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How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician Course Near Prichard Alabama

Prichard Alabama pharmacy technician stocking shelfHaving decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near PrichardAL, you might be wondering just how to pick the best college to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications 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 certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.

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The Role of Pharmacy Technicians

Prichard Alabama hospital pharmacy technician in lab coat

Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform 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 accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:

  • Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
  • Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
  • Add customer and prescription data 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 audit 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 very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.

Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates

Prichard Alabama pharmacy shelves with prescriptionsIndividuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Prichard AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.

Pharmacist Technician Certifications

It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Prichard AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:

  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Pharmacy Technician Classes Online

Prichard Alabama young woman enrolled in pharmacy tech training onlinePrior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, 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 typically fulfilled in a local Prichard pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Prichard AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online 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 confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the best option for you.

What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs

Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Prichard AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Prichard residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you must consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.

Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Prichard AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.

Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to 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 met by entering a school sponsored internship program.

Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Prichard Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.

Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Prichard AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out 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 large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.

Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Prichard AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.

How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at 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 a chance to talk with a few 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 pharmacy tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Prichard

Find the Best Prichard Pharmacy Technician School

Finding the right pharmacist tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacist technician in Prichard Alabama.



 

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