How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician Training Program 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 just how to pick the ideal school to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. 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 critical factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means 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 go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Mobile AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
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 options to becoming a technician 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 finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Mobile AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive 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 Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Mobile 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 applicant 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 only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Mobile pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Mobile AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Mobile AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Mobile residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you need to consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have earned 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 offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Mobile AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Mobile Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Mobile AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Mobile AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mobile AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Mobile Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech programs include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school 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 evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Mobile Alabama.