How to Select the Best Pharmacist Technician College Near Hueytown Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near HueytownAL, you might be wondering just how to choose the right college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want 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 advantages of online programs.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Hueytown AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Hueytown AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Hueytown AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Hueytown pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Hueytown AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Hueytown AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Hueytown residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you should consider in order to effectively compare programs. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Hueytown AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain 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 prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Hueytown Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Hueytown AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without some support. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask 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 appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Hueytown AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hueytown AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hueytown Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the right pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges include both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Hueytown Alabama.