How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech School Near Ozark Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near OzarkAL, you might be wondering just how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Ozark AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. 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 occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Ozark AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Ozark 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 requirements are that the applicant 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 only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Ozark pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Ozark AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Ozark AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community 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 Ozark home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality 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 degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Ozark AL pharmacies 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 many employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Ozark Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Ozark AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Ozark AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit 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 classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, check 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 need to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Ozark Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select 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 follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Ozark Alabama.