How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician Course Near Anniston Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near AnnistonAL, you may be pondering just how to choose the right program to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying in your 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 qualifications and others that you will need 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 classes.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Anniston AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare 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 the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Anniston AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Anniston AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Anniston pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Anniston AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Anniston AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Anniston home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Anniston AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Anniston Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Anniston AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Anniston AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, make certain 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Anniston Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Anniston Alabama.