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How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Technician Course Near Calera Alabama

Calera Alabama pharmacy tech taking prescription from shelfNow that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near CaleraAL, you may be pondering just how to choose the best school to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some 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 tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.

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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians

Calera Alabama hospital pharmacy tech wearing lab coat

Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Calera AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:

  • Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
  • Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
  • Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory

As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings 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 a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas

Calera Alabama pharmacy stockIndividuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Calera 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 offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.

Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered

Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Calera AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer 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 one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Technician Online Classes

Calera Alabama young woman enrolled in pharmacy tech courses onlineBefore choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Calera pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Calera AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example 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.

What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses

Once you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Calera AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Calera home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you must consider in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.

Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Calera AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.

Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Calera Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Calera AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Calera AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, make certain that they are available. 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 carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

How to Learn to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Calera

Enroll in the Right Calera Pharmacy Technician School

Getting the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Calera Alabama.



 

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