How to Select the Right Pharmacy Tech Program Near Moody Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near MoodyAL, you might be pondering just how to pick the right college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want 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 programs.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Moody AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply 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 weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician 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 essentially 2 options to training to be 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 accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Moody AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified so as 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 requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Moody pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Moody AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are often 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 comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you wish 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 target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Moody AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Moody residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you should consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Moody AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled 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 clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Moody Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Moody AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Moody AL home. Individuals who have decided 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 program that is out of state or perhaps 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 usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative 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 as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Moody Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacist technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper education and dedication you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Moody Alabama.