How to Select the Right Pharmacist Tech Course Near Center Point Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Center PointAL, you might be wondering how to choose the best school to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means 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 go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Center Point AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming 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 present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Center Point AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Center Point AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Colleges
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Center Point pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Center Point AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom 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 provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Center Point AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Center Point home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Center Point AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Center Point Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Center Point AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any support. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Center Point AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically 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 person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Center Point AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Center Point Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Center Point Alabama.