How to Select the Right Pharmacist Tech Program Near Dothan Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near DothanAL, you might be pondering just how to choose the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Dothan AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready 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 on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 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 accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Dothan AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Dothan AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. 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, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Dothan pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Dothan AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Dothan AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Dothan residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Dothan AL pharmacies 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 every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of 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 degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Dothan Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Dothan AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Dothan AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical 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 an opportunity to speak 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 last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Dothan Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the right pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in 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 make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the proper training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Dothan Alabama.