How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Tech Course Near Homewood Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near HomewoodAL, you may be thinking about just how to choose the ideal program to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some 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 courses.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have various job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Homewood AL pharmacist. They must also have great 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 must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Homewood AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required 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 provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Homewood 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Homewood pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional 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 provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each 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 learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to earn 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 narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Homewood residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician 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 programs have a working relationship with Homewood Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Homewood AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Homewood AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Homewood
Find the Right Homewood Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "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 vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Homewood Alabama.
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