How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Hartselle Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near HartselleAL, you may be thinking about how to select the best program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Hartselle AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Hartselle AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Hartselle AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant 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 only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Hartselle pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Hartselle AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Hartselle AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Hartselle home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Hartselle AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Hartselle Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Hartselle AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Find out 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 indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Hartselle AL residence. Those who have opted 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 importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best Hartselle Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Hartselle Alabama.