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How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech Program Near Hartselle Alabama

Hartselle Alabama pharmacy tech stocking shelfHaving decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near HartselleAL, you may be pondering how to pick the best college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be considered 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 school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.

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The Role of Pharmacy Technicians

Hartselle Alabama hospital pharmacy tech in lab coat

Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Hartselle AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:

  • Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
  • Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and control inventory

As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas

Hartselle Alabama pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsIndividuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Hartselle AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.

Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available

It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Hartselle AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Tech Online Colleges

Hartselle Alabama young woman taking pharmacy tech training onlineBefore choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Hartselle pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Hartselle AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.

Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses

After you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Hartselle AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Hartselle residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.

Is the Pharmacist Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired 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 comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Hartselle AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.

Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Hartselle Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Hartselle AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask 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 sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Hartselle AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.

How to Train to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Hartselle

Find the Best Hartselle Pharmacy Tech School

Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program 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 tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Hartselle Alabama.



 

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