How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Tech Course Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Mountain BrookAL, you may be thinking about just how to pick the ideal program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling 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 interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction 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 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 needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Classes
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Mountain Brook pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Mountain Brook AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 instruction might be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Mountain Brook AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Mountain Brook home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Mountain Brook AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Mountain Brook Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Mountain Brook AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Mountain Brook AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college 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 normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Mountain Brook Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs 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 vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Mountain Brook Alabama.