How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Tech College Near Auburn Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near AuburnAL, you might be thinking about how to select the best college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Auburn AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs 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 assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally 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 classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Auburn AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, 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 requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Auburn pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire 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 option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Auburn AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Auburn residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Auburn AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Auburn Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Auburn AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Auburn AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Auburn Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Auburn Alabama.