How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician College Near Phenix City Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Phenix CityAL, you may be thinking about just how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Phenix City AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent 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 need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive 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 prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a tech 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 completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Phenix City AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Phenix City AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Phenix City pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Phenix City AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Phenix City AL area and throughout the USA, 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 budget and driving distance from your Phenix City home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Phenix City AL employers 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 many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Phenix City Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Phenix City AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Phenix City 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 concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit 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 prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Phenix City Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Phenix City Alabama.