How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Technician Course Near East Florence Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near East FlorenceAL, you might be pondering how to select the best college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed East Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved East Florence AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of East Florence AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires 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 only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Colleges Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local East Florence pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. However 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 practical for most students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your East Florence residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you should consider in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many East Florence AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with East Florence Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in East Florence AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their East Florence AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes 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 college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer 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 instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best East Florence Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in East Florence Alabama.