How to Select the Right Pharmacist Technician School Near Dothan Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near DothanAL, you might be wondering how to select the ideal college to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of potential students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Dothan AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare 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 standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Dothan AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Dothan AL pharmacies 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Dothan 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 acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Dothan AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving 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 essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to attain 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 alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Dothan AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Dothan 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 a number of other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 offer a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Dothan AL employers 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 mandated in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Dothan Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Dothan AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Dothan AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some 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 confirm that the pharmacy technician program you finally pick can offer 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 Dothan AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dothan Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Dothan Alabama.