How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Program Near Albertville Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near AlbertvilleAL, you might be thinking about just how to select the best college to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some 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 technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Albertville AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage 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, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Albertville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Albertville AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. 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 at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Albertville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Albertville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Albertville AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Albertville residence. If you are able to relocate 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 properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Albertville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Albertville Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Albertville AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Albertville AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Albertville Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Albertville Alabama.