How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician School Near Cullman Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near CullmanAL, you might be wondering how to pick the ideal program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Cullman AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets 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 other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive 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 Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Cullman AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Colleges
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Cullman 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 receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Cullman AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided 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 begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Cullman AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Cullman home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you should consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Cullman AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Cullman Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Cullman AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Cullman AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cullman AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Cullman Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the right education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Cullman Alabama.