How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Jasper Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near JasperAL, you may be thinking about how to choose the best college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes 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 address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Jasper AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be working 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 terms so that they may 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 relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. 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 being required to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Jasper AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Jasper AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Jasper pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Jasper AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized 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 classes may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Jasper AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Jasper home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you should consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Jasper AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met with 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 practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Jasper Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Jasper AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Jasper AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required 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 don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, verify 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Jasper Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Jasper Alabama.