How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near Millbrook Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near MillbrookAL, you might be pondering just how to select the ideal college to receive your education and training. Of course 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 searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Job of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Millbrook AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Millbrook AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Millbrook AL employers will only employ a technician 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Millbrook pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Millbrook AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online 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 verify that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, 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 numerous pharmacy technician programs to choose from in the Millbrook AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Millbrook residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Millbrook AL employers 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 all states, but many employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Millbrook Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Millbrook AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Millbrook AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at 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 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 also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Millbrook AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Millbrook Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Millbrook Alabama.