How to Find the Best Pharmacist Technician Course Near Mobile Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near MobileAL, you may be thinking about how to select the right school to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many potential students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Role of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Mobile AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Mobile AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth 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 Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Mobile AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year 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 can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Mobile pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet 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 certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check 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 learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Mobile AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Mobile home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Mobile AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way 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 prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Mobile Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Mobile AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Mobile AL home. Students who have chosen 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending 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, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Mobile Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Mobile Alabama.