How to Choose the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Jasper Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near JasperAL, you might be pondering just how to select the right program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Jasper AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Jasper AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose 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 two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed 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 two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Jasper pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Jasper AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Jasper AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Jasper home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you must consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to check 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Jasper AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways 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 fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Jasper Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Jasper AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Jasper AL home. 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 decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required 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 don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Jasper Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Jasper Alabama.