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How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Technician Program Near Hoover Alabama

Hoover Alabama pharmacy technician taking prescription from shelfHaving made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near HooverAL, you may be pondering just how to select the right college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers 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 tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.

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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician

Hoover Alabama hospital pharmacy tech wearing lab coat

Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Hoover AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:

  • Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
  • Fill prescription medications 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
  • Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory

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

Pharmacy Technician Degrees

Hoover Alabama pharmacy stockStudents wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Hoover AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed 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 should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.

Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available

It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Hoover AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished 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 exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Tech Classes Online

Hoover Alabama young woman enrolled in pharmacy technician training onlinePrior to selecting a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Hoover pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Hoover AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 classes may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges

Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to select from in the Hoover AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Hoover home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.

Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional 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 evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Hoover AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.

Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Hoover Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Hoover AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.

Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Hoover AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

More on How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Hoover

Enroll in the Right Hoover Pharmacy Tech Program

Getting the best pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the right education and commitment you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Hoover Alabama.



 

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