How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Enterprise Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near EnterpriseAL, you might be thinking about how to pick the best program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Enterprise AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data 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 control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a technician 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 offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Enterprise AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Enterprise AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed 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 benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Enterprise AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Enterprise AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Enterprise home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional 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 verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program 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 required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Enterprise Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Enterprise AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Enterprise AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Enterprise AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Enterprise Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Enterprise Alabama.