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How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Tech Course Near Moody Alabama

Moody Alabama pharmacy technician stocking shelfNow that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near MoodyAL, you may be pondering just how to choose the right college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must 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 program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.

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The Job of Pharmacy Techs

Moody Alabama hospital pharmacy tech in lab coat

Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate 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 absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:

  • Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
  • Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
  • Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
  • Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
  • Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
  • Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory

Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, 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 a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs

Moody Alabama pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Moody AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.

Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available

Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Moody AL pharmacies will only hire 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 candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacist Technician Online Programs

Moody Alabama young woman enrolled in pharmacy technician courses onlineBefore choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Moody pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Moody AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the best choice for you.

Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses

Once you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to choose 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 colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Moody home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.

Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired 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 verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Moody AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.

Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician 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 condition can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.

Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Moody Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.

Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Moody AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.

Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Moody AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.

Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.

Find Out How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Moody

Find the Right Moody Pharmacy Tech School

Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Moody Alabama.



 

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