How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Tech Training Program Near Prichard Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near PrichardAL, you might be pondering how to pick the ideal school to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front 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 address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Prichard 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 drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Prichard AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Prichard AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires 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 only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Prichard pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Prichard AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, 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 pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Prichard AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Prichard residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Prichard AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical 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 an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Prichard Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Prichard AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates 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 need to be within driving distance of their Prichard AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Prichard Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and determination you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Prichard Alabama.