How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Course Near Mobile Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near MobileAL, you may be wondering just how to choose the ideal program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Mobile AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities 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 need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Mobile AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Mobile AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Mobile pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Mobile AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Mobile AL area and throughout the USA, 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 initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Mobile residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Mobile 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 numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Mobile Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Mobile AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging task without any help. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, 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 generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Mobile 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 consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually 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 far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Mobile AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Mobile Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacist tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Mobile Alabama.