How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Madison Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near MadisonAL, you may be pondering how to select the ideal college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address 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 diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Madison AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare 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 the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Madison AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Madison AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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 only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Madison pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Madison AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are looking at 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 formal type of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Madison AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Madison home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national 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 provide a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Madison AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Madison Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Madison AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Madison AL residence. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally 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 consider is that if you choose 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost 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 researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Madison Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Madison Alabama.