How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Tech College Near Auburn Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near AuburnAL, you may be wondering just how to choose the ideal program to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Auburn AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician 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 essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, 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 typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Auburn AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Auburn AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Auburn pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Auburn AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Auburn AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Auburn home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Auburn AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Auburn Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Auburn AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Auburn AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for 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 sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find Out How to Learn to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Auburn
Find the Right Auburn Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right training and commitment you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Auburn Alabama.
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