How to Select the Best Pharmacist Tech School Near Albertville Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near AlbertvilleAL, you may be thinking about how to choose the ideal 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. A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Albertville AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially 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 satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include 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 needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Albertville AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Albertville pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Albertville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Albertville AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Albertville home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you should consider in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Albertville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on 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 an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Albertville Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Albertville AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Albertville AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Albertville Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Albertville Alabama.