How to Find the Right Pharmacist Tech College Near Center Point Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Center PointAL, you might be wondering just how to pick the best college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in 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 discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. 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 great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two 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 typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Center Point AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount 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 a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Center Point AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Center Point pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Center Point AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Center Point AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Center Point residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained 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 screened and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might 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 School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Center Point Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Center Point AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Center Point AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Center Point AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Center Point Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Center Point Alabama.