How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Tech College Near Pell City Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Pell CityAL, you might be wondering how to pick the best program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Pell City AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Pell City AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Pell City AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, 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 graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Classes Online
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Pell City pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Pell City AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Pell City AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Pell City residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Pell City AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Pell City Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Pell City AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement 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 generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Pell City AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to bear in mind 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Pell City Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the appropriate education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Pell City Alabama.