How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Fort Payne Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Fort PayneAL, you might be thinking about how to select the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find 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 commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Duties of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Fort Payne AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Fort Payne AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not required 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. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Fort Payne AL employers will only hire a tech 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech 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 setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Fort Payne pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Fort Payne AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Fort Payne AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Fort Payne residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Fort Payne AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Fort Payne Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Fort Payne AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. 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 school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Fort Payne AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician 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 need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fort Payne AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Fort Payne Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Fort Payne Alabama.