How to Choose the Best Pharmacist Technician Training Program Near Princeton Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near PrincetonAL, you might be wondering just how to choose the ideal program to get your education and training. Of course 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 colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Princeton AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order 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 situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech 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 finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Princeton AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Princeton AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, 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 candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online college, 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 commonly satisfied in a local Princeton pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Princeton AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Princeton AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Princeton home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and trade 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 evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training 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 Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical 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 fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Princeton Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Princeton AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Princeton AL home. Those who have chosen 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost 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 monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Princeton Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the best pharmacist technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Princeton Alabama.