How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician School Near Homewood Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near HomewoodAL, you may be pondering just how to choose the right college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address 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 certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
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 supervision of a licensed Homewood AL pharmacist. They must also have good 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 need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas 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 essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Homewood AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Homewood AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Homewood pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course 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 critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Homewood residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have acquired 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 screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way 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 practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Homewood Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Homewood AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Homewood AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Homewood Pharmacy Technician Course
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select 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 suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Homewood Alabama.