How to Choose the Right Pharmacy Technician Course Near Enterprise Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near EnterpriseAL, you may be thinking about how to select the right school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Enterprise AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- 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
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Enterprise AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Enterprise 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Enterprise pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Enterprise AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Enterprise AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources 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 many other variables that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained 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 offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Enterprise AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Enterprise Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Enterprise AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Enterprise AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally 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 choose to enroll in a program 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 generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical 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 speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Enterprise AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Enterprise Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Enterprise Alabama.