How to Find the Right Pharmacist Tech Program Near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near PrattvilleAL, you might be thinking about 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 diploma that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes 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 go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Prattville AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since 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 can help 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 provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and help 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 prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Prattville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Prattville AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. 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, be a high school graduate, 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 mandated every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Classes
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Prattville pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Prattville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as 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 best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Prattville residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you need to consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national 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 comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain 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 in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Prattville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Prattville Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Prattville AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Prattville AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Prattville Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers 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. The majority of pharmacist technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare 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 choice. With the right training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Prattville Alabama.