How to Choose the Right Pharmacy Technician Course Near East Florence Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near East FlorenceAL, you might be pondering just how to choose the best college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed East Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially 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 rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted East Florence AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many East Florence AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires 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 graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area East Florence pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your East Florence AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged 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 instruction may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your East Florence residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you must consider in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of 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 superior education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many East Florence AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college 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 college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with East Florence Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in East Florence AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their East Florence AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best East Florence Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in East Florence Alabama.