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 10-month 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.

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.

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:


What to Expect from a Medical Assistant Certification Exam

Medical Assistant Certification Exam

Certification can be a valuable credential for medical assistants. Not only is it an indicator of your skills and knowledge, it can also help you stand out among other candidates and appear more marketable to future employers. You may be required to earn certification depending on your employer.

There are a few different bodies that offer medical assistant certifications, such as the National Center for Competency Testing and American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). For the purposes of this blog, however, we’ll focus on the RMA exam issued by the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

Passing the RMA won’t be easy. It will test your general knowledge, administrative knowledge and clinical knowledge of the medical assisting profession. Here are some helpful tidbits to know for when you’re preparing to earn your RMA certification from AMT.

Exam structure

AMT’s RMA exam consists of anywhere between 200 and 230 questions, all multiple choice. The questions on the exam are weighted depending on their difficulty. It is also in your best interest to eliminate options you know to be incorrect, as picking an answer that is the second-best will still help your score more than the worst answer.

For example, if the answer to a question is “femur” and you choose another leg bone, perhaps “tibia,” you are likely to be rewarded more than someone who answers “scapula.” The scoring system can be confusing, so you’ll want to read up on it prior to taking the exam. For this, AMT’s Candidate Handbook is a great resource.


Exam timing

The AMT’s RMA exam has a time limit of two hours. With at least 200 items on the exam, you’ll have to pace yourself to make sure you have enough time to answer them all. Taking practice exams is a good way to learn how to effectively budget your time over the course of the exam. Managing your time spent on questions will help you save more time for the harder ones while you breeze through those you know like the back of your hand.

Subject matter

AMT’s RMA exam is designed to test your general knowledge of medical assisting across many areas of the discipline. The exam covers four major subject areas: anatomy and physiology, administrative medical assisting, clinical medical assisting and clinical patient interaction.

The RMA exam is not divided into subjects, so you need to be prepared for a question from any of these categories at any time. You can find a more complete rundown of material that is on the exam in AMT’s RMA exam outline.

Study resources available

AMT offers an abundance of resources to help guide you in your studies for the RMA exam. These include a list of suggested readings and references, as well as online review courses that are available for a fee.. AMT’s website is full of other helpful study resources as well. These handy resources can help you make the most of your time spent preparing to ace the RMA exam and earn your RMA certification.

Practice exams

Speaking of resources, some of the most helpful ones available are online practice exams. These are also available through the AMT for a fee. Medical assistant practice tests give you a feel for what the real exam will be like and can help you figure out which subject areas you need to focus on most in your preparation. Depending on your medical assisting school, practice exams may be available for free or at a discounted rate.

Before you get ready to take the RMA, you need to learn the skills. There’s no better place in Chicagoland to do that than Coyne College.

MA Exam

Launch your medical assisting career at Coyne

Coyne College’s Medical Assistant program is your first step to becoming a medical assistant. Coyne’s medical assisting program will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge you need to succeed in a booming profession.

You’ll take courses in subjects like medical terminology, pharmacology and medical billing, taught by our experienced instructors. We’re so dedicated to your success that our curriculum includes a 6-week portion on electronic health records and a required externship.

You can complete our program in as soon as 54 weeks, meaning you can be ready for an entry-level role in a little over one year. We offer day options at our campus in the heart of the Chicago Loop.

Learn more about the medical assisting program at Coyne College in Chicago by calling us at 800-720-3990 or visiting today!