How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Helena Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near HelenaAL, you may be thinking about how to select the ideal school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Helena AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically 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 classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Helena AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Helena 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 applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only 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 completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Helena pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Helena AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are reviewing 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 supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the Helena AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Helena home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you should consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Helena AL pharmacies 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 mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on 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 a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Helena Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Helena AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating 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 school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Helena AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 far in the back of the classroom or get lost 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 looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Helena AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Helena Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Helena Alabama.