How to Pick the Best Pharmacist Technician Training 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 program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision 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 drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared 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 most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Moody AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either 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
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Moody 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 requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Moody pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Moody 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 colleges are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. 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 an acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Moody AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Moody home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Moody AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Moody Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Moody AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Moody AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically 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 person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Moody Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Moody Alabama.