All About Pharmacy Technician Schools

In many countries today, healthcare industry employment continues even while other industries falter, making a health service job a good choice for anyone considering a new career.Pharmacy technician jobs are one of the main positions seeing drastic increases with hiring expected to increase as much as 25 percent over the next few years. This is a great opportunity for anyone with good attention to detail to consider a career as a Pharmacy Technician or `PT`, especially since it is possible to complete certification programs at reputable pharmacy technician schools in as little as two years and get into a well-paying job soon afterward.Different Types of Pharmacy Technician SchoolsIn the US and Canada, some PT jobs do not require any certification or schooling although most do. Those who have schooling and certification are definitely preferable for positions, however, making schooling something that anyone looking at a career as a PT should consider very seriously.In all likelihood, more jobs will move toward requiring certification as well, so skipping the education may reduce job hire and advancement opportunity.Pharmacy Technician education is available in programs that last anywhere from 6 months to two years or more, depending on the depth of training.Like many other medical training and technical programs, the shorter programs give a basic, fundamental overview of what to expect on the job and general education relating to basic pharmacology, pharmacology law, pharmacology records, inventory, labeling, ordering and many other relevant topics to working in a retail pharmacy environment.Courses and diploma programsStudents that attend the shorter programs usually earn a Pharmacy Technician Certificate for completion of the program, but have no actual approved certifications.Longer courses offered by schools include specialized diploma programs and Associates Degree courses that last between about 12 months to 24 months.Diploma programs are great for students who already have some healthcare service experience and want to move into a position as a PT, as well as those entering the field new.Study usually includes all that is mentioned above, plus pharmacology in more detail, dosage calculation, mixing medications and others, and usually includes an externship to prepare students to take the certification exam. Students completing a diploma course and passing their certification exam will earn the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician or CPhT.Associates in Health Sciences with a PT specialty takes two years and is recommended for any individual if there is an interest in both obtaining a college degree, and being able to advance the fastest in their career.Courses of study are much more in depth and include additional medical subjects. Externships are a required part of the curriculum, as is passing the certification examination. Those with their CPhT and an AS degree stand the best chance of being hired in non-retail pharmacy technician positions, and starting at the highest salaries.Accredited vocational programIn the UK and many other countries a pharmacy technician is required to complete both an accredited vocational program in pharmacy services and a pharmaceutical science program, and must be registered with numerous UK healthcare organizations.Courses of study include that which is mentioned above, as well as medicines management for patients and training in running and assisting in hospital clinics and more.Please note however, in the UK there is a difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacy dispenser, with the former having more vocational and educational requirements.Interested individuals are advised to contact local professional organizations in order to get additional details about attending school to become a PT such as which are the best courses and whether they offer job placement and financial aid.In the US, contact the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (AAPA) or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), in the UK contact the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPC) and in Canada the Canadian Association of Pharmacy Technicians (CAPT) to name a few.Employment After Attending PT SchoolsThere are actually many more employment opportunities for PTs than most people assume. While the majority of jobs are in retail pharmacy positions there are much more specialized career options for pharmacy techs with the right training.Hospitals, medication manufacturing and packing companies, medication compounding pharmacies, nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and any type of medical facility that either fills medication prescriptions or dispenses medications directly to patients make use of pharmacy technicians.These positions can be very rewarding, and tend to pay more as well. Certain qualified technicians also have the ability to counsel consumers and patients on the use of their medications, as well as answer medication questions.In any case, attending schools that offer the most detailed training and externships, and prepare students to become Certified Pharmacy Technicians are highly recommended for anyone interested in a career in healthcare services that pays well and offers plenty of room for advancement.

Can Nutrition Bars Really Be Nutritional?

My patients frequently ask me if using nutrition bars would be of any benefit to their overall health or weight loss plan. I admit, even I grab one of these bars every now and then for a quick snack, or even lunch on a really busy day sometimes. In fact, I would much rather have my patients substitute a good nutrition bar for lunch than grab a high-saturated-fat burger and fries.These bars are convenient, they don’t require refrigeration, and, if you read labels before buying, they really can help you get some good nutrition in a hurry. Here’s what I tell my patients about the pros and cons of the “nutrition on the run” that these bars offer.Are All Nutrition Bars Alike?Seems every time I go to the health food store, there’s a new nutrition bar promising to be better tasting, or more vitamin/protein-packed than all the other bars! However, what tastes good to me may not to you, so, different flavors aside, let me explain what ingredients should be in a good nutrition bar.•Protein:For meal replacement, a good bar should have at least 15 grams of protein, preferably from whey or even casein protein and not soy, gelatin or collagen protein. Many bars, however, contain soy protein isolate, or a blend of whey, casein, and soy. Soy products can interfere with thyroid hormones as well as imbalance male and female hormones, as it adds plant estrogen, or phytoestrogens, to your body.•Fat: Should be fairly low in fat, not more than 3 grams saturated fat and 0 trans fat, 10 grams total fat. Steer clear of bars that contain cholesterol-boosting oils like palm kernel oil. Bars with polyunsaturated vegetable oils like olive, safflower, or coconut oil are best.•Carbohydrate: For meal replacement, there should be a balanced fat/carbohydrate/protein ratio, in a 40/30/30 distribution, i.e., 30% protein, 30% fat, 40% carbohydrate. If you want added protein only, then the carb and fat level can be lower than this distribution. Some bars can contain a whopping amount of sugar, however! Limit sugar to 10-15 grams.•Sugar Alcohols: Many low carb nutrition bars contain sugar alcohols. These help sweeten the bar without adding carbohydrates. When figuring the carbohydrate, or glycemic load, they should be subtracted from the overall carbohydrate content. For example, if the bar contains 25 grams of carbohydrate and also 20 grams of sugar alcohols, then the effective carbohydrate count would only be 5. Some people get digestive upsets from sugar alcohols which can be a drawback to bars that contain it.•Vitamins: A good bar has at least 1/3 of the minimum daily requirements for vitamins, usually in the 30% range for crucial vitamins like C, E, D, A. This is especially important if you are using a nutrition bar as a meal replacement.•Minerals: Many good bars also contain 1/3 the minimum daily requirement of necessary minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc. Again, should be in the 30% range for meal replacement use.•Fiber: Many nutrition bars contain very little fiber, but several brands have between 4-6 grams. Or, at least have a piece of fruit, or a salad, with it to make up for fiber deficiencies.•Calories: If you’re using it as a meal replacement for a quick lunch, your nutrition bar should have between 200-300 calories in it. Otherwise you’ll be at the snack machine in an hour!Are There Any Cons to Nutrition Bars?We’ve talked about what I recommend a good bar should contain. Now, are there any real disadvantages, or cons, to using nutrition bars? As I tell my patients, I think that answer depends on how you use them. With that in mind, here are some possible disadvantages to using nutrition bars that you might consider when deciding to use them everyday or just occasionally:•Cost: Most good nutrition bars can cost anywhere from $2 to $3 a piece. This can get expensive if you use them everyday. However, if you use them as a meal replacement for one meal a day, that’s still less than the cheapest burger place for lunch, a lot less fat and salt, controlled calorie amount, and more vitamins and minerals.•Excessive Nutrition: If you’re using a nutrition bar for just a snack here and there, and not as meal replacement, look for one that has less than the 30% minimum daily requirement of vitamins and minerals to avoid over-intake of nutrients. This is especially true if you are taking a good vitamin/mineral supplement already everyday and eating well at your other meals. Too much Vitamin A can pose liver problems. Too much Vitamin E can result in excessive bleeding should you cut yourself.•May Contain Herbals: Steer clear of nutrition bars that contain “energy boosting” herbs such as ephedra, bitter orange, or even caffeine from green or black tea extracts which can affect some people’s heart rate or blood pressure adversely.•Taste: The taste of these bars can vary widely from brand to brand and price range. Some are in the “acquired” taste category and can be rather dry. Then there are others that really taste great. You really have to shop around and try a lot of different ones to find one you like and could eat on a regular basis.If you take medications, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor about adding anything with vitamins/minerals in it that may interfere with absorption of your medications. Nutrition bars should not take the place of a balanced diet of whole foods, but they can provide a satisfying solution to a chocolaty-sweets craving, or provide a quick and nutritional meal on the run!

S&P 500 Rallies As U.S. Dollar Pulls Back Towards Weekly Lows

Key Insights
The strong pullback in the U.S. dollar provided significant support to stocks.
Treasury yields have pulled back after touching new highs, which served as an additional positive catalyst for S&P 500.
A move above 3730 will push S&P 500 towards the resistance level at 3760.
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Pfizer Rallies After Announcing A Huge Price Hike For Its COVID-19 Vaccines
S&P 500 is currently trying to settle above 3730 as traders’ appetite for risk is growing. The U.S. dollar has recently gained strong downside momentum as the BoJ intervened to stop the rally in USD/JPY. Weaker U.S. dollar is bullish for stocks as it increases profits of multinational companies and makes U.S. equities cheaper for foreign investors.

The leading oil services company Schlumberger is up by 9% after beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. Schlumberger’s peers Baker Hughes and Halliburton have also enjoyed strong support today.

Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna gained strong upside momentum after Pfizer announced that it will raise the price of its coronavirus vaccine to $110 – $130 per shot.

Biggest losers today include Verizon and Twitter. Verizon is down by 5% despite beating analyst estimates on both earnings and revenue. Subscriber numbers missed estimates, and traders pushed the stock to multi-year lows.

Twitter stock moved towards the $50 level as the U.S. may conduct a security review of Musk’s purchase of the company.

From a big picture point of view, today’s rebound is broad, and most market segments are moving higher. Treasury yields have started to move lower after testing new highs, providing additional support to S&P 500. It looks that some traders are ready to bet that Fed will be less hawkish than previously expected.

S&P 500 Tests Resistance At 3730

S&P 500 has recently managed to get above the 20 EMA and is trying to settle above the resistance at 3730. RSI is in the moderate territory, and there is plenty of room to gain additional upside momentum in case the right catalysts emerge.

If S&P 500 manages to settle above 3730, it will head towards the next resistance level at 3760. A successful test of this level will push S&P 500 towards the next resistance at October highs at 3805. The 50 EMA is located in the nearby, so S&P 500 will likely face strong resistance above the 3800 level.

On the support side, the previous resistance at 3700 will likely serve as the first support level for S&P 500. In case S&P 500 declines below this level, it will move towards the next support level at 3675. A move below 3675 will push S&P 500 towards the support at 3640.