How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician Course Near Pell City Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Pell CityAL, you may be wondering how to choose the best school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program 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 to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Pell City AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Pell City AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Pell City AL employers will only employ a tech 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, 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 applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Colleges Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Pell City pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Pell City AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Pell City AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Pell City residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Pell City AL employers 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 all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Pell City Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Pell City AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Pell City AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 be required 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 live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Pell City Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the proper training and commitment you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Pell City Alabama.