How to Choose the Right Pharmacy Tech Course Near Jasper Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near JasperAL, you may be wondering how to choose the best program to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Jasper AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Jasper AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Jasper AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Jasper pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Jasper AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, 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 many pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Jasper AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Jasper residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Jasper AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Jasper Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Jasper AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Ask 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 a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Jasper AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Jasper Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Jasper Alabama.