View Health Care From All Angles Through Pharmacy Technician Schools

Pharmacy technician schools prepare you to be a pharmacy tech – a position that introduces you to an array of health care possibilities. So says Ed Mowbray, Inventory Coordinator for Shore Memorial Hospital (Somers Point, NJ). His title actually reflects a climb from pharmacy technician to lead pharmacy technician and finally to inventory coordinator, a position he’s held for nearly seven years. But, he says, it was earning his pharmacy technician certification via the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination administered by The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board about a year and a half ago that helped increase his salary.”Being certified is important because it keeps you updated on what’s going on in the field. Most conferences have physicians, nurses, and pharmacists in attendance so everyone is on the same page,” explains the 40-year-old pharmacy tech.Not only did certification result in a pay raise for Mowbray, but for those currently exploring pharmacy technician schools, being formally educated will help with job opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2006-2007, although most pharmacy technicians jobs offer informal on-the-job training, employers favor those who have completed formal training and certification.Formal pharmacy technician programs provided at pharmacy technician schools and certification emphasize the technician’s interest in and dedication to the work, says the BLS. Students can earn a diploma, a pharmacy technician certification, or an associate degree, depending on the program. Mowbray says he breezed through the pharmacy technician certification exam because of his years of experience, however, those starting out may want to consider pharmacy technician schools from the get-go since today’s job opportunities demand more training.So what is a pharmacy technician anyway?Pharmacy technicians basically assist licensed pharmacists provide medication and other health care products to patients. “We are one part of the three-part check before medication goes to the patient,” says Mowbray, explaining that pharmacy techs, pharmacists, and nurses each check that an order matches the medicine dispensed to the correct patient.In a retail pharmacy, pharmacy technicians play a similar role that may include verifying information on a prescription, preparing the paperwork or computerized data for that prescription, and preparing the medication. Once the prescription is filled, notes the BLS, technicians price and file the prescription, which must be checked by a pharmacist before it is given to the patient.A presciption for learningBeyond preparing you for certification exams, pharmacy technician programs get you ready for the health care field. And once you’ve secured a job, says Mowbray, you’ll get an insider’s view of various medical professions — perfect if you’re still unsure of which health care field you want to explore. “Some people will work as a pharmacy technician before [pharmacy] school to decide if pharmacy is what they want to do,” he says. “Or they do this to pay the bills while in nursing school or X-ray tech school. It’s a good place to be because you get to see the whole overall view of the hospital and choose where you want to be.”Of course, you just may realize that being a pharmacy technician is perfect for you. “It’s very fulfilling know that you’re helping others,” says Mowbray, “especially if you take pride in what you do.”

What Can You Do With A Degree In Nutrition?

Earning a degree focused in nutrition can have many potential career paths other than becoming a nutritionist. There are six main types of nutrition paths to choose from, including teaching nutrition, public health nutrition, nutrition consulting, clinical nutrition, food science, and food service management. Most nutrition jobs should fall within one of these categories.A degree in nutrition could help individuals land employment as a public health official, dietetic consultant, school food service director, quality control manager, food distributor, or wellness coordinator. Individuals may be employed through health maintenance organizations, school systems, food manufactures, wellness centers, and exercise and fitness centers. Government agencies also have the potential to employ those with degrees in nutrition. Some of the government agencies could include Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, SNAP- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Department of Health, and U.S. Public Health Services.While earning a college degree, individuals will most likely be required to study a wide range of courses to gain a well-rounded education. Students could be expected to take courses related to nutrition, consisting of anatomy and physiology, introduction to food science, sociology, bacteriology, chemistry, and biochemistry. By completing an internship, individuals are able to gain hands on experience in the nutrition field before committing to a job or while still in school. Internships can serve as a great way to determine where your interests are, and if obtaining a career in this field is a good fit.It is important for individuals wanting to succeed in a career in nutrition to possess skills such as organization and planning, strong verbal and written communication, proficient math skills for weights and measures, and interest in the well-being and health of others. To be successful working in nutrition, individuals may be required to advise patients in practicing good nutrition, monitoring diet modifications, and assessing health plans. Those with a degree in nutrition should also be able to monitor food safety conditions and create menus for specific dietary needs.Depending on your place of employment and job description, individuals with a nutrition degree may be asked to create visuals aids and nutrition manuals that could be useful in teaching. Companies dealing with food service may hire nutrition graduates to create meal plans, ensure food safety, or develop new food products. Salary potential can depend on more than the actual job, but also education level, years of experience, and location of employment.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.
It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?