How to Select the Right Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Dothan Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near DothanAL, you may be pondering how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many future students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision 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 absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. 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 being required to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Dothan AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative 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. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified in order 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 candidate 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 examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Dothan pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Dothan AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Dothan AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Dothan home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Dothan 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 every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Dothan Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Dothan AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Dothan AL residence. Students who have chosen 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 concern. 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dothan Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom 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 follow our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Dothan Alabama.