How to Find the Right Pharmacist Tech School Near Dixiana Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near DixianaAL, you might be pondering how to select the best program 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. Many prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Dixiana AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Dixiana AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Dixiana AL pharmacies will only hire a technician 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 applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Dixiana pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Dixiana AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Dixiana AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical 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 Dixiana home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you must consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Dixiana AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Dixiana Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Dixiana AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Dixiana AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dixiana AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best Dixiana Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacist technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech colleges include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Dixiana Alabama.