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IT Training Courses - A Necessity in Todays IT Job Market

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Why participate in an SEO training course?

There are many reasons to consider doing optimisation courses.

We all know that the internet is a wonderful place to find or provide information. The internet revolution has changed our lives as much as the arrival of the Bronze Age or the Atomic Age.

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the application of techniques designed to bring webpages to the top of search engine results pages for targeted keywords to increase visitor numbers. Search engine optimisers specialise in promoting websites for clients. Some optimisers find it academically challenging although the primary interest of most is to provide excellent professional service for financial reward.

There are more opinions on how to move webpages to the top than optimisers. Every statement that most optimisers would accept will be challenged by someone who claims to be the world's greatest expert. For example, most would say that you are unlikely to achieve top positioning if your targeted keywords are not in the Page Title tag - that it is the top on-page factor. The occasional experienced optimiser will disagree. Evidence based research providing compelling data to confirm that an opinion has merit is difficult to find. There is not even one peer reviewed internationally recognised journal or website edited by experts with appropriate academic qualifications.

Google is the most popular search engine and everyone with a website wants to be at the top for their search terms. Search engines are e-commerce companies that accumulate wealth in proportion to their popularity. It is in their individual interests to enhance their programs that position webpages in the order that best answers a search request.

There are at least 200 factors in the Google positioning program (algorithm). Just to make it interesting, Google changes their positioning algorithm at least once a day and brings in major changes at less frequent intervals. The Panda update introduced in 2011, involves machine leaning - it is as if the Google algorithm is training itself to provide better search results. The bottom line is that Google holds the key to enormous potential wealth but the combination to unlock it is as closely guarded as Fort Knox.

The majority of optimisers would accept that understanding how Google works is challenging. Those in the SEO industry will have their own way of optimising webpages and websites. Fundamentally, we have on-page optimisation (page content and coding) and off-page optimisation - the acquisition of links. Links are known to be more important than on-page content in the Google algorithm.

Writing articles or comments on quality websites that provide benefit to readers is desirable and entirely acceptable. Natural link acquisition is beneficial and appropriate particularly when it is undertakine with moderation. There is increasing interest in link bait to bring in those precious links. A provocative statement on a forum can be particularly effective.

There was a period when reciprocal linking and automated linking with programs that disseminate poor quality articles and blog comments seemed to be a way forward even if those who indulged in such malpractice might have difficulty explaining it to their competition. Such optimisation is frowned upon by all respectable optimisers and the search engines are less than impressed: They may impose a penalty such as removing websites from their index.

Some hold the view that a link is a link which is undeniable. Others believe that a link is only of potential value when it is indexed by Google, it carries link juice from a webpage that has PageRank and / or has keywords in the anchor (linking) text. Money is money - undeniable; Monopoly money is not recognised by the high street bank.

It is easy to formulate a reproducible way to optimise websites and follow the protocol. More difficult is to realise that an ongoing improvement to the protocol is required. Some would suggest that it is all simple and that others complicate the issue. Others take the view that SEO is not that easy. One difficult part is to know how much to explain to potential clients. Make it sound complicated and you may lose the customer. Make it sound easier than it is and the client may find that your promises become unfulfilled.

There is information overload on optimisation. Books, websites, internet articles, and videos abound.

SEO courses provide opportunity to be updated. If it is held by somebody with SEO experience and an academic background or in an academic institute it is likely to be thought provoking.

A good training course will help you to maximise your website's potential so that it will receive more targeted visitors. There are many online and off-line optimisation courses held at venues varying from schools to universities. Some are free but others attract a fee. The advantage of on-line SEO courses is that anyone can attend - there are no geographical restrictions. Courses held at venues have the advantage of interaction between tutors and the attendees.

How can I determine if those offering a course have the required genuine expertise?

Testimonials are a good place to start provided they are on the attendee's website; anyone can write a testimonial about themselves and put it on their own website. A major part of SEO is acquiring natural links.

Google says tells us that "Today we use more than 200 signals, including PageRank, to order websites, and we update these algorithms on a weekly basis." The PageRank of a website is determined by the total value of the links to the HomePage of the website. In the author's opinion, HomePage PageRank is the top factor in the Google algorithm. If the HomePage PageRank of an optimiser is at least 3, it demonstrates ability to acquire links that are accredited by Google.

Those with expertise in optimisation will have a passion for it. They will have published many articles and blog comments, some of them offering original research. They will offer training to others so that others can learn from their expertise. Beware of courses or optimisers that suggest they can show you how to get to the top on Google for any keyword you choose. There are some experts who have been providing SEO training courses for many years. Bruce Clay offers acclaimed Courses internationally with venues as varied as California, Australia and India. His Courses are not cheap.

The success of a course or lecture depends not only on the speaker but the attendee. Feedback from specialist doctors to my lectures typically indicated that 60% thought I had pitched it correctly; 20% found that the information provided could have been found in books or on the internet and that the level was less than they hoped for and 20% thought I gave too much detail.

Any optimiser who claims to know how to get your website to the top for any keyword you wish is misleading you.

Where can I find a good search engine optimisation course?

By its very nature, those who provide a good training will advertise it online. As you surf the net, you will spot endless courses.

There is much to be said for courses run by recognised academies, colleges or universities. For example, in Manchester there is one with some of the local leading lights, with 10 acclaimed experts, from the region's new media industry who have joined forces with academics in the North West of England to produce a groundbreaking new search engine optimisation (SEO) course designed to improve search and social media marketing skills.

When?

This depends when you feel that you need to move up a gear and also the level you have reached. Of course not everyone feels the need for training.

There are courses at basic level, intermediate level and advanced level.

Which Courses?

The social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have an effect on SEO but there is debate on their exact role. It probably varies according to different niches. There are SEO courses focused on social media. There are special interest courses - for example there is a training course available for web designers.

Training Management Software

As most people know, a health care related career is some of the most important work a person can do. Whether a doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, health care workers strive to keep people healthy. And what could be more important than that?

For those looking into a health care career, the position of Pharmacy Technician may appeal to you. Depending on the workplace, a Pharmacy Technician has a variety of duties and responsibilities, from counting out pills to corresponding with customers, and each duty is important. Even routine tasks, such as labeling bottles, can be of life-or-death importance-- as, of course, it's imperative that patients are given the correct medications in the correct doses.

The hourly earnings of a Pharmacy Technician also vary from workplace to workplace. Pharmacy Techs who earn the most generally work in hospitals, where they earn an average of $13 hourly. The lowest-earning Pharmacy Technicians work in health or personal care stores, with about a $10.50 hourly wage. Obviously, where you choose to work as a Pharmacy Technician matters. And because hospitals and other highly specialized locations pay best, they also look for the best Technicians-- that is, Pharmacy Techs with certification.

Training to Be a Pharmacy Technician

While some smaller drug stores, etc., simply provide on-the-job training to untrained Pharmacy Technicians, most higher-paying locations look for Pharmacy Technicians with formal training and certification. To obtain this, most aspiring Pharmacy Techs attend online or classroom training courses. When choosing a Pharmacy Tech course, there are several things to keep in mind, such as length of course, depth of subject matter, and quality of the course (accreditation).

How Long Will it Take?

Most Pharmacy Technician training courses run from about six months to a year, depending on the course. In that time, you will learn the skills required to operate a pharmacy, follow correct pharmaceutical procedures, provide the correct drug dosages, and assist the pharmacist in administrative tasks. This course also helps to prepare you for your PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam or ExCPT (Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians).

While there are very few current federal and state laws governing the need for Pharmacy Tech certification, having a PTCB or ExCPT certification is becoming the standard. Passing one or more of these examinations is of key importance.

What if I Need to Finish Faster?

If you don't have the six months to a year it takes to complete a Pharmacy Tech training course, there are several options available. As the certification is more important to potential employers than the formal training, you can choose to focus your time on studying for the test. You can do this either by studying the test materials, or taking one of the variety of short "crash course" cramming sessions offered by some schools. Most of these courses are from a few hours to several days, and are designed to give you all the information you need to pass you PTCB or ExCPT exams.

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The Cooper Institute (CI) was founded by the guy who wrote the book "Aerobics" in 1968 and started the whole world on this fitness craze. Since most of us are too young to remember a time before physical fitness was a common factor in our lives, it's interesting to see how much Dr. Cooper's book changed the way we live.

CI is located in Texas and runs many of their education courses in Dallas. If you're not local to Dallas (or willing to take a vacation), then their education programs may be of little help for you. Even their DVD course has a 'hands on' component that's given for a day and a half at their Dallas headquarters.

NCCA
The Cooper Institute Personal Trainer Certification, also known as "CI-CPT" is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Therefore it qualifies as one of our premier certifications around. It's accreditation is relatively recent, however that isn't a negative at all. The NCCA takes so long to permit new members, it's a very positive sign that CI has made it through the tough process.

Certifications Available
For our purposes, we're interested in the CI-CPT designation...or the Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer certification. (This use to be known as the CI-PTr, in case you see old references, it's the same thing.)

Eligibility
The eligibility isn't too difficult. You must be 18 years old, like all the others. You must have your CPR training from a trusted organization. By trusted, they mean American Red Cross. Online Certifications are given the standard "Not Accepted, No Exceptions" answer; so don't even try to use that as your entry pass!

Guess what, that's it! Really. As you noticed, you do NOT need to pass one of their classes in order to take the exam. Which is a nice deal compared to a few of the certifications that want you to pay them for classes and materials you may not need just to be eligible to sit for the exam.

Exam
Well, the one problem with the exam is its only given in Dallas, TX. So if you aren't going to be in Dallas on your exam date (which is around twice a month), you aren't going to be Cooper Institute Certified.

Which is really too bad, as the CI Certification is a good certification that's well respected in the area and slowly getting more popular around the country. Until they start to branch out (if they even intend to...), it'll probably be more of a regionally recognized certification. That doesn't mean that walking into a gym with a CI-CPT certification will be a negative, but you should be prepared to describe what CI is and have a reference for them to check out.

Costs
Disregarding the travel cost if you are out of town (they do have a hotel at the Institute!), the certification isn't prohibitively expensive. To take the exam it costs $250 to sit for the exam. You can even register 48 hours before the exam. (It's given twice a month and the dates are known for about a year out)

The retake fee is a tad bit less, $195 to retake the exam again. You get a year to retake the exam at that rate. I don't believe there is a minimum wait period...other than the 2+ week wait between exams.

Workshops
There are two 'workshops' that Cooper Institute offers, both are non-mandatory to sit for the exam, but very helpful in preparation for the exam.

Personal Training Education Workshop

Personal Training DVD with Live Training

They both cost over $500 and you have to be in Dallas to participate.

Validity
The CI-CPT certification is valid for three years from when you pass the test. That's a good period of time, since most are for 2 years.

CEC's
Like all NCCA accredited certifications, the Cooper Institute requires mandatory Continuing Education Credits before you can renew after the three year certification. They expect their certificate holders to stay current with at least 30 hours of the new information in the industry.

To make sure you take all the right courses, they suggest you check their website (http://www.cooperinstitute.org)

Renewal

Renewal isn't really that difficult. Here's what you need to do:

1. Complete a Renewal Form

2. Pay the Renewal Fee ($62.50, with an extra $50 if you need to extend an extra 6 months to get all your CEC's completed)

3. Submit proof of your minimum 30 hours of continual education over the last 3 years.

That's it! It's really not too bad with no ridiculous requirements or anything that is just a sham payment back to Certification Company like a few organizations do.

Acceptance / Popularity
The popularity and value of the CI-CPT is much greater in the Dallas / Texas area than in, say, Maine. It's seen as a regional certification, not because it's worse than an ACE or NCSF, but because it's just locally administered and therefore harder to find outside of the immediate area.

Summary
In the Texas region, there are few better certifications than the CI. It's very well respected in the area and has a TON of resources for local trainers. In fact, it's a fantastic set up for the Texas area, such that I wish I had that type of support in my area from my organizations.

Until CI starts to branch outside of its immediate area, it's going to be a limited option for the most of us. However, if you're in the area, I think you should definitely check it out. Keep in mind the entire experience - not just the exam - and support network they have in the Dallas area. You may find it is your best option by far.

Risk Management Courses

As most people know, a health care related career is some of the most important work a person can do. Whether a doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist or pharmacy technician, health care workers strive to keep people healthy. And what could be more important than that?

For those looking into a health care career, the position of Pharmacy Technician may appeal to you. Depending on the workplace, a Pharmacy Technician has a variety of duties and responsibilities, from counting out pills to corresponding with customers, and each duty is important. Even routine tasks, such as labeling bottles, can be of life-or-death importance-- as, of course, it's imperative that patients are given the correct medications in the correct doses.

The hourly earnings of a Pharmacy Technician also vary from workplace to workplace. Pharmacy Techs who earn the most generally work in hospitals, where they earn an average of $13 hourly. The lowest-earning Pharmacy Technicians work in health or personal care stores, with about a $10.50 hourly wage. Obviously, where you choose to work as a Pharmacy Technician matters. And because hospitals and other highly specialized locations pay best, they also look for the best Technicians-- that is, Pharmacy Techs with certification.

Training to Be a Pharmacy Technician

While some smaller drug stores, etc., simply provide on-the-job training to untrained Pharmacy Technicians, most higher-paying locations look for Pharmacy Technicians with formal training and certification. To obtain this, most aspiring Pharmacy Techs attend online or classroom training courses. When choosing a Pharmacy Tech course, there are several things to keep in mind, such as length of course, depth of subject matter, and quality of the course (accreditation).

How Long Will it Take?

Most Pharmacy Technician training courses run from about six months to a year, depending on the course. In that time, you will learn the skills required to operate a pharmacy, follow correct pharmaceutical procedures, provide the correct drug dosages, and assist the pharmacist in administrative tasks. This course also helps to prepare you for your PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam or ExCPT (Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians).

While there are very few current federal and state laws governing the need for Pharmacy Tech certification, having a PTCB or ExCPT certification is becoming the standard. Passing one or more of these examinations is of key importance.

What if I Need to Finish Faster?

If you don't have the six months to a year it takes to complete a Pharmacy Tech training course, there are several options available. As the certification is more important to potential employers than the formal training, you can choose to focus your time on studying for the test. You can do this either by studying the test materials, or taking one of the variety of short "crash course" cramming sessions offered by some schools. Most of these courses are from a few hours to several days, and are designed to give you all the information you need to pass you PTCB or ExCPT exams.

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