How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Technician College Near East Florence Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near East FlorenceAL, you might be thinking about just how to select the ideal college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to 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 take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed East Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information 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 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 very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted East Florence AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two 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 furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of East Florence AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local East Florence pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your East Florence AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school 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 study with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting 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 critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of 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 certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out 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 initial position in East Florence AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging task without any help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their East Florence AL residence. Students 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. One thing 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right East Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in East Florence Alabama.