How to Select the Right Pharmacist Technician School Near Albertville Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near AlbertvilleAL, you might be thinking about how to pick the ideal school to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because 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 abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Albertville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Albertville AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Albertville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Albertville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased 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 check that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Albertville AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Albertville residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional 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 evaluated and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Albertville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire 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 prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Albertville Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Albertville AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Albertville AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Albertville Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Albertville Alabama.