How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Tech School Near Saraland Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near SaralandAL, you may be pondering just how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Saraland AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist 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 provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data 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 profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Saraland AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Saraland 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 requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional 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 fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Saraland pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Saraland 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 colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Saraland AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Saraland home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to consider so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete 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 check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Saraland AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Saraland Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Saraland AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without any help. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Saraland AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller 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 classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, check that they are offered. 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Saraland Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the right pharmacist tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Saraland Alabama.