How to Find the Right Pharmacist Technician Program Near Foley Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near FoleyAL, you may be wondering just how to pick the ideal program to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Role of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility 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 good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to training to be 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 typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Foley AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 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 proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many 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 requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Foley pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Foley AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Foley AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Foley residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Foley AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied 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 tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Foley Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Foley AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance 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 profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Foley AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously 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 decide 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor 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 perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose 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, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Foley Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips 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 achieve your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Foley Alabama.