Month: November 2011

Can You Get Good Pharmacy Technician Training Online?

Online education is appealing to people to people who can’t fit attending school in person into their schedule or who would just rather study at home for one reason or another. But can that really work if you want to learn to be a pharmacy technician? Is it possible to get good training for such a hands on job online?

It’s possible, although there are disadvantages. You have to decide how much you need hands on practice before you sign up for any training online.

Much of the training a pharmacy technician needs can be done online. You don’t absolutely have to have any training at all in order to become a pharmacy technician in many states, but it’s always an advantage when looking for a job. This means that even if you haven’t handled a lot of prescriptions, the knowledge you gained while studying online is a major advantage.

Another advantage of an online program is that it may be recognized by potential employers nationally. Local programs will usually just be known in their area, but an online program has more of a chance to have graduates work for employers all over the place, and this builds their reputation with potential employers if the program is any good.

One concern with any online training program is whether or not you’ll have any interaction with your instructor. It’s important that you have someone you can talk to from the school when you have problems. May sure any online school you choose offers that much to you at least.

The ability to go on your own time is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It’s wonderful that you don’t have to wait for a new semester to start with most online programs. It’s wonderful that you can decide when you can study. That’s also the problem.

Not everyone is motivated enough as a student to do well in a self paced program, as most online pharmacy technician training is. It takes drive. On the plus side, if you’ve got that drive, that’s something potential employers will like to see. No employer likes having employees who can’t get themselves going. If you aren’t self motivated, you will probably be better of getting trained elsewhere. But if you have that drive, you may love the flexibility.

Get free information from Career Step about how to train for a career as a pharmacy technician.

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Is Online Schooling Really Worth It?

Online schooling is still a pretty new thing, although distance learning has been around a long time in the form of correspondence courses. It sounds nice, being able to learn at home, on your own time, but there’s always that question lurking. Is online schooling actually worth it or is it a waste of time and money?

That depends on three factors. You, the teachers, and the school.

Problems with Online Schools

The problem with online schools is that not all of them do a very good job of teaching whatever it is they claim to teach. They send a bit of information your way, expect you to learn it, but it’s maybe not enough for whatever reason. Not enough for you to work in whatever field you wanted to get the education for, perhaps.

The reason for this, in part, is that it’s so easy to set up an online school. Set up a website, call it a school, provide some learning material, and start charging for it. It can look good on the surface without really benefiting students all that much.

Some have dismal rates of completion. Just imagine paying thousands of dollars toward your education and then not finishing it. It’s not that uncommon for some online schools. Not that uncommon for regular colleges either, of course.

The Students

If you decide to be a student at an online school, you have to motivate yourself much more so than you would at a school you have to attend physically. Many are self paced, and so you decide when you study. It’s rather like having nothing but homework, although there may be scheduled chats or lectures you can choose to attend.

That’s a problem if you don’t do well with setting your own deadlines and due dates. It’s all too easy to procrastinate.

Some students don’t take online schooling seriously. They figure it’s somehow going to be easier than a school they have to attend physically. This isn’t necessarily true, and it’s a poor thought to have for any education you want to get. Online schools can be just as challenging and sometimes even more challenging than the options you have locally for the particular type of education. Take a look and compare what the particular schools you’re considering expect of you as a student in order to graduate.

The Teachers

Any good online schooling will give you access to a teacher if you need it. This may be through email, chat or online forums, possibly even by phone. You want teachers who are highly knowledgeable about whatever they’re teaching. If you’re learning a job skill, for example, you want teachers involved who have actually worked in that job.

Online schools may or may not supply that kind of teacher. Check with them to see if they have what you’re after.

Take a look at the certificate programs Career Step offers and see if one is for you.

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How to Choose Medical Billing and Coding Classes

Many people look to jobs in the medical industry when they want to find work. With an aging population, it’s one of those areas that has good promise of growth. Medical billing and coding is one of the popular choices when you look at this type of work but don’t necessarily want to deal directly with patients all day.

The challenge to becoming a medical biller or coder is to get good training so that you can find a job. There’s no point in training that doesn’t really prepare you to work, after all. How do you choose classes that will train you well for this kind of work?

Types of Classes to Consider

You have a few types of classes you can consider for your training. The usual routine is to check out local vocational schools or community colleges to see what kind of programs they offer for medical billing. It’s not a bad way to go for many people, as having to physically be in class is a sort of motivation.

However, it does have its disadvantages. You have to find a program that works with your schedule, whatever that may be. This is not always easy, as not every job has a regular schedule or can guarantee your hours won’t change while you train to do something else. You have to get to your classes on time, and if you have kids, you have to have someone available to watch them. Attending classes in person doesn’t fit into every lifestyle.

Online classes are often much more flexible. Most are self paced, which means that you can attend classes when you have the time, and progress as fast as you choose. You don’t have to wait for slower classmates to catch up or feel as though you’ve learned all the material before the semester is over. On the flip side, you can take extra time when you’re struggling with a concept, and be more certain that you’re ready for tests when you take them.

The disadvantage is that this takes much more self motivation, which not everyone has. If you need that extra push of having to go to school physically, online learning may not be for you.

What Makes a Good Online Medical Billing and Coding Class?

A good class will of course prepare you to work in medical billing and coding. They won’t certify you, although you may receive a certificate of completion. The two are entirely different, although the school may leave you prepared to take the certification test for medical billing through AAPC or AHIMA. There is no requirement to become certified, but it may be an advantage in your job search.

A course should give you the practical knowledge you need, such as medical terminology, healthcare structure, medical record types, codes and so forth. Some of these things change regularly, and you need the course to be up to date.

You also want the course to give you realistic practice. Studying from a book is great, but you don’t really know it until you do it. A good class will give you practice on real patient records so that you can learn to apply what you’ve learned.

A good course doesn’t have to take too many months, although it shouldn’t promise you that you’ll be done too quickly either. The school should be able to tell you how long it takes the average student to complete the course, as well as how long they’ll allow you to work on it, in case you can’t complete it more quickly.

A good class will also prepare you to become certified, even though it isn’t required for work. Certification may be requested by some employers, and may be an advantage in negotiating your salary.

Be very careful in choosing your courses. Not every school will train you well enough for this career. Look carefully at what’s offered to make sure you have the best chance of working in medical billing and coding.

Get free information from Career Step about how to train for a career as a medical coder or biller.

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