How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Tech School Near Hartselle Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near HartselleAL, you might be wondering just how to pick the ideal program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes 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 go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing 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 Job of a Pharmacy Technician
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 work under the supervision of a licensed Hartselle AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready 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 techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Hartselle AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Hartselle AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Hartselle pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Hartselle AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Hartselle 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 trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Hartselle residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you should consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Hartselle AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Hartselle Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Hartselle AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Hartselle AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, make certain 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 have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Hartselle Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Hartselle Alabama.