How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Technician Program Near Center Point Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Center PointAL, you might be thinking about just how to select the best school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have various job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Center Point AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Center Point AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish 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 every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Center Point AL employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Center Point pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Center Point AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Center Point AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Center Point home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Center Point AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain 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 in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Center Point Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Center Point AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Center Point AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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 importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Center Point AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Center Point Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Center Point Alabama.