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How to Find the Right Pharmacist Technician Course Near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama pharmacy tech taking prescription from shelfNow that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Phenix CityAL, you might be pondering just how to choose the best school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.

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The Role of Pharmacy Techs

Phenix City Alabama hospital pharmacy tech in lab coat

Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Phenix City AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:

  • Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
  • Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
  • Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
  • Complete 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 weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and well-being.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates

Phenix City Alabama pharmacy stockStudents desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Phenix City AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves 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. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.

Pharmacy Tech Certifications

Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Phenix City AL employers 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Tech Online Classes

Phenix City Alabama young woman enrolled in pharmacy tech courses onlinePrior to selecting a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Phenix City pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Phenix City AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college 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 learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the ideal solution for you.

Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges

After you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Phenix City AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Phenix City home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.

Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training 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 Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.

Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Phenix City Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Phenix City AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.

Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Phenix City AL home. Students who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.

How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.

Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, make sure that they are available. 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find Out How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Phenix City

Find the Best Phenix City Pharmacy Technician School

Receiving the right pharmacist tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a school 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 other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Phenix City Alabama.



 

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