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How to Find the Right Pharmacy Tech School Near Dothan Alabama

Dothan Alabama pharmacy technician taking prescription from shelfNow that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near DothanAL, you might be wondering just how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below

The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians

Dothan Alabama hospital pharmacy technician wearing lab coat

Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Dothan AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:

  • Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
  • Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory

As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees

Dothan Alabama pharmacy stockIndividuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab 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 requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.

Pharmacist Technician Certifications

Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Dothan 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 requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Schools Online

Dothan Alabama young female student enrolled in pharmacy tech courses onlinePrior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Dothan pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Dothan AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 training might be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools

Once you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Dothan AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Dothan residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.

Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Dothan AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.

Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Dothan Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Dothan AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Dothan AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school 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 for those students that don't reside within their districts.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

How to Train to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Dothan

Enroll in the Best Dothan Pharmacy Technician Program

Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way 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 programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and 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 right choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Dothan Alabama.



 

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