How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Oxford Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near OxfordAL, you may be thinking about just how to pick the right college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many future students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school 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 diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Oxford AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Oxford AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Oxford AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Schools
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Oxford pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Oxford AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Oxford AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Oxford home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional 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 evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Oxford AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Oxford Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Oxford AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Oxford AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. 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 Oxford Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "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 provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Oxford Alabama.