How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Technician School Near Prattville Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near PrattvilleAL, you might be pondering how to select the ideal program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Prattville AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out 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 most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Prattville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Prattville AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, 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 examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Prattville pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Prattville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 training might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Prattville home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must consider in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Prattville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Prattville Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Prattville AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Prattville AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy tech school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Best Prattville Pharmacy Technician Course
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Prattville Alabama.