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What no one tells you about student loans

Written by Ashworth College on Thursday, 03 September 2015. Posted in Why Ashworth

What No One Tells You About Student Loans

Did you know the class of 2015 set a new record as the most indebted class of college graduates so far? It's estimated that graduates who took out student loans will, on average, owe a total of around $35,000 by the time they finish school. When combined with the loans parents took out on their behalf, the numbers add up to 10 times more in student loan debt since 1994.

Did these graduates and parents understand how much debt they would take on at the onset of their college journey? Maybe. Maybe not. Choosing the right school is important, and many students only consider what they want to achieve from going to school—whether that be a better job, a promotion, or making more money to afford that bigger house or family vacation. But, determining just how much debt you're willing to take on for yourself or your child, plus understanding how much time it will take to pay back, should also be an equal part of the decision-making process. Here are some things to keep in mind.

On the rise

Traditional college institutions are becoming more and more expensive. Not only is tuition rising, interest rates are also expected to increase and may become unpredictable now that they are no longer fixed rates set by Congress. Interest rates are now tied to the US Treasury 10-year note, which means that when the Treasury note rates go up or down, so will federal student loan rates. Based on Congressional Budget Office projections, rates on undergraduate loans will increase to 5.72%, up from the 2014–2015 rate of 4.66%.

The default rate on student loans has reached a historic high

According to statistics from the Department of Education, more than 1 in 8 outstanding loans are in default, and more than 1 in 5 borrowers who should be making payments on their loans are one year or more behind. In 2014 alone, half a million Americans defaulted on their student loans.

The impact of defaulting is uglier than you might think

If you default, the government can actually withhold up to 15% of your income and they might tack on a 16%-25% collection fee on the total current amount due. Not only are your wages at risk, social security payments and tax refunds can also be withheld – even your spouse's tax refund can be withheld if you default!

Bad credit. No credit. It's a problem.

Defaulting can make it nearly impossible to buy a new home, car, rent an apartment – it could even stop you from signing for your own cell phone. Unlike consumer debt, which can sometimes get wiped away by filing for bankruptcy in cases of hardship, student loans fall into their own special category and likely won't be dismissed.

You have options

A lot has changed in higher education and the U.S. economy during the past decade. While many factors pushed the price tag of a degree to increase significantly, others such as effective career education and online learning have helped make college an attainable, affordable option by significantly reducing or eliminating the cost of transportation, living expenses and textbooks. Today, there's no one-way approach to a college education – but there are a variety of ways to finance it, including options that won't bury you in debt.

Want to read more stories like this?
How Can I Pay for College Without Student Loans?
A College Student's Guide to Staying Out of Debt
Infographic: Making a College Budget Checklist

About the Author

Ashworth College

Ashworth College

Our community is full of independent, motivated, growth-focused students. Dive into our blog to explore diverse stories from our students, friends, experts, and executives. From tips & tricks to student experiences and alumni stories, the Ashworth Blog is all about celebrating our community's accomplishments and passions.

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What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

Career Healthcare What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

If you’ve taken any prescription medications, you’ve no doubt interacted with a pharmacy technician. These professionals are most recognizable as the folks at your local drug store – handing you a prescription bag and ringing up your purchase on the cash register.

Retail pharmacies aren’t the only places pharm techs work, though. Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to mail-order prescription facilities. And their job tasks can vary greatly depending on where they work.

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do in a Retail Setting?

About half of all pharm techs work in drug stores, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In a retail environment, pharmacy technicians work under the direction of the registered pharmacist to handle a number of important tasks, including:

  • Receiving prescription information from patients and physicians
  • Counting medication pills or items to be dispensed
  • Packaging and labeling medications
  • Maintaining patient records, including allergy information
  • Processing and troubleshooting insurance claims
  • Maintaining drug inventory

Most pharmacy technicians employed in a retail setting work full time, sometimes in shifts that include nights and weekends. The median pharmacy technician salary in retail drug stores is about $30,000 per year, and demand for pharm techs is expected to grow rapidly as the Baby Boomer population continues to age.

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do in a Hospital?

Some pharm techs don’t want to interact with the public as much as required in a drug store setting. If that sounds like you, then you may be interested to know that hospitals employ many pharmacy technicians “behind the scenes” to prepare medications for patients. Like their retail peers, hospital-based pharm techs also work under the supervision of a registered pharmacist, but they may perform more complex tasks, including:

  • Preparing specialized medications for seriously ill patients
  • Mixing intravenous medications
  • Working in a sterile environment
  • Compounding radioactive materials for use in nuclear medicine scans and treatments
  • Conducting patient rounds or giving medications directly to patients

Working in a hospital is tops for pharmacy technician pay: the median salary for these professionals comes in at nearly $37,000 per year.

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do in a Mail-Order Facility?

Many people receive their medications through the mail these days, and while it’s true that big machines count and package those pills, the prescriptions still must be processed by someone who has passed a pharmacy technician exam.

In a mail-order pharmacy, a pharm tech might:

  • Learn specialized computer programs to operate the machines that fill high volumes of common medications
  • Set up machines to dispense a particular drug into the correct container
  • Troubleshoot label jams or other issues with the equipment
  • Interact with patients, physicians, and insurers by phone

Pharmacy technician hourly pay in a mail-order facility might run as high as $15.50, for a median annual salary of about $31,000.

Other Places Pharmacy Technicians Work

Pharm techs work in other settings, too, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where they may package and dispense medications to patients.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a pharmacy technician, our Admission Advisors can put you on the path to enter this this fast-growing field. Learn more about the online pharmacy technician program at Ashworth College. Call 1-800-957-5412 or request free information today!

Do Justice to Your Career by Earning Your Master’s Degree

Success Stories Do justice to your career by earning your master’s degree

In our GO AFTER IT blog series, you'll meet fellow students and grads who committed themselves to chasing their dreams and proving it pays to GO AHEAD toward better opportunities -- no matter the obstacles to be overcome.

When Dan Brennanhusen* attained his role as the new director of safety and security for a major school district, his qualifications included nearly two decades of law enforcement and corporate security experience. He had also earned his Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Ashworth College and is a strong believer in the power of education to achieve success.

“I believe higher education is a leveraging tool to seek higher positions,” says Brennanhusen, “and with higher positions you typically are better compensated.”

While Brennanhusen was rewarded with better compensation, he feels that his Ashworth College program provided him with something much more valuable than the promise of higher pay. Even after working as a professional in law enforcement for so many years, he learned new concepts and techniques from the books and lessons in the Master of Criminal Justice Degree Program. He also discovered the practicality of his education, since he is using what he learned every day in his new job.

“I found the program to be contemporary and directly applicable to my profession. The core principles and components of my studies positively impact my career daily,” he says.

The quality of the program was unquestionably relevant to Brennanhusen’s career, but there were other benefits of an Ashworth College education that drew him into attending in the first place.

“Because I had a really busy work and family life, including two kids, I had to find a flexible program. I had been promoted to new assignments and divisions so life was as busy as it could possibly be. Ashworth College offered the accreditation and flexibility I needed to attain my objectives. The cost was also a plus.”

One might ask why a successful criminal justice professional who was already promoted would want to continue their education. According to Brennanhusen, the answer was twofold: career advancement and personal growth. At the time, he was a police sergeant and wanted to become a member of his department’s executive leadership team by working his way up to chief. After being promoted to commander, Brennanhusen realized that he would need a master’s degree to be considered for the next step up. And he knew that a higher-level degree would help him in his role for future promotions.

Says Brennanhusen, “Hiring someone always comes with some risks. I view degrees and higher education as an important piece of the puzzle. Having ‘missing pieces’ may cause a potential employer to find someone who has a more complete puzzle.”

As Brennanhusen completed his educational “puzzle,” he took his time. Aside from his competing priorities of earning a living and caring for a busy family, he says he didn’t want to merely pass assignments – he wanted to get good grades, do well and truly learn. He even paused his studies for a while so he could regroup and refocus.

Congratulations to Brennanhusen on completing his master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and the opportunities it has afforded him. If you’re interested in this field, or other fields of study, we recommend you contact an Admissions Advisor at 1-800-957-5412 who will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

* At the request of the student in the interest of job privacy and security, a pseudonym is being used; otherwise, all quotes and information in this blog are actual and verifiable.

Ashworth Graduates Say: You Can Do It! Online Education is for Everyone

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What’s your dream career? Working in the booming healthcare field? Criminal justice? Owning your own business?

All too often, people’s dreams get derailed because they think they can’t get the education they need to turn their vision into reality. The Ashworth College graduates in these videos will tell you otherwise. Hear their inspiring stories, and then talk to an admissions advisor today so you can stop dreaming and start pursuing your ideal career!

Tania’s Story: I earned a Medical Billing and Coding Certificate while living in Bermuda

Ernest’s Story: Online education made it easy for me to pursue my dream of a criminal justice degree while working

Ragion’s Story: I’m starting my own business, thanks to earning my Bachelor of Business Administration at age 45

Keana’s Story: Flexibility and affordability allowed me to complete the RN to BSN program while traveling

Ora’s Story: Here are my secrets to student success in the Ashworth College Event Planning program

This Could Be You

Wouldn’t you love to star in your own graduation video, dressed in a gown and mortarboard like these students? We would certainly love to see you walk the stage at our live commencement event to receive the certificate, diploma, or degree you earned at Ashworth College.

Learn more about the many flexible, afforedable programs available to help you start turning your dream career into a reality: Talk to an admissions advisor today!

 
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