How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near Prichard Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near PrichardAL, you may be pondering just how to choose the ideal school 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. A number of prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than 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 first, 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
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Prichard AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives 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 usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Prichard AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Prichard AL employers 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 requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Schools
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Prichard pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Prichard AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Prichard AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Prichard home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration in order to effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have obtained 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 complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Prichard AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of 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 prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Prichard Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Prichard AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Prichard AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within 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 hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final 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 finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. 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, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Prichard Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and dedication you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Prichard Alabama.