How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Moody Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near MoodyAL, you may be thinking about how to pick the right college to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Moody AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Moody AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Moody AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Moody pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Moody AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to choose from in the Moody AL area and throughout the USA, 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 most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Moody residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Moody AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on 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 meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Moody Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Moody AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Moody AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Moody Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the ideal pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this 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. The majority of pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Moody Alabama.