How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Tech Course Near Prichard Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near PrichardAL, you might be wondering how to choose the right college to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools 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 commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Prichard AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Prichard AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Prichard AL pharmacies will only hire 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 candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Schools
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Prichard pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Prichard AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Prichard AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Prichard home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should consider in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected 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 complete superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many 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 required in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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. Check if the colleges have associations with Prichard Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial job in Prichard AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high 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 pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Prichard AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several 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 verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Prichard Pharmacy Technician Course
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Prichard Alabama.