The Differences Between Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacists


Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are both skilled professions that ensure pharmacies run how they are supposed to and patients receive their proper prescriptions. Each role has its own unique set of qualifications and responsibilities, but what separates a pharmacy technician from a pharmacist? In this post, we will take a deeper look at the differences between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist.

Duties and responsibilities

Pharmacists are tasked with duties such as filling prescriptions, administering vaccines, instructing patients on how and when to take their medication, and ensuring a patient’s medications won’t clash with each other. Pharmacists are the last line of defense for patients when it comes to potentially harmful drug interactions. They also oversee the work of pharmacy technicians. 

Some of the essential duties of pharmacy technicians include packaging and labeling prescriptions, organizing inventory, talking with customers and taking payments. Depending on the employer, the duties of a pharmacy technician may include additional responsibilities.

Vital parts of pharmacy

Pharmacists are well trained in biology, chemistry, physics and other sciences. This knowledge comes into play when ensuring it’s safe for patients to take a certain medication. 

Pharmacy technicians work hand in hand with pharmacists and are the ones who handle most of the prescriptions. It takes a team effort to keep a pharmacy running. 

Recently, pharmacists have been performing more patient care tasks, such as administering flu shots and providing other patient care services. Because of this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that pharmacy technicians could be in bigger roles, picking up additional responsibilities pharmacists may no longer be able to cover alone. 

For this reason, it is clear that pharmacy technicians are key cogs as far as the vitals of pharmacy are concerned. 



On one hand, pharmacists must complete rigorous schooling to get their Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD.) degree, which typically requires four years of study following two to four years of undergraduate study. Additional work, such as a residency program, may be required, depending on the role the pharmacist is seeking. 

Pharmacy technicians, on the other hand, typically need a high school diploma, though it helps to enroll in a trade school or community college program before entering the field. Many states also require pharmacy technicians to pass a certification exam through an accrediting body such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).


It takes less time for pharmacy technicians to enter the field compared to pharmacists. While pharmacists are required to attend schooling for multiple years, pharmacy technicians can confidently take a certification exam in as little as 42 weeks after starting a program.  

Are you looking to start an exciting career in the healthcare field? If so, becoming a pharmacy technician might be the right choice for you and there’s no better place to get started than at Coyne College.

Become a pharmacy technician at Coyne

Coyne’s pharmacy technician program will help prepare you for a career as a pharmacy technician as you learn the inner workings of the occupation from our experienced instructors. They can provide real-world insight that can help prepare you for the field beyond what is written in a textbook. After all, Coyne College has more than 120 years of experience preparing students in Chicago (like you!) for meaningful careers in a variety of trades. 

At the end of the program, which can be as soon as 42 weeks, you will be ready to take and pass your certification exam and start work in a number of pharmaceutical settings.

Financial aid is also available to those who qualify. Coyne also provides career services and job placement assistance to all its students.

Put your passion for helping people to use today by enrolling in Coyne College’s pharmacy technician program. To enroll or request more information, visit or call (800) 720-3990. 

The Evolving Role of Pharmacy Technicians


Like most industries, the healthcare landscape has seen transformation and growth throughout the years. Within this industry, many health professionals, such as pharmacy technicians, have experienced change as well. Almost 45 percent of Americans take a prescription medication, so the need for technicians and pharmacists is higher than ever. As the population ages, the demand for such healthcare professionals will rise as well. Hence, it’s important to understand the evolving role of pharmacy technicians in our ever-changing world.

During the 1900s many pharmacists owned their own pharmacies and didn’t really need assistance or team members. A pharmacist’s job was simple — fewer patients, less medication to remember and no billing. With the rise of technology and advancements in almost every single part of life, the pharmaceutical industry has experienced change. Today, a pharmacy technician is almost as important as the pharmacist themselves. A pharmacy technician’s role and responsibilities have certainly evolved over the years. Some of these responsibilities include: preparing medicine for patients, receiving and verifying prescriptions, completing patient paperwork and much more.

However, to be a pharmacy technician you have to start somewhere, right? That is why there has been a rise in pharmacy technician programs, like the one at Coyne College Chicago. These pharmacy technician programs offer hands-on experience and opportunities to their students that prove worthwhile in the real world. The pharmacy technician program at Coyne College prepares its students in computer order entry, pharmaceutical calculations, record-keeping, and how to mix solutions and compound products to be dispensed. By learning alongside other students and receiving help from the instructors, students become confident in their abilities and skills that help them later on.

Since the healthcare industry is ever-changing, these programs stay up to date and provide their students with the proper education needed to excel down the road. As the healthcare industry changes, more and more responsibilities and tasks are added to a pharmacy technician’s job description.

More recently, pharmacy technicians are being called upon to directly work with patients. Tasks that are being added to the evolving role of pharmacy technicians include:

1. Medication Distribution – Many pharmacies have implemented the “tech-check-tech” program, where one technician will verify that the other technician has filled the prescription correctly. This adds responsibility for the pharmacy technician and frees the pharmacist from having to check over the prescription.

2. Assisting with Emergency Care – Many employers now require pharmacy technicians to become CPR certified or be able to perform a specific role in times of emergencies.

3. Evaluating Pharmacy Operations – Since the pharmacy technicians know the ins and outs of a pharmacy, the managers and pharmacists will usually look to them for suggestions on improving efficiency, boosting patient care and more. More so now, pharmacy techs have the ability to provide valuable feedback that can affect day-to-day operations.

4. Quality Control – Pharmacy technicians play a large role in ensuring quality patient care. Before the pharmacist even reviews the patient’s case, technicians rule out anything that could be potentially harmful.

These are just some ways that a pharmacy technician’s role is evolving, as more responsibility and duties are being added to the overall role. In upcoming years, as more and more things advance, a pharmacy technician’s role is likely to expand in terms of professional training and education, increased salaries, and more opportunities in certain aspects of patient care.

Although the role of pharmacy technicians has certainly changed and developed, it is still certain that it is a worthwhile career in the healthcare industry. The demand for pharmacy technicians is already starting to rise and a career as a pharmacy technician is a very stable one, so why not take the first step in the right direction towards a fulfilling career?


Start your pharma tech career at Coyne College today!

Coyne College has over 120 years of experience in all different types of fields. As a student in their pharmacy technician program, you will learn all the necessary skills and techniques that will be useful in the real world. In just 42 weeks you will be certified as a pharmacy technician and begin your career in the real world! 

So why not enroll today and start your career off in the right direction at Coyne College.

Pharmacy Technician Industry Lookout


As of the last quarter of 2018—and for the first time in our history—the healthcare industry surpassed manufacturing and retail as the largest source of jobs in the United States. Partially due to the rapidly aging population and the wild growth of medical spending, the numbers keep going up. According to an Axios report, prescription drug spending increases at a rate of 3.3 percent per year. That means there is a great need for pharmacy technicians.

If you’re looking for opportunities in the healthcare industry, consider a career as a pharmacy technician.

What are the duties of a pharmacy technician?

A pharmacy technician helps pharmacists dispense prescription medications. Additional duties may include:

  • Screening prescription orders for accuracy
  • Performing calculations to dispense the proper amount of prescription drugs
  • Reconciling prescription orders
  • Preparing prescriptions for customers: retrieving, counting, pouring, measuring and weighing medications
  • Helping with the management of drug studies
  • Using technology (such as computers) to accurately maintain patient records, prepare and package prescriptions, and order medication

Chicago—a hub for medicine—needs pharmacy technicians! Enroll in pharmacy technician programs at Coyne College, and in as few as 42 weeks you can be qualified for an entry-level position for an in-demand job in a hospital or pharmacy.

Everything You Need to Know About HVAC


To build a successful career as an HVAC technician, there is a lot you need to know. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for a rundown of the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed. We’ll get started with the obvious ones and move down the list to other things you might not expect.


As an HVAC technician, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of working on a furnace. This includes the pilot light and other components that are key to a furnace heating a home.


Vents carry hot and cold air throughout a home and heat or cool it centrally. Vents also carry air back into HVAC systems to continue heating or cooling the area.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is the other half of many HVAC systems, especially in homes. Whether you’re working on a window unit in an apartment or the other half of an AC/furnace combo, a working knowledge of air conditioners is crucial for you to succeed.


Refrigeration systems are often included with HVAC work. HVAC technicians take calls to work on everything from commercial coolers to refrigerators in homes.


Installing HVAC systems is one of the biggest duties HVAC technicians take on. In order to install furnaces and air conditioners properly, you need to know how they function inside and out.


Coyne’s knowledgeable instructors will teach you the trade in a course program you can finish in as little as 42 weeks. With hard work and dedication, you can be ready to enter an in-demand field upon graduation.

Don’t wait. The next session starts 01/06.

To enroll or learn more, visit or call 800-720-3990 today!

Learn How HVAC Systems Work

How HVAC Systems Work

If you want to learn how to become an HVAC technician, you’ve come to the right place. Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program will help prepare you for a career in an in-demand profession.

Before we dive into how you can learn all about how HVAC systems work by enrolling in Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program, let’s refresh our memories on what HVAC technicians do.

HVAC technicians are widely skilled trades workers in terms of the skills they use on the job each day.

An HVAC technician’s main duties include installing, maintaining and repairing various indoor climate control systems like furnaces and air conditioners. Each of those tasks is more complex than can be described in this post (that’s where Coyne’s program comes in). Installation, for example, can require HVAC technicians to use some or ALL of these skills:

  • Reading blueprints
  • Testing electrical components 
  • Testing tubing and piping 
  • Using power tools 
  • Providing great customer service
  • And more! 

In addition to possessing a variety of skills, HVAC technicians can work in a variety of settings. Such work environments include:

  • Homes
  • Schools
  • Factories
  • Office Buildings

Any building that needs heating or air conditioning, whether it’s residential or commercial, has been visited at some point by an HVAC technician.

HVAC System Works

Their work helps HVAC systems work as well as they can, increasing the quality of life for the building’s occupants. They also help people and companies save money on their electric or natural gas bills, as well as reducing the effect of heating and cooling on the environment. 

As mentioned in the open, now is a good time to be getting into the HVAC field. The HVAC technician employment rate is projected to grow by 13 percent through 2028. The continued construction of building and an increased prevalence of service contracts, especially during slow seasons, are reasons for the strong growth rate. 

The BLS suggests that the workload for technicians who focus on installation, especially of newer, greener systems, may experience periods of unemployment after initial installation booms. However, service contracts are becoming more common and will help technicians stay working during down periods.

As more and more people continue to need refrigerators, heating systems and air conditioners, the employment future for HVAC technicians should remain healthy.

There are a number of certifications that HVAC technicians can earn that showcase mastery of additional skills. For example, HVAC technicians who work with refrigerants are required to pass an exam administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Certifications help make technicians more marketable to contractors and other potential employers. 

Before achieving such certifications, most HVAC technicians begin by enrolling in an HVAC training program like the one at Coyne College. HVAC training programs are gaining popularity due to the demand for qualified HVAC professionals. 

Speaking of such programs, let’s get to what you can learn as a student in Coyne College’s HVAC Refrigeration program. 

Coyne College is a career training institution in Chicago and Chicagoland with a rich history of preparing skilled trades workers to back it up. For more than 110 years, Coyne has offered programs like its HVAC Refrigeration diploma program to set students up for career success.  

Coyne College’s HVAC-R program will prepare you to perform the essential functions of an HVAC-R technician, including installing, maintaining and repairing HVAC-R systems in a multitude of settings.

In our program, you gain an in-depth understanding of how HVAC systems work. Our curriculum features instruction on the parts of HVAC systems to help you know them inside and out. 

Our experienced instructors will cover HVAC basics with the goal of you understanding HVAC to build a foundation from which to launch your career

In Coyne College’s HVAC program, you will gain the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the HVAC profession. Some of the required courses in the program’s curriculum include:

  • Gas Heating
  • Commercial Controls and Applications
  • Troubleshooting Systems and Installation
  • Air Conditioning, Electric Heat and Heat Pumps
  • And more!

In the program, you will become well versed in the intricacies of HVAC by learning from experienced instructors who have significant experience in the field. At the end of the HVAC-R program, you will be ready to enter the workforce as an HVAC-R technician and do things like fixing a heating system and performing air conditioning unit repairs.

Our HVAC program is available both during days and at nights to accommodate your busy schedule. The program can be completed in as few as 42 weeks and is offered at our Chicago Loop campus at State and Madison.

At Coyne College, support goes beyond the classroom. As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of career assistance resources, including mock interviews and resume help. These resources can help students secure apprenticeships after completing the program.

You’ll also have the chance to take advantage of our extensive network of connections in the field that can help you find employment at the conclusion of their training programs.

At Coyne College, you’ll receive a well-rounded education that will serve as the foundation of your skilled trade career. 

What do you say — are you ready to get to work? Heat up your career at Coyne College by visiting  


Must-know Tips for DIY Electrical Wiring and Switching

DIY Electrical Wiring

People take on DIY projects in their own homes for a number of reasons. Whether they want to save money, feel more independent or enjoy fixing things themselves, any DIY project requires some basic know-how to be done properly. Installing or replacing electrical switches and wiring is no exception. These DIY Electrical Wiring tips can help make the process of installing electrical wires and switches a breeze, especially for a DIYer.

Have the right tools handy

Like any other DIY job, you want to make sure you have the right tools to do the job. They can include a multimeter, a non-contact voltage detector (tests the heat of wire without touching it) and a combination sheath and wire stripper. Being equipped with the right tools will help you be prepared for anything throughout the electrical switch wiring process.

Know your wires

When connecting electrical wiring to an outlet, it’s important to not confuse your wires or put them in the wrong terminal. The white wire is the neutral wire and goes into the neutral terminal, which is marked by silver/light-colored screws. The black wire, on the other hand, is the hot wire and goes into the hot terminal, the one opposite the neutral terminal. If there’s a ground wire, it will be a copper wire held in place by a screw on the same side as the neutral terminal.

Knowing the difference between the wires will allow you to wire your home correctly and avoid the high voltage of swapping the neutral and hot.

Three-inch rule

It’s always better to have too much wire than not enough. There are wire extensions available if you end up cutting them short, but the wiring will work better if it is intact.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to have wiring that is long enough to extend 3 inches outside of the electrical box.

Hide gaps in drywall with oversized plates

When you’re installing electrical switches, it’s pretty easy to cut a hole in the drywall that is too big. Thankfully, there are oversized plates available at hardware stores that you can use to cover your switches.

They are typically in sizes up to 3/4 inch wider and longer than regular switch plates. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference, unless they’re professional electricians or fellow DIYers.

Quality switches and outlets are worth it

While it might be tempting to scrimp on some supplies as a DIYer, electrical switches and outlets aren’t one of them. They tend to be only slightly more expensive, but also last longer. A good way to tell a quality switch or outlet is by the presence of a back-wire feature.

Quality switches and outlets are worth it

Test the voltage

Be sure to test the voltage of wires and circuits before touching them. Testing electrical components with tools such as a wire sniffer or a multimeter will tell you if they are safe to touch or if an electrical current is flowing through them. Electrical work can be a dangerous job, especially if you’re unsure about what you’re doing. Always test before touching.

Do proper research

In today’s age of the internet, you can learn how to do anything online. For that reason, there’s no excuse not to do your homework before installing electrical wiring and switching in your home.

Searching for tutorials on how to wire a light switch is a great way to learn more about how to do it. On YouTube there are countless tutorials on DIY Electrical Wiring, from electricians and home improvement pros available that literally show you how it’s done.

Get an education

As great as internet learning is, it does have its limitations, and it’s no substitute for a trade school program. Learning how to do electrical work in an educational setting is the best way to ensure you know what you’re doing in home DIY electrical wiring.

What’s more, you can also make a career of electrical work. Electrical education programs are readily available at trade schools across the country. If you’re in Chicagoland, Coyne College is a great option.

Get an Electrical education

Spark your career at Coyne College

Coyne College in Chicago offers two programs for aspiring electrical workers: Electrical Construction and Planning, and Electrical Construction Maintenance.

Our Electrical Construction and Planning program can be completed in as few as 78 weeks, while the Electrical Construction and Maintenance program can be finished in 42 to 56 weeks, depending on whether you take day or night classes.

As a student in Coyne College’s electrical programs, you will gain a comprehensive knowledge of electrical work by taking courses such as:

  •     Electrical and Electronic Principles
  •     Electrical Test and Equipment Safety
  •     Electrical Construction – Residential
  •     Electrical Theory and Applications

You will learn the ins and outs of the electrician trade in a setting that focuses on your individual success. Coyne College’s highly knowledgeable instructors have years of real-world experience under their belts and are eager to help you make the most of your education.

Discover everything Coyne College’s electrical programs have to offer by visiting or calling 800-720-3990 today.

Resume and Interview Tips with Jenny Gonzalez

Resume and Interview tips

Job searching can be a daunting task. These quick resume and interview tips can elevate you to employers. Hear from our Director of Career Services, Jenny Gonzalez and ace your next interview!

Chicago’s own Coyne College offers the in-demand degree and diploma programs employers right here in Chicago are looking for. We work with some of the leading employers in the city to help get you placed in a challenging career upon graduation. From a Medical Assistant program to HVAC, Coyne College gives you hands-on training you’ll need to get the job done.

Jenny Gonzalez: My name is Jenny Gonzalez and I am the director of career services here at Coyne.

Definitely take time. This is something that’s going to take you some time, so you do need to invest some time. I would say definitely focus on the skill sections because that’s what the employers look for. Education is key. Of course, you want to mention Coyne College and the name of the program. If you do have a high GPA, if you have perfect attendance, that’s something you can add to your resume as well, and the experience. Make sure that you do list your past employers and sometimes students hesitate because it might not be related to the field, but it is very important that the employer actually knows that you do have a very solid employment history.

One of the tips that I can give for interviewing. Definitely be confident. I do hear from the employers a lot what they actually look for is attitude, positive attitude. That’s one of the most important qualities that they look for in an employee. Have eye contact. Body language is absolutely key and we do have to remain positive throughout the whole interview. I will say ask questions, do research about the company. I do see a lot of students who do not do research about the company before they walk in. That is very important and definitely ask questions about the organization or about the actual job itself.

A lot of people think it’s the education or the experience, but they say if someone comes in with a right positive attitude, they’re willing to train them, and if they remain coachable, it’s even better. I would say use career services from the beginning, from the moment you’re enrolled. We want to make sure that they succeed so they do have to stay in contact with us. I would say make sure that you start early. Don’t wait until you graduate. It is very important that you actually start three quarters. That’s when we can actually start working with the students, so I would actually advise everyone to come and see their career services representative, do some career planning.

If they’re not really sure how to interview or if they have any doubts, they can actually walk into the career services office or schedule an appointment and meet with one of our reps. We want to make sure that, not only you complete your education but that you actually start your career.

Questions to Ask About a Medical Assistant Program

Medical Assistant Questions

Medical assisting is an in-demand healthcare occupation that is vital to the day-to-day operation of healthcare facilities across the country. If you’re considering a career as a medical assistant, you likely have questions about the education and training involved, as well as the everyday tasks of the job. Here are some questions to ask before committing to medical assistant school, along with some helpful information:


Alumni Spotlight: Walter Arzet – HVAC

Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning

Walter Arzet exercised due diligence before deciding to go into the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning industry. It paid off, though, because he found his true passion – and lifelong career.

Arzet, a 1986 graduate of Coyne College in Chicago, was undecided about what to do after high school. “I talked to people, and I went to the schools: three different schools, three different trades,” he says. “You want to get to the source of why people are doing it or don’t want to do it.” That meant talking to people who were working in the field before enrolling in Coyne’s HVAC program.

Read moreAlumni Spotlight: Walter Arzet – HVAC