How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Course Near Jacksonville Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near JacksonvilleAL, you may be wondering how to pick the ideal college to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means 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 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 degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Job of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Jacksonville AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Jacksonville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Jacksonville AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Jacksonville pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Jacksonville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Jacksonville AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Jacksonville residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Jacksonville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a college 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 met through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Jacksonville Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Jacksonville AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Jacksonville AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Jacksonville Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Jacksonville Alabama.