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How to Select the Best Pharmacist Technician School Near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama pharmacy technician stocking shelfNow that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near FoleyAL, you may be pondering just how to choose the ideal college to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, 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 Function of a Pharmacy Technician

Foley Alabama hospital pharmacy tech in lab coat

Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Foley AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:

  • Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
  • Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
  • Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
  • Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory

Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees

Foley Alabama pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsStudents wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade 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 classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Foley AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications

Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Foley 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 one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Tech Classes Online

Foley Alabama young lady taking pharmacy technician training onlinePrior to selecting a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Foley pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Foley AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the right choice for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges

Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Foley AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Foley home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.

Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Foley AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.

Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Foley Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Foley AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.

Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Foley AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Foley AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.

Learn How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Foley

Enroll in the Right Foley Pharmacy Tech School

Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right training and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Foley Alabama.



 

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