How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Millbrook Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near MillbrookAL, you might be pondering how to select the ideal college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Millbrook AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Millbrook AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Millbrook AL pharmacies will only employ 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Colleges Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Millbrook pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Millbrook AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Millbrook AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Millbrook residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional 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 certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Millbrook 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 every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Millbrook Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Millbrook AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Millbrook AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Millbrook AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Millbrook Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Millbrook Alabama.