How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Course Near Cullman Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near CullmanAL, you may be wondering how to pick the right school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes 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 qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Cullman AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Cullman AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Cullman AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, 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 exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Cullman pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Cullman AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Cullman AL area and throughout the Country, 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 programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Cullman residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you must consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might help 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 Cullman AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep 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 qualification can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Cullman Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Cullman AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Cullman AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Cullman AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Cullman Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the best pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom training. 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 classes online 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 certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Cullman Alabama.