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How to Find the Right Pharmacy Tech Program Near Hoover Alabama

Hoover Alabama pharmacy technician stocking shelfNow that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near HooverAL, you might be pondering just how to choose the best program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.

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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician

Hoover Alabama hospital pharmacy tech in lab coat

Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Hoover AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:

  • Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
  • Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
  • Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory

Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees

Hoover Alabama pharmacy stockStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 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 usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Hoover AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.

Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications

It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Hoover AL employers will only employ 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 candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Technician Schools Online

Hoover Alabama young woman taking pharmacy technician classes onlinePrior to choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Hoover pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Hoover AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.

Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs

After you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Hoover AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Hoover residence. 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 a number of other factors that you must consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.

Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional 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 offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Hoover 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 all states, but many employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.

Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Hoover Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Hoover AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any support. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.

Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Hoover AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.

Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.

More on How to Learn to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Hoover

Find the Best Hoover Pharmacy Tech School

Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Hoover Alabama.



 

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