How to Select the Best Pharmacy Tech College Near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near PrattvilleAL, you might be pondering how to choose the right college to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in 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 tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Prattville AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is a very satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Prattville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Prattville AL pharmacies will only hire a tech 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 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Prattville pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Prattville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Prattville residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many 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 pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Prattville Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Prattville AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Prattville AL residence. 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. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering 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 a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Prattville Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and dedication you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Prattville Alabama.