How to Select the Right Pharmacist Technician School Near Anniston Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near AnnistonAL, you may be wondering how to choose the best college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Anniston AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Anniston AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Anniston 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 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 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.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Anniston pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Anniston AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (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 disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Anniston AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Anniston 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 many other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Anniston AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Anniston Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Anniston AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask 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 demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Anniston AL residence. Those who have opted 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 concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, make certain that they are offered. 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Anniston Pharmacy Technician Course
Receiving the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true 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 certain to make the right selection. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Anniston Alabama.