How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Mountain BrookAL, you might be thinking about just how to choose the ideal college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Mountain Brook AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially 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 rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two 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 diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Mountain Brook AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Mountain Brook AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Mountain Brook pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Mountain Brook AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive 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 provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Courses
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to select from in the Mountain Brook AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Mountain Brook home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Mountain Brook AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on 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 a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Mountain Brook Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Mountain Brook AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Mountain Brook AL home. Students who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school 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 frequently 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 prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Mountain Brook Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacist technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Mountain Brook Alabama.