How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Anniston Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near AnnistonAL, you might be pondering how to select the best college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many future students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover 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 certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Job of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Anniston AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Anniston AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required 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 necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Anniston AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires 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 professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Anniston pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Anniston AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Anniston AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Anniston residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Anniston AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Anniston Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Anniston AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Anniston AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average 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 a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to 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, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best Anniston Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right education and dedication you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Anniston Alabama.