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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Alabama pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain 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 usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Alabama pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Alabama 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 requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Classes Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online school, 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 typically satisfied in a local Alabama pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Alabama home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.