How to Find the Best Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Montgomery Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near MontgomeryAL, you might be pondering just how to choose the ideal school to get 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 start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes 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 cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Montgomery AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology 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 give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready 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 most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Montgomery AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Montgomery AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Montgomery pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Montgomery 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 programs are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Montgomery AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Montgomery home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Montgomery AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Montgomery Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Montgomery AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Montgomery AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching 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 ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, verify that they are available. 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Montgomery Pharmacy Technician Course
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Montgomery Alabama.