How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician College Near Moody Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near MoodyAL, you may be thinking about how to select the right program to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Moody AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Moody AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Moody AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Moody pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Moody AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Moody AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Moody residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Moody AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Moody Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Moody AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If so, 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 signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Moody AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for 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 back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, verify 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 have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Moody Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists 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. A large number of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Moody Alabama.