How to Select the Right Pharmacist Technician College Near Foley Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near FoleyAL, you may be wondering just how to choose the ideal school to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing 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 Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Foley AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Foley AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Foley AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. 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 one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online program, 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 typically fulfilled in a local Foley pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Foley AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college 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 study with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Foley AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Foley residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained 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 provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Foley AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Foley Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Foley AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Foley AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Foley AL area, verify 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 have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Foley Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the ideal pharmacist tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the right education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Foley Alabama.