How to Select the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Homewood Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near HomewoodAL, you might be thinking about how to pick the ideal college to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Homewood AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Homewood AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many 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 one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Homewood pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, 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 numerous pharmacy tech schools to select from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Homewood residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you should consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of 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 certified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might 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 Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Homewood Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Homewood AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Homewood AL residence. Those who have decided 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best Homewood Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed 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 classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Homewood Alabama.