How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician College Near Daphne Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near DaphneAL, you might be wondering just how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your 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 some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Daphne 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 filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a technician 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 overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Daphne AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Daphne AL pharmacies will only employ a technician 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 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, 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 exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Daphne pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Daphne AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Daphne AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Daphne home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure 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 agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Daphne AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to ready 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 satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Daphne Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Daphne AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Daphne AL residence. 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 local 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student 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 researching 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 an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Daphne Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the right training and commitment you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Daphne Alabama.