How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near East Florence Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near East FlorenceAL, you may be thinking about how to choose the best college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, 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 Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed East Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as 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 accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally 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 generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of East Florence AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide 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 at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. 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 with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain 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 convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade 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 East Florence home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you should consider in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician 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 screened and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of East Florence AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with East Florence Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in East Florence AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their East Florence AL residence. Those who have decided 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 importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose 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 available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find Out How to Train to Become a Pharmacy Tech in East Florence
Enroll in the Best East Florence Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the best pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right training and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in East Florence Alabama.
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