How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech Course Near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near PrattvilleAL, you might be pondering just how to choose the ideal program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying in your 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 qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Prattville AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared 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 technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Prattville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Prattville AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed 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 examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Prattville pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Prattville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 instruction might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
Once you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Prattville residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you should consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Prattville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Prattville Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Prattville AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Prattville AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Prattville Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Prattville Alabama.