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How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech School Near Calera Alabama

Calera Alabama pharmacy tech stocking shelfHaving decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near CaleraAL, you might be pondering just how to choose the best program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over 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 degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below

The Role of a Pharmacy Technician

Calera Alabama hospital pharmacy technician in lab coat

Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Calera AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:

  • Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
  • Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
  • Enter customer and prescription data 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 monitor and manage inventory

As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates

Calera Alabama pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsIndividuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Calera AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered

Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Calera AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer 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 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 both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Technician Online Programs

Calera Alabama young female student taking pharmacy technician training onlinePrior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Calera pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Calera AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 classes might be the best solution for you.

Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses

After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Calera 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 covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Calera home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.

Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Calera 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 desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.

Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Calera Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Calera AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Calera AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.

Learn How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Calera

Enroll in the Best Calera Pharmacy Technician School

Finding the best pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Calera Alabama.



 

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