How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician School Near Alabaster Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near AlabasterAL, you may be wondering how to select the best college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Alabaster AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Alabaster AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Alabaster AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Alabaster pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Alabaster AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Alabaster AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Alabaster home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Alabaster AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Alabaster Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Alabaster AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Alabaster AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Alabaster Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Alabaster Alabama.