How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near East Florence Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near East FlorenceAL, you may be thinking about just how to select the best program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, 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 Role of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform 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 accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved East Florence AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many East Florence AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area East Florence pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your East Florence AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to select from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your East Florence home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of East Florence AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work 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 meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with East Florence Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in East Florence AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their East Florence AL residence. Individuals who have chosen 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. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small 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 classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential 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 option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right East Florence Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in East Florence Alabama.