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How to Select the Right Pharmacist Technician College Near Hueytown Alabama

Hueytown Alabama pharmacy tech stocking shelfHaving decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near HueytownAL, you might be thinking about how to select the ideal school to get 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 potential 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. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.

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The Function of Pharmacy Techs

Hueytown Alabama hospital pharmacy tech wearing lab coat

Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Hueytown AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:

  • Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
  • Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
  • Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
  • Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and audit and control inventory

As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas

Hueytown Alabama pharmacy stockIndividuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Hueytown AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.

Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications

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, a number of Hueytown AL employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:

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

The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Technician Programs Online

Hueytown Alabama young female student enrolled in pharmacy technician courses onlineBefore selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Hueytown pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Hueytown AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the best choice for you.

What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges

Once you have decided whether you want to attain 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 narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Hueytown AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Hueytown home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you should consider in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.

Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Hueytown 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 every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.

Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Hueytown Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Hueytown AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some support. Ask if the colleges you are considering 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 college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Hueytown AL home. Individuals 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 concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at 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 some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hueytown AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.

Learn How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Hueytown

Find the Right Hueytown Pharmacy Technician School

Getting the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a program 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 sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Hueytown Alabama.



 

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