How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Technician Program Near Hueytown Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near HueytownAL, you might be thinking about how to pick the best college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many future students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision 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 filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Hueytown AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive 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 Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Hueytown AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer 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 one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, 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 satisfied in an area Hueytown pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Hueytown AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Hueytown AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Hueytown residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Hueytown AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train 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 satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Hueytown Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Hueytown AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some help. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Hueytown AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for 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 rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hueytown AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Hueytown Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Hueytown Alabama.