How to Find the Best Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Princeton Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near PrincetonAL, you might be thinking about how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over 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 technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Princeton AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, 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 typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Princeton AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Princeton AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Princeton pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Princeton AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. 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 employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Princeton AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Princeton residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it can help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Princeton AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Princeton Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Princeton AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, find out 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 demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Princeton AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Princeton Pharmacy Technician School
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Princeton Alabama.