listed individually by city and state. To see those results, go to the wage survey page.

Pharmacy Tech School vs. Online vs. Self Study

The best route to get trained and certified really depends on each person and their own situation. Each type of program offers different types of structure and flexibility. The biggest factors to consider are job placement assistance, program accreditation and your budget.

Community College – pharmacy technology programs

Many Community Colleges offer a 1-2 year pharmacy technician program designed to prepare students to jump right into a pharmacy technician position. These programs usually qualify for financial aid and other assistance / re-training programs. One of the big questions you’ll want to ask when considering this type of program is about placement assistance after program completion.

Trade School / Pharmacy Tech Colleges

The trade schools are all a little different from each other, so you’ll want to research all of them to find one that’s best for you. If they are accredited, you may also qualify for financial aid grants and loans. If you are serious about attending one of the pharmacy technician schools, make an appointment and take a tour of the school. Ask specific questions about the program and the career placement. When you go for a tour at a pharmacy tech school, be prepared for the big sales pitch and some pressure. Remember, these schools are businesses and the folks who give the tours are salespeople and often work for commissions.

Online pharmacy Technician Programs / Online Colleges

An increasing number of schools are offering online programs which can be completed at home. An online pharmacy technician program can be a great choice for a highly disciplined person. If you’re prone to getting side-tracked by other projects (or TV shows) while you are at home, Online study programs may not work for you. On the other hand, if you can focus and stay on a schedule online programs are flexible enough to work around any schedule. When considering an online pharmacy technician program, shop around and look at the benefits of each. Some of the online programs may have affiliations with community colleges or chain drug stores, which may provide assistance in finding an internship or externship.

Self Study / Pharmacy Tech Review Books

Similar to online programs, self study can be challenging for the focus deficient types. However, one really good strategy for succeeding with a self-study pharmacy tech program is to form a small group and meet on a schedule. Even just having one partner to study with on a consistent basis helps immensely. Self study is also a very good option for experienced technicians who are in need of getting certified because of a new law or employers policy.

What subjects do pharmacy technician students study?

The breakdown of the test doesn’t really give a clear picture of what subjects pharmacy tech students need to study. In pharmacy technician programs, some of the subjects are: Pharmacy Math, The Top 200 Drugs, DEA Controlled Substance Schedules, Pharmacy Laws and ethics, Prescription decoding and abbreviations, parenteral Nutrition, Pharmacology and several more.

Penis Health Depends On 9 Specific Vitamins and Minerals

By now, most men are aware that staying healthy depends on eating right, getting regular exercise, and making appropriate lifestyle choices concerning the use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, as well as being selective when choosing sexual partners. However, not everyone is aware that maintaining optimum men’s health requires specialized care of the penis. This sensitive organ is prone to a variety of health issues, which may be avoided by treating penis skin with a combination of these penis-specific vitamins and minerals.

Acetyl L carnitine

This important amino acid is essential to maintaining cell structure and healing skin cells that have been damaged by friction, environmental contaminants and aging. In addition, acetyl L carnitine is indicated for repairing penile nerves that have been compromised by aggressive masturbation or sex, helping to maintain the sensitivity that is needed for healthy sexual performance.

Alpha lipoic acid

This powerful antioxidant has been shown to counteract the effects of environmental damage (which may occur as a result of harmful UV rays, certain food additives, use of tobacco products or the chemicals found in many soaps and detergents), as well as to slow the aging process. Alpha lipoic acid used in conjunction with acetyl L carnitine may reduce the appearance of wrinkling and promote elasticity of the penile skin.


L-arginine is yet another amino acid which provides important penis health benefits. This enzyme is essential to maintaining the structural integrity of the blood vessels and capillaries. Sufficient levels of L-arginine can help to ensure proper blood flow to the penis, which is necessary to avoid penis health problems such erectile dysfunction and the appearance of broken capillaries under the skin.

Shea butter

Shea butter is an ingredient in many moisturizers and other skin products. This naturally-occurring ingredient is noted for helping the skin to retain vital moisture, protecting against drying, and chafing. Shea butter speeds the healing of dry or irritated skin, preventing long-term skin damage that may lead to a wrinkled or roughened appearance.

Vitamin A

This essential nutrient has numerous healing properties. It is especially noted as an anti-bacterial agent, helping to protect against infection as well as eliminating odor-causing bacteria that thrive in the genital area. Vitamin A also helps to maintain the structure of skin cells, lending a youthful appearance.

Vitamin B5

This important vitamin is essential to good overall health. It plays an important role in cell metabolism and provides immune system support. Vitamin B5 is necessary for maintaining good skin tone, as well as overall penis health.

Vitamin C

Most people already know about the disease-fighting properties of vitamin C. In addition, this nutrient is important in the production of collagen, which provides structural support to the skin cells and is needed to maintain healthy penile tissue. Vitamin C also plays an essential role in circulatory system support and is necessary for proper erectile function.

Vitamin D

Protection against radiation, immune system support, and maintaining a healthy metabolism are just a few of the functions of this important nutrient. Vitamin D is essential to maintaining good penis condition and promoting male sexual health.

Vitamin E

Among its numerous healing properties, Vitamin E is noted for keeping the skin hydrated and protecting against environmental damage. Vitamin E is essential to maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin and supporting overall penis health.

While most of these ingredients are available as dietary supplements, the oral preparations available from your local pharmacy or vitamin store are often absorbed by the body’s major organs and never reach the targeted destination – the penis. The penis benefits provided by these nutrients can be most easily obtained through use of a penis health crème (most health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil), which is applied topically and absorbed directly into the penis skin for maximum effectiveness. These penis-specific vitamins, minerals, and amino acids provide numerous men’s health benefits that keep you feeling great and performing at your best.

Natural Home Remedies For Toe Nail Fungus and Candida

First, oftentimes nail fungus can be an outward manifesting symptom of candidiasis (overpopulation of candida albicans). Candidiasis is very common, a product of rampant overuse of prescription drugs, particularly antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off all bacteria in the gut, the beneficial intestinal microflora included, and this encourages candida to overpopulate. Once candida gets overpopulated, it goes systemic (throughout your body) and behaves like a fungus.

From there, the candida roots itself into the gut lining and/or vascular linings. This forms myriad holes in the gut and bloodstream and further perpetuates the systemic spread of the candida. This leads to a condition called leaky-gut syndrome. You can tell by the name alone that it’s a good one to avoid.

Ways to tell if you may have candidiasis are intense sugar cravings, consistent foggy-headedness, white coating on tongue, itchiness in warm and moist parts of your body (jock itch or athletes foot), recurring yeast infection, belly bloat, and constipation. If you have some or all of these symptoms, it is a good likelihood you have candidiasis.

Improvements to diet are usually necessary to rebalance. Massive reduction of refined carbohydrates and refined sugar are the most important steps. I can’t stress this enough. American agricultural practices store grains in huge silos and vats. This is a total fungus factory. Bugs, fungus, mold, and rodent feces are present in huge quantities in most commodity grain crops. It doesn’t take a degree to figure out that is a recipe for ill health. Refined sugar is pretty much poisonous. I would greatly encourage everyone to massively reduce their intake of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.

At the same time you reduce your consumption of refined grains and refined sugars, start eating more high fiber vegetables, cultured foods, and taking a high potency (10 billion organisms or more) probiotic. The fiber will help to flush dead and dying candida from the gut while the probiotics will rebalance the dysbiosis (imbalance of beneficial flora to non-beneficial flora).

I would also encourage you to consume herbs known to reduce candida. Some of my favorite choices are garlic, pau d’arco, and olive leaf. These anti-fungal herbs will help to actively lower the levels of candida while the probiotics and cultured foods (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kim-chi, natto, miso) increase the beneficial flora. Follow the recommended directions on the product. As always, make sure to get a high quality version of the herbs. Kyolic, New Chapter, and Natural Factors make good garlic, Gaia herbs and Herb Pharm make great pau d’arco, and Seagate and Blue Bonnet make good olive leaf.

If you go with the garlic option, you can also eat fresh garlic. It tastes incredibly strong, but the allicin content in raw garlic is powerful at reducing fungus levels in your body. Roasted garlic tastes better but isn’t very potent for fungus.

An alternative to the herbal approach to lowering candida levels is an enzyme-based approach. This would involve taking a product like Candidase from Enzymedica or Candex from Pure Essence Labs. Both are fantastic for quick (although a bit more expensive in the short term), comprehensive results.

For additional benefit, apply a good quality tea tree oil or neem seed oil to the nail bed. After doing so, cover the area with a sock. The warmth will increase the absorption into the skin and nail bed and it will also slow the evaporation. Tea tree oil drys really quickly if left exposed. It’ll still work but it will take more frequent application.

Plan on applying the tea tree oil or neem seed oil at least twice a day. Apply with a cotton swab, like a Q-tip, first thing in the morning and last at night. Plan on doing this for 3-6 months. You may get good results sooner, but it is safer to plan for the long haul.

Neem – a Natural Remedy for Yeast Infections, Part I

Neem is a safe, versatile, organic and natural remedy for yeast infections. It is one of the most ancient and widely-used herbs in the world, yet it’s also relatively un-heard of by people depending upon modern medicine. Once you begin using this plant, you will turn to it first to treat a multitude of conditions; getting rid of a yeast infection is just the beginning.

This article is broken into Part I and Part II. Part I will explain what Neem is, and why it should be in your medicine cabinet. Part II will identify steps you should take to treat a yeast infection, and some detailed treatment suggestions.

So — what is it? Neem (Azadirachta indica A. juss) is the common name for a tree that has been the source of natural remedies for 5,000 years, originating from India. Every part of the tree can be used to improve health: leaf, bark, root, fruit, seed, and flower. Commercial products can use these ingredients singularly or in combination. Historically, a few of the common healing uses of this antiseptic tree include brushing teeth with twigs or bark; leaf tea for oral thrush, reduce symptoms of illness and prevent malarial infection; burning leaves around the body for inhalation of healing smoke; leaves and seed oil placed on infections or wounds; and chewing leaves to induce temporary sterility to prevent conception. Neem has so many uses that different cultures refer to it as “the blessed tree” and “the village pharmacy.”

Neem is an incredibly safe, natural remedy for yeast infections, especially when compared to the harmful side effects of modern pharmaceuticals. It is internationally recognized among the safest herbs. The only caveats are to restrict use on very young infants or the elderly; not for consumption or internal use before or during conception by either sex (due to contraceptive effect); and the oil should not be consumed. When compared, for example, to antibiotics, which weaken the immune system, are harsh on the stomach, and build a toxic load in the body, you can see that Neem is a “natural” when it comes to getting you healthy in a healthy way. In addition, bacteria and the body’s defense system won’t build a resistance to Neem, unlike antibiotics or other medications.

How to treat a yeast infection depends on the type of infection you have. Is it dandruff or excess oral yeast? Or yeast on the skin such as Tinea Versicolor? Or perhaps the infection is a secondary issue, as in psoriasis, eczema, and acne? Infections can also be internal, such as vaginal yeast, or systemic Candidiasis (Candida infection) which can lead to even greater health threats. Pick your poison, because Neem can kill them all.