How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Technician Course Near Enterprise Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near EnterpriseAL, you may be pondering how to pick the best college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing 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 classes.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Enterprise AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills 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 must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Enterprise AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two 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 down the road. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Enterprise AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Enterprise pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Enterprise AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example 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 might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to earn 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 options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Enterprise AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Enterprise residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Enterprise AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Enterprise Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Enterprise AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Enterprise AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class 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 considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Enterprise AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Enterprise Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs 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. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Enterprise Alabama.