How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Tech Program Near Daphne Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near DaphneAL, you may be pondering just how to choose the best college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than 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 need 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 classes.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Daphne AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist 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 pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact 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 techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Daphne AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth 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 Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Daphne AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Daphne pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Daphne AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Daphne AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Daphne home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Daphne AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train 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 meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Daphne Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Daphne AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Daphne AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Daphne Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the right pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will prepare 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 evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Daphne Alabama.