How to Choose the Right Pharmacy Technician Course Near Ozark Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near OzarkAL, you may be pondering how to choose the right program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college 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 discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Ozark AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade 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 overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Ozark AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Ozark AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Ozark pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Ozark AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Courses
Once you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Ozark AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Ozark 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 a number of other variables that you must consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may 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 Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of 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 Ozark Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Ozark AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, 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 creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Ozark AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Ozark Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Ozark Alabama.