How to Select the Best Pharmacy Tech School Near Princeton Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near PrincetonAL, you might be wondering just how to pick the best school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Job of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Princeton AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready 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 technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Princeton AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Princeton AL employers will only hire a tech 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 applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Princeton pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Princeton AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Princeton AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Princeton home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Princeton AL pharmacies 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 numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways 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 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? Getting that initial position in Princeton AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Princeton AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check 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 as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Princeton Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Princeton Alabama.