How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Tech College Near Princeton Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near PrincetonAL, you might be thinking about how to choose the right college to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Princeton AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Princeton AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes 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 down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Princeton AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide 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 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 can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Princeton pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet 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 acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering 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 formal type of education, then online instruction might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Princeton AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Princeton residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Princeton AL employers 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 required in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Princeton Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Princeton AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating 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 many students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Princeton AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours 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.
Find the Right Princeton Pharmacy Tech Course
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Princeton Alabama.