How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Daphne Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near DaphneAL, you might be pondering how to select the best college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their principal 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 since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. 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 sometimes being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects 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 other facility. The second option 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 extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Daphne AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Daphne pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Daphne AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Daphne AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Daphne residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Daphne AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Daphne Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Daphne AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance 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 profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Daphne AL home. Students who have opted 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. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School 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 crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Daphne Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Daphne Alabama.