How to Select the Right Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Homewood Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near HomewoodAL, you may be wondering just how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Homewood AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working 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 terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, 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 being required to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be 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 typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Homewood AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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 one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Homewood pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized 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 training may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Homewood home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you need to consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Homewood AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Homewood Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Homewood AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Homewood AL residence. Students who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Homewood 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Homewood Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the ideal pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Homewood Alabama.