How to Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician?


Becoming a pharmacy technician isn’t easy. The goal requires a thorough understanding of both quantitative and qualitative aspects of both business and science. Due to the unique combinations of skill sets this requires, it’s important that anyone interested in receiving pharmacy technician training first understand the holistic means by which people typically grow into the role of pharmacy technician.

Why Become a Pharmacy Technician

Before understanding how to do things, it’s usually better to understand why you want to do things in the first place. In this context, you may be asking yourself, “Why become a pharmacy technician?” If you are asking yourself this question, then it’s worth considering the amount of growth that has taken root all across the pharmaceutical industry. In short, advances in biomedical engineering has led to no shortage of drugs that can help people improve the quality of their lives. As a pharmacy technician, you are afforded the privilege of knowing these drugs well enough to help distribute them in an orderly, efficient, and responsible manner for all stakeholders. In the age of “essential workers”, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that there is scarcely a more essential role in the evolving global technological society than the valiant duties of a pharmacy technician.

Step 1: Check Your Passion

The first step to becoming a pharmacy technician is to have a strong passion for the pharmaceutical industry. Thankfully, this is fairly straightforward since the pharmaceutical industry is so pervasive throughout the global economy, as well as relevant to the broader education system. In short, you enjoy learning about biology, chemistry, and mathematics—and you like helping people overcome their ailments—then the life of a pharmacy technician could be in your future.

Step 2: Learn About the Industry

If you find yourself considering whether you have the chops to be a pharmacy technician, then you’ll want to learn as much as possible about what the job of a pharmacy technician entails. In order to do this, you’re going to need to research into the field of technical pharmacy operations. You’ll also need to learn about how to optimally receive training from an experienced professional or teams of professionals who are knowledgeable about the requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician. This will ensure that you make the right decision regarding whether the career could be right for you.

Step 3: Receive Formalized Training

After you’ve done your research, the third step for becoming a pharmacy technician is to receive formalized pharmacy training. This will enable you to begin learning about the sort of hands-on experience you will need in order to work in a professional pharmacy environment. There are many certificate programs available, but the programs at Coyne College are known for offering the most advanced and comprehensive training on the issues that are most essential to your success.

Step 4: Complete an Externship

The fourth step for joining the booming industry of pharmacy technicians is to complete an externship to gain experience in a real-world pharmaceutical environment. This step of the training process is somewhat unique — whereas an internship allows someone to work within a company, an externship means that you work outside the company that employs the actual pharmacy. Oftentimes, these externships are made through personal contacts, although sometimes technical certification programs can include externship opportunities as well.

Step 5: Make Contacts in the Industry

Depending on your anticipated career trajectory, it’s worth considering whether the next steps are those that are right for you in your job as a pharmacy technician. In short, whereas continually making new contacts in the pharmaceutical industry is something that we should all aim to achieve in order to achieve a thriving professional culture, it may not be necessary to go our of your way making connections inside the industry — especially if you know that you want to be a technician, not an inside salesperson for the pharmaceutical industry (although in some cases the lines can be blurry).

Step 6:

Ultimately, you’ll want to develop the key instincts needed to succeed as a professional who has received specialized pharmaceutical training. This entails reading up on the physical, mental and emotional stresses that a pharmaceutical workplace can lead to. Once you’ve done that, consider applying to a pharmacy environment that best accommodates what you’re looking for after your pharmacy technician training. You’ll want to begin applying to programs that can best suit your interests, such as hospitals, national chain drug stores, and big box retailers — although other suitable locations also include mail-order pharmacies and independent pharmacies.

Closing Thoughts: Benefits of the Role

One of the most important aspects of being a pharmacy technician is the unprecedented job security that being a pharmacy technician is poised to entail for the foreseeable future. As mentioned toward the beginning of this article, it is easy to see how the natural growth of the pharmaceutical industry paves the way for an industry where pharmacy technicians will find themselves employable for decades to come. That said, it is also worth considering whether the job is right for everyone, since long days in a pharmaceutical setting can be emotionally taxing if you are not properly prepared.

Coyne College Chicago offers an in-demand Pharmacy technician program at the Chicago downtown campus. Upon completion of Coyne College’s pharmacy technician program in Chicago, graduates can be qualified for entry-level positions in retail or hospital pharmacies.

Why Becoming a Medical Assistant is a Great Career Choice


Healthcare is a rapidly growing field because the U.S. population is getting older and as people age, they require more medical care. That means jobs are in high demand. According to O*NET OnLine, the projected job growth for medical assistants in the U.S. between 2018-2028 is 23 percent, which is faster than average for other jobs. A medical assisting career could launch you into the healthcare field, giving you what you need for an exciting future.

Why is a medical assistant career such a great choice?

It’s so versatile. Part, A medical assistant is a jack of all trades—part clinician, part administrative assistant, part counselor, and part comforter—who helps doctors in private practice, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and more. Medical assistants are filling expanded and enhanced roles as healthcare follows the trend toward a more team-based approach to patient care.

A medical assistant can be a lifesaver to a physician, who needs to focus on diagnoses and treatment. A medical assistant can help by performing several clinical and administrative duties, including administering medications, checking vital signs, drawing blood, removing sutures, noting patient medical histories, processing insurance claims, and more.

What’s the work environment like?

You’ll never be bored when you follow a medical assisting career path because your responsibilities are so diverse. You can choose the hectic pace of a hospital’s surgical ward or trauma center or slow it down in a private physician’s practice. If you choose the latter, you may have an expanded duty list that is as much administrative as it is clinical or patient-facing.

Why Becoming a Medical Assistant is a Great Career Choice
A medical assisting career could launch you into the healthcare field, giving you what you need for an exciting future.
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What’s the work environment like?
You’ll never be bored when you follow a medical assisting career path because your responsibilities are so diverse.
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Where can medical assistants work?
As a medical assistant, you can work in a variety of locations besides hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices:
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Where can medical assistants work?

As a medical assistant, you can work in a variety of locations besides hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices:

  • Retirement facility
    The baby boomers are retiring in droves, and many are moving to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. They’re not necessarily ill, but they are elderly and need assistance. Medical assistants can help administer their medication, check their vitals, help with daily hygiene, handle basic physiotherapy and help them get around.
  • Palliative care facility
    Palliative care facilities help cancer patients relieve the symptoms that come with chemotherapy and radiation, giving them a chance to have a better quality of life. A medical assistant can help patients with their daily care, administer medication, change dressings, and lend support to them and their families.
  • Home healthcare
    If you’re looking for flexibility in your career, choosing to work in home healthcare may be ideal for you. Many people who need regular health monitoring choose to stay in their homes rather in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility. They may also need post-hospitalization follow-up care. A medical assistant can fulfill those needs by providing care in the patient’s home.
  • Military and government Veteran’s hospitals, military bases, rehab facilities, the battlefield, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs all need medical assistants to help teams of healthcare professionals. If you work for a specific branch of the military, you may be expected to complete basic training that is expected of all military personnel, along with additional training.
  • Insurance companies
    For careers in MA that are not as patient-centric, you may prefer to work for an insurance company. You will use more of the administrative skills you’ve learned, but you’ll also know medical terminology and basic medical care. You would be a valuable resource to an insurance company because you would understand patient medical records and be adept at organizing hospital admissions, lab services, and insurance claims.
  • Psychiatric or behavioral health facilities
    You could help patients recovering from addiction or substance abuse or assist with treatment planning, patient assessment, counseling, or family and patient education.
Because of the pandemic, is now the best time to train?

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented changes to us all, and medical assistant roles during COVID are expanding because of their versatile skillsets. Medical assistants can help combat COVID by supporting frontline doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. They may help with COVID-19 testing, taking swabs of symptomatic people. They might be needed to document testing; lift, position, and push patients on stretchers; monitor patient status; or perform CPR. In some states, medical assistants are helping in daycare facilities, watching the children of frontline personnel. They might also help in food services or housekeeping to help out in an all-hands-on-deck situation.

What if I don’t know what type of healthcare career I want?

Medical assisting can be a great springboard for other medical careers. Training is so broad that you get a foundation in all types of things, such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Basic insurance and billing
  • Clinical, lab and administrative procedures
  • Front-office practices, including coding and billing procedures
  • Patient relations and essential workplace skills
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Technology in the medical office

You could go on to any number of healthcare careers, including nursing, pharmacology, medical billing and coding, human resources, accounting, or electronic health records (EHR).

Where can I get in Chicago?

Enroll in the Coyne College medical assistant program. In Coyne’s 10-month diploma program, you’ll have comprehensive training that covers clinic, laboratory, and administrative procedures, preparing you for an entry-level position as a medical assistant. Additionally, you’ll participate in an MA externship that gives you a chance to practice your newly learned skills in an actual medical facility, working with real patients.

At Coyne College, you’ll get hands-on learning from instructors who are all industry professionals, financial aid for those who qualify, career services, and job placement assistance.

Contact Coyne College today and train to become a medical assistant. Classes begin September 28, 2020!

How to Become a Medical Coder: Your Complete Guide


People choose careers for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s to be part of a growing industry with an in-demand job. For others, it’s for a competitive salary, flexible hours, the option of working from home, or just one that is rewarding. Still, others want a career they can get into with just months of training rather than years. Becoming a medical coder or biller can give you a career that is all that and more.

What do medical billers and coders do?

They keep doctors and nurses on track and organized by compiling, processing, and maintaining patient records in a way that is consistent with healthcare system requirements. The role is vitally important to the healthcare industry as a liaison among medical providers, patients, and insurance companies. Many times, the titles (and duties) are intertwined, but each has specific duties.

The medical coder job requirements don’t involve patient treatment or diagnosis. However, he or she does need to have a basic understanding of anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology. Each diagnosis, treatment, or procedure has an assigned industry-standard code that the medical biller must accurately document in the patient’s health record. A medical biller, on the other hand, takes the coded information and uses it to submit claims to insurance companies so they can bill patients. If you work in a small office, you may be a medical coder/biller and do the job of both.


What are these codes a medical biller and coder needs to know?

The codes are listed in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which is an organized way of telling a patient’s entire medical care story and his or her interaction with a doctor and/or hospital. The World Health Organization (WHO) created the ICD in 1948 as the gold standard for reporting diseases and medical conditions. The thousands of codes are globally recognized, so it’s easy to share and compare patient medical information among various hospitals, regions, and providers. They also ensure that the billed procedure is consistent with the patient’s diagnosis. For example, if you code conjunctivitis (“pink eye”) as a reason to request an x-ray, the claim would probably be rejected. A clerical error on the part of the medical coder—such as showing that a patient with a known allergy to penicillin received penicillin for an infection rather than another antibiotic—could result in serious harm to the patient.

In addition to ICD codes, a medical coder or biller needs to know CPT® (Current Procedural Terminology) coding. These five-character codes are the U.S. standard for the way healthcare professionals report and document medical, surgical, lab, radiology, anesthesiology, and E/M (evaluation and management) services. Some are fairly simple, but others go into more detail, so it’s critical that the coder pay attention to detail.

What are the duties of a medical coder and biller?

The coder looks at the patient’s chart to see the doctor’s notes, lab and radiology results and then assigns the ICD and/or CPT code that corresponds to the service performed, documenting it in the chart. The billing portion of the job may include the following tasks:

• Obtain referrals and pre-authorizations for required treatment procedures
• Verify insurance benefits and eligibility for treatments, hospitalization, and procedures
• Review patient bills for accuracy
• Use medical billing software to submit claims and bills
• Research and appeal denied claims
• Follow-up on unpaid claims
• Communicate with patients about billing issues or to set up payment plans
• Liaise with insurance companies

Are there any specific personal skills a medical biller and coder should have?

There are many personal skills you should possess if you want to do your job well:

• Attention to detail to enter the right code and check bills for accuracy
• Excellent communications to converse with insurance companies, patients and healthcare colleagues
• Good customer service to speak diplomatically and accurately to patients and insurance companies
• Accounting and bookkeeping basics to understand billing statements and reconcile them
• Computer ability to be able to use medical billing software
• Medical terminology to understand if a code seems incompatible with a diagnosis or treatment
• Problem-solving to handle discrepancies or inconsistencies in billing
• Teamwork ability to interact with other medical staff members


What’s the job outlook for medical coders and billers?

According to O*NETOnLine, the employment rate for medical records and health information technicians (billers and coders) is expecting to grow 11 percent through 2028, which is must faster than average for other occupations.

What if I want to know how to become a medical coder?

You must receive medical billing/coding training if you want to become a medical coder. Enroll in Coyne College medical billing and coding programs for an education that teaches you medical terminology, health records management, insurance procedures, billing software, and medical coding, as well as business communications and office administration. Your allied health training is 48 weeks of medical programs in Chicago that includes six weeks of electronic health records instruction—important in today’s real-world healthcare settings. Additionally, your hands-on training includes an externship that gives you the opportunity to learn in a professional setting in the Chicago area and helps you develop your skills and build self-confidence.

Contact Coyne College today to train as a medical billing and coding specialist. Classes begin September 28.

Pharmacy Technician Industry Opportunities


As our population ages and baby boomers enter retirement in droves, the demand for healthcare professionals is increasing exponentially. That means there is a demand for pharmacy technicians to dispense their medications—especially in Chicago, a hub of medical care. Pharmacy technician jobs opportunities can be found in many workplaces—including some you may not have thought about.

Retail or chain pharmacies

Most pharmacy technician jobs—about 70 percent—are found in retail or chain pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreen’s, Rite Aid and Walmart. These jobs offer flexible hours and workdays. The majority of a pharmacy tech’s day will be spent processing and dispensing prescriptions, but other tasks may include managing inventory or handling patient and order information.


About 17 percent of pharmacy technicians—usually certified technicians—work in hospitals. Although they spend the bulk of their time preparing prescriptions as they would in retail pharmacies, in hospitals they prepare single doses of medication. They may also fill syringes or prepare IV solutions for short- and long-term or ER patients.

Managed care facilities

Nursing homes and assisted living and mental health facilities all require pharmacy technicians to prepare and dispense medications for patients. Duties are similar to those in hospitals because medications are prepared as single doses. However, this can be a very routine job, as patients often need their meds two or three times a day.

Compounding pharmacies

A pharma career could lead to work in a compounding pharmacy, where certified technicians prepare compound (custom) prescriptions. Some of these smaller, independently owned pharmacies require their pharmacy technicians to have specific certification—and excellent math skills—to do their job. Because there are few of these pharmacies in a region, they usually pay very well.

Mail-order pharmacies

Pharmacy techs who work in high-volume mail-order pharmacies should be tech savvy because common meds (heart and cholesterol, blood thinners, painkillers) are dispensed by machines. The technician needs to learn the software to fill the machine, fix jam and reload label paper. He or she usually works on a computer to input prescriptions and process refills received via fax, phone or mail.

Nuclear pharmacies

Jobs for pharmacy technicians in nuclear pharmacies must be trained to handle and prepare radioactive medication. They need to perform mathematical calculations when compounding medications to ensure safety. They also label medications and manage inventory. Since this is such a specialized field, fewer than one percent of pharm tech jobs are in nuclear pharmacies.

Pharmaceutical industry

The pharma industry is another good job category to add to a résumé. The companies that develop, produce and market drugs need pharmacy technicians to help with various tasks. These duties could include triage, coordinating drug information requests, assisting with literature searches, writing drug information documents or helping with other quality assurance-related matters.

Government agencies

Many government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Veterans Administration, Indian Health Services and the Armed Forces need the help of pharmacy technicians. They might manage drug inventory and pharmaceutical supplies, replenish medications in dispensing systems, or compound and dispense medications.

How to become

According to O*NET OnLine, the projected job growth for pharmacy technicians between 2018-2028 is faster than average for other jobs (7-10 percent). Coyne College Chicago offers pharmacy technician training. Enroll in the 42-week Coyne College pharmacy tech program to prepare for a rewarding career. You’ll learn how to enter and order meds, keep records, mix IV solutions and compound products, and fulfill prescription orders. In addition to traditional classroom instruction by industry-professional faculty members, you’ll participate in a hands-on externship that will give you real-world experience.

Contact Coyne College to train for an in-demand career as a pharmacy technician.

Why Should I Consider an Allied Health Career?


If you are considering what career path to pursue, you may want to consider training for an allied health profession. This is a great and rewarding career choice for anyone who wants to help people. Coyne College has several programs that could help you get started working in this field.

What Is an Allied Health Career?

Allied health jobs are those that use science- and evidence-based techniques to diagnose, evaluate, and treat acute and chronic conditions. They may also promote wellness and preventative medical practices. Some jobs in this field also provide support and administrative assistance to medical practices. Specifically, these professions are non-physician and non-nurse roles in healthcare.

People working in these roles may perform diverse responsibilities. For example, different roles may work in laboratory testing, perform administrative work, interact with patients, provide emergency medicine, or complete many other duties. Typically, people working in an allied health profession will specialize in a particular skillset.

What Are Some Examples of Allied Health Professions?

Jobs in the allied health field range from diagnostic personnel to health information technologists. The following are a few examples of titles that fall under this umbrella:

• Medical assistant
Pharmacy technician
• Medical laboratory scientist
• Phlebotomist
• Medical billing and coding specialist

What Are the Benefits of Allied Health Professionals?

Working in an allied health profession can be a rewarding experience both financially and personally. There are many choices in careers. However, working in an allied health job has a unique set of benefits that attract many people. Perhaps the following advantages make this the right career path for you:

  • High Job Satisfaction: Many allied health jobs involve working with people and helping to ensure the good health of patients. This can be a very satisfying way to earn a living for the right person. It is an opportunity to have a direct and significant impact on someone else’s life. Few jobs are comparably fulfilling.
  • Job Security: Healthcare is a necessity. Therefore, the industry tends to be well-established and consistently growing. As long as there are people, they will need to receive quality healthcare services. There are almost always jobs available for people with training in the allied health professions.
  • Very Flexible: Compared to many other professions, allied health jobs are quite flexible. The training is relatively quick for the healthcare field. Plus, there are many jobs available in different sub-fields. If, for example, you pursued a medical assistant program, you could work in several possible jobs. Furthermore, there are healthcare jobs near every population center.

In addition to the above benefits, many people find that allied healthcare training dovetails well with a military career. There are many healthcare-related jobs in the military, meaning that you can find good employment with a chance to serve your community and country. Some people receive their training while working in the military and others learn outside then transition to a military career. Again, this is a very flexible field to work in.

Why Allied Health vs. Another Healthcare Job?

Many of the above benefits apply to other jobs in the healthcare field. However, allied health positions tend to be relatively accessible and involve much shorter training processes than becoming a physician or nurse.

Each individual must decide whether pursuing a career in allied health is the right choice versus getting training for other jobs. However, for most people, it makes more financial sense to get training through a shorter program then get right into the workplace.

Furthermore, allied health programs are usually less expensive compare to traditional college courses. If you are eager to get into the healthcare field without investing the time and money necessary to pursue a medical or nursing degree, this may be the right option for you.

What Is Involved in Training?

The exact training requirements depend on the program you pursue. However, you can always expect to learn hand-on with practical training, studying theory, and learning from case studies. Most programs can be completed in less than a year. However, you can extend your studies further if you wish you to attend part-time while working.

At Coyne College, many of our allied health programs involve some externship training with a partner organization. We have found that our combination of practical and theory-based allied health career training empowers our students to master the skills they need to succeed quickly and thoroughly.

Many of our courses blend the clerical and clinical aspects of allied health professions, especially our medical assistant and pharmacy technician programs. This helps our students to gain the knowledge and abilities they need to maintain a highly flexible career. All our programs will help you enjoy the benefits of allied health professionals.

How Does COVID19 Impact Working as an Allied Health Professional?

The impact of COVID19 has been felt throughout the world in almost every manner imaginable. In the allied health field, there is greater demand than ever for skilled workers. You can anticipate finding more job openings available if you get the training you need.

While the situation will be very different after the 10 or more months necessary to complete training, there is no question that there will be long-lasting effects of the pandemic.

Understandably, some people are concerned about their safety working in healthcare during the crisis. However, organizations are doing an increasingly good job of protecting their workers. Plus, once the pandemic is contained, there will still be plenty of allied healthcare jobs.

Work Towards a Brighter Future at Coyne College

Does an allied health career sound right for you? Take your first steps towards a brighter future by enrolling in one of Coyne College’s allied health career programs. Learn more about our medical assistant, pharmacy technician, and medical billing and coding specialist programs. We have classes starting regularly to help you get on the path to success sooner. Apply online for admission.

Pharmacy Technicians: Front Liners of COVID-19


Pharmacy technicians are responders to the coronavirus pandemic, showing their dedication and diligence every day. They play a vital role when it comes to providing the public with medicines, therapeutics, vaccines and patient care. It’s no surprise that there is an increasing pharmacy job demand to help with COVID-19 patient care whenever possible.

Brave pharmacy technicians—COVID-19 front liners—are stepping up to the plate to help out in any way they can.

Promoting during COVID-19

Pharmacies and their pharmacy technicians are following CDC guidelines during the pandemic. They are all wearing face masks and requiring anyone who visits the pharmacy to do the same. Additionally, if they have fevers or coronavirus symptoms, they are staying home until they have completely recovered to protect their fellow staff members and their customers.


Taking extra precautions when filling prescriptions

Filling prescriptions and dispensing medications are key jobs of a pharmacy technician, but in this time of COVID-19, it is necessary to take extra precautions. Often, pharmacy staff must consult with customers and explain their medications, the dosage and possible side effects. Now, however, social distancing is a must to lower the chances of spreading the virus. Here’s what pharmacy technicians can do:

  • Have hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol) available on counters for customers to use; pharmacy staff should have easy access to soap and water for washing their hands frequently.
  • Ask customers to submit prescription orders via the phone or online whenever possible and pre-pay online if they can.
  • Limit direct contact by placing the filled prescription on the counter for the patient to pick up.
  • Avoid handling insurance cards and ask the customer to read the information aloud.
  • Try to not touch items the customer has touched.
  • Encourage home delivery or curbside pickup of medications.
  • Put a plastic barrier or vinyl shield between the pharmacy desk and the patient and add a pass-through slot to avoid direct contact.

Carefully reconsider administering routine preventive vaccinations to adults

Pharmacies often provide routine vaccinations for seasonal flu, shingles and pneumonia to their customers. However, that involves close contact, which could be unsafe. The CDC recommends evaluating the community’s COVID-19 situation before regularly administering vaccines. If it’s deemed safe, give priority to older adults or those with underlying conditions. Screening for fever and COVID-19 symptoms is advisable.

Multitasking in the era of COVID-19

The evolving role of pharmacy technicians during the pandemic is at the forefront of health care. Pharmacy technicians are multitasking during the crisis. They’re supporting dispensing, immunizations, compounding and many other duties. Some are even helping at long-term care facilities to facilitate immunizations of residents. Some pharmacies are trying to secure COVID-19 testing, which the techs can administer.

The job demand for pharmacy technicians

According to O*NET OnLine, jobs for pharmacy technicians are projected to grow 7 to 10 percent through 2028, which is faster than the average for other jobs. Pharmacy tech jobs are in demand because they are part of the allied health industry, which is growing every day. Ten of every 20 occupations of high growth in the U.S. are in health care—especially in Chicago, a hub for medicine. As pharmacies expand their offerings (including clinical care) to customers, more pharmacy technicians will be required to staff them.

A pharmacy technician’s

A pharmacy technician has a number of duties that make a typical day of work different each day. Specific responsibilities could vary, depending on where the tech works: in a hospital, lab, retail pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, nursing home or mail-order pharmacy. These are some of the typical duties:

  • Communicate with customers. The tech is usually the first point of contact for pharmacy customers—the face of the pharmacy—and as such needs to greet, listen to, interact with and help customers who have questions about their prescriptions and health.
  • Enter data in the computer. This might include entering insurance information, changing patients’ personal information, ordering supplies and creating labels.
  • Process medications. Count pills, fill bottles and label medications.
  • Fulfill prescription requests. It’s critical to dispense drugs properly: check for drug interactions, duplicate prescription requests, correct dosage and more.
  • Manage pharmacy inventory. As new stock comes in, you’ll need to put it on the shelf and also make sure medications have not expired.
  • Help patients take care of their health. You’ll need to go over the details of their medication, answer questions and make sure they understand how and when to take it.
Health care training programs for pharmacy technicians

You can get pharmacy technician training at Coyne College Chicago. Complete your program in as little as 42 weeks. Enroll in Coyne’s 42-week pharmacy tech program and prepare for a rewarding career. You’ll learn how to enter and order meds, keep records, mix IV solutions and compound products, and fulfill prescription orders. In addition to traditional classroom instruction by industry-professional faculty members, you’ll participate in a hands-on externship that will give you real-world experience. Once you graduate, you will be qualified for entry-level positions in retail or hospital pharmacies.

A career as a pharmacy technician is on the health care industry lookout. Contact Coyne College today to train for your career.

Medical Assistants’ New Roles During COVID-19 Pandemic


A medical assistant is known for his or her versatile clinical and administrative skills. That’s why an MA plays such a vital role in the healthcare community. However, in these days of COVID-19, medical facilities are experiencing an all-hands-on-deck situation. That means all available resources and personnel are needing in the COVID-19 crisis. Medical assistants roles in Covid-19 are more important than ever to take on expanded duties.

What are the usual administrative and clinical duties of a medical assistant?

A medical assistant helps doctors in private practice, hospitals and outpatient clinics perform a number of clinical and administrative duties: giving medications, checking vital signs, drawing blood, removing sutures, noting patient medical histories, processing insurance claims and more:

Clinical duties may include:

• Preparing patients for medical examinations
• Drawing blood
• Removing sutures and changing dressings
• Performing basic laboratory exams
• Notating medical histories
• Assisting the doctor during exams
• Instructing patients about how and when to take medications
• Advising patients about special diets they may need

Administrative duties may include:

• Welcoming patients and answering the phone
• Setting appointments
• Overseeing patients’ medical records
• Supervising patients’ insurance information
• Organizing necessary information, such as hospital admissions and laboratory services
• Handling correspondence


What extra help can a medical assistant offer during a public emergency such as COVID-19?

Medical assistants and medical students can help combat COVID by lending support to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the front line. Their help is especially needed as COVID-19 causes clinic consolidation. Needs and situations can be different in different states, but all can use the additional help.

In Wisconsin, for example, medical assistant apprentices are taking swabs of people who are thought to be symptomatic. Some are also supporting teachers at UW Health’s daycare facility by watching the children of healthcare workers on the front line.

Lifespan hiring in Rhode Island includes finding medical assistants to help during the COVID-19 crisis at various hospitals. Their duties will include documentation assessment, monitoring medication, administrative assistance and help with daily living activities of patients. That could include lifting, positioning and pushing patients on stretchers; monitoring patient status; or even performing CPR.

The University of Maryland Medical System has created a temporary Emergency Staffing Pool to support patients, the community and employees. Medical assistants are being hired to work in food services, guest services and clerical areas. They can also help with patient care: bathing, transporting, feeding, shampooing and performing minor housekeeping. Additionally, they can relay messages, assemble equipment and page healthcare providers. Those with clinical skills may be asked to perform additional duties.

What if medical assistants are not yet certified?

The demand for their skills is so great that the AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) is extending exam eligibilities for an additional six months so new medical assisting grads can help during the pandemic. Similarly, if a working medical assistant’s recertification is due, the credentialing deadline is being extended.


How can a person become a medical assistant?

Medical assistants are in high demand. According to O*NETOnLine, the projected job growth through 2028 is 11 percent or more—much faster than average. In Illinois, the rate is 14 percent. To become a medical assistant, you must enroll in a comprehensive training program that covers clinical, laboratory and administrative procedures. Coyne College Chicago offers a 54 weeks diploma program that will prepare you for an entry-level position as a medical assistant. You’ll study:

• Medical terminology
• Anatomy and pathophysiology
• Pharmacology
• Electronic Health Records
• Clinical and administrative procedures
• Medical law and ethics
• Phlebotomy and laboratory procedures
• Basic insurance and billing
• Technology in the medical office

Additionally, you’ll participate in a medical assisting externship that gives you a chance to practice your newly learned skills in an actual medical facility, working with real patients.

When you enroll in medical assistant programs in Coyne College, you’ll get hands-on learning from instructors who are all industry professionals. Coyne also offers financial aid for those who qualify, along with career services and job placement assistance.

Contact Coyne College today and train to become a medical assistant.

Work from Home in a High-Demand Occupation: Medical Billing and Coding


Having an occupation in demand that can go with you wherever you may be is a huge plus. When you can work at home, you have advantages that others do not have: no commute time, flexible scheduling, not having to go to an office during inclement weather and more. When you are working from home in medical billing, the advantages are greater because it provides a home-based career option that is in high demand.

What is medical billing and coding?

Medical billers and coders are needed to handle insurance and patient claims, billing patients properly so medical professionals are paid for their services. In the healthcare industry, coders apply industry-standard codes that relate to specific medical diagnoses, treatments and procedures to patient health records. Medical billers then take the coded information and submit the bill. However, if your job is for a larger organization, you may just do medical billing. If you work for a small company, you may do the work of both medical biller and coder.

What are the reasons to consider medical coding and billing as a career?

Medical billing and coding careers offer the following benefits:

You can work from home. Many healthcare providers outsource their work, so you do not need to work from a specific office location. Many billers and coders are independent contractors.

It offers an opportunity to build a business with little overhead costs. Once you are known in the medical industry as a professionally trained and reliable biller and coder, you can develop your home-based business with low cost: you only need a computer, up-to-date medical coding and billing software and some clients or a list of possible clients.

You’re in charge of your career. You can choose your own hours and pay rate and accept as many (or as few) jobs as you want. Additionally, there is no one standing over your shoulder telling you what to do and when to do it; ideally, you will have the organization and self-discipline necessary to complete your work on time.

Avoid the physical demands of working in an on-site location. You don’t need to commute to your job and work in a space that is set up according to your employer’s specifications. When you work at home, you can find the place that is most comfortable for you. If you have any kind of physical disability, this is an ideal career option.

You can work AND be a stay-at-home parent. Because you determine your hours, you can also be home for your children and family priorities. Additionally, since you’re your own boss, you could choose to not work during the summer or school vacations.

How can I get medical billing and coding from home training?

Coyne College Chicago offers a 48-week medical billing and coding diploma program. Currently, classes and training are provided online. During your program, you’ll learn medical terminology, health records management, insurance procedures, billing software, and medical coding in addition to business communications and office administration. Six weeks of your Coyne College medical billing and coding program will be devoted to electronic health records—important in today’s real-world healthcare settings. Additionally, your hands-on training includes an externship that gives you the opportunity to learn in a professional setting in the Chicago area and helps you develop your skills and build self-confidence.

What is the career outlook for medical billers and coders?

According to O*NETOnLine, the employment rate for medical records and health information technicians (billers and coders) is expecting to grow 11 percent through 2028, which is must faster than average for other occupations. As the U.S. population rapidly ages, people usually require more medical care. That means when you take the career step toward medical coding and billing, you’ll be available to handle the many insurance and patient claims. You can work from home, of course, or you may prefer to work alongside doctors and nurses in a hospital, doctor’s office, clinic, nursing home or other medical facility. Your skills can provide much-needed assistance in the healthcare community. In terms of average salary, the median wage for a medical biller and coder was $42,630 a year in 2019—and with the anticipated need for workers, it is very likely that wages will increase.

For a job with a promising future—and something you can do from home—consider becoming a medical billing and coding specialist. Contact Coyne College for more information.


Understanding the Value of Medical Assistant Externships


What Is a Medical Assisting Externship?

The externship portion of MA training at Coyne College is an essential part of preparing you to enter the healthcare field upon completion of your training course. Externship opportunities are designed to help you get the experience and mentorship you need before you begin applying for jobs. It’s a type of job shadowing, but you will not just be watching, but assisting doctors, nurses and other health professionals as they provide patient care.

Externships can take place in a variety of medical settings. Depending on where your interests lie, you can tailor your hands-on experience to be something that is exciting and engaging to you personally. A few locations where you might be able to job shadow an experienced medical assistant include

  • hospitals
  • medical billing offices
  • urgent cares
  • clinics
  • physician practices

Requirement for Certification

The hands-on hours you get during an externship are a requirement to complete your medical assistant coursework and get certified in most MA programs in Chicago and around the country. As you learn about your duties from an experienced MA, you will also get to put the skills you learned in the classroom into practice. You will be evaluated by the professionals overseeing your work to make sure you are developing the skills you need to be a good medical assistant. These reports go back to your instructors who use them to determine if you have completed the requirements for the course. The externship is usually the very last part of the course you need to complete before taking the certification exam.


Gain Real Life Experience

No matter how great classroom instruction is, nothing really prepares like real life experience. As you follow your mentor, you will start by observing what he does. Soon after, you will be given opportunities to try performing some of the tasks you have been observing and learning about. Whether performing assessments, giving medications, removing stitches, collecting specimens or educating patients, you will grow your knowledge and confidence as you practice. Medical assistant externships are a great way to gain experience so that you are ready to work on your own.

How do I Get an Externship in Medical Assisting?

Medical assisting is the frontline of healthcare. Since MAs are often the first person a patient sees when they come in to be seen, it is important that any medical assistant feels confident enough to keep the patient calm. An excellent way to increase your confidence as you train is to get lots of really good hands-on learning during your externship. Finding a good fit for your career aspirations is an important part of this process. Rather than taking whatever opportunity comes your way, there are things you can do to narrow down your options and make sure you will gain the experience and knowledge you need.

Know Your Interests and Schedule

If you are particularly interested in a certain field of medicine, you may choose to pursue that route for an externship. As you reach out to potential sites, make sure you have a clear understanding of what the requirements are for your program, including the number of hours needed and timeline you have for completion. This will help the clinic or hospital determine if they will be able to give you the experience you need. It is also helpful to plan your schedule ahead of time so that you know exactly what days and times you will be available to be on site for the externship.

Reach Out to Your Instructors and Peers

Given that your teachers and staff members are experienced in the medical assisting field, they likely have lots of great connections to help you find an externship that suits your interests. You can also choose to speak to former students who have completed externships to see what their thoughts are on their experiences. If you aren’t sure if the positions you are looking at would be a good fit, discussing them with others can help you gain some insight.

What Will I Be Doing During my Externship?

Medical assistants play a vital role in the medical world. Depending on where you choose to complete your training, you may find yourself performing a variety of tasks including

  • Assessing patients by checking vital signs, reviewing patient history and performing preliminary observation of injuries or illnesses
  • Perform laboratory testing by collecting and processing blood and specimen samples, packing and sending samples to the lab and filling out necessary paperwork
  • Prepare patients for medical procedures such as EKG testing
  • Assist in clerical duties such as scheduling appointments, answering phones, collecting insurance information and preparing patient files
  • Administering medications orally and via injection as ordered by a physician
  • Assist patients with mobility and other activities of daily living
  • Educate patients about various health conditions, treatments and other recommendations from their physicians

Medical assisting is a fast-paced career that is vital to the healthcare industry today. It is essential to receive the right kind of training through classroom learning and hands on experience. As the first and last person patients see, a knowledgable and skilled medical assistant can make a big impact on how that they feel about their care. If becoming an MA sounds like an exciting career you would like to pursue, consider looking into programs in your area. As you prepare for a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry, you will learn the techniques, skills and knowledge it takes to be a true professional.

February 2020: First Heart Awareness Month of the Decade


Heart disease is a leading factor in the number of deaths occurring in the United States – someone dies every 37 seconds due to it. However, since 1964, February has been designated American Heart Month a.k.a heart awareness month. This time serves as the right opportunity for people to take extra care of their heart and health.

There are so many simple ways to ensure you lead a healthy life and have a strong heart such as eating well, exercising and leading a stress-free life. Many of these things are quite simple to achieve, if you just put your mind to it! Take a further look on things you can do to keep your heart healthy in 2020 and beyond.

Every 37 seconds, someone in the United States dies from heart disease. Black, white, male, female: cardiovascular disease does not discriminate. It’s actually the leading cause of death in the U.S., responsible for one out of every four deaths. Since 1964, February has been designated American Heart Month, a.k.a. heart awareness month. With this year’s event—the first in a new decade—why not make this the year to stay healthy and reduce your risk of heart disease? Find out what you can do to be heart healthy in 2020.

How do your risks stack up?

Health conditions, lifestyle, age and family history all play a part in your likelihood to get heart disease. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 47 percent of Americans have at lease one risk factor for heart disease. 

Which health conditions contribute to a higher risk of heart disease?

Higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure and smoking all up your risk for heart disease. Diabetics or those living with obesity are at additional risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Does what I eat or drink increase my risk?

You’ve probably been told that your eating habits correlate to certain health conditions. If you regularly consume foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol and salt, you’re not doing your heart any favors. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and triglycerides (fatty substance in the blood).

Isn’t heart disease hereditary?

Heredity certainly can play a role, but it’s also likely that people with a family history of heart disease share some common environments and factors that can up their chances.

What about age, race and sex?

Although heart disease can occur at any time, the risk increases with age. The risk is the same for men and women and most ethnic groups, but African American men are more susceptible to heart disease than others.

How can I stay heart healthy?

Recognizing the risk factors is the first step toward a heart-healthy life. Here are some things you can do to keep your heart healthy:

  • Avoid smoking (and second-hand smoke)
  • Stay active (exercise moderately most days)
  • Eat a healthy diet (that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and limited processed foods)
  • Know your numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose)
  • Limit alcohol consumption (no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men) 

Remember to move with heart: be aware of heart disease risks and what you can do to stay healthy. 

Thinking about a career in health care? Consider one of the allied health programs offered at Coyne College Chicago. Train to become a medical assistant, pharmacy technician or medical coding and billing specialist.