How to Select the Best Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Dixiana Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near DixianaAL, you may be wondering just how to pick the best program to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Dixiana AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature 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 technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to becoming 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 provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Dixiana AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Dixiana AL pharmacies will only employ 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Dixiana pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Dixiana AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 training might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Dixiana AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Dixiana 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 variables that you should consider in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated 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 education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Dixiana 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 required in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways 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 prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Dixiana Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Dixiana AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator 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 contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Dixiana AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Dixiana AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Dixiana Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Dixiana Alabama.