How to Choose the Right Pharmacist Technician School Near Saraland Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near SaralandAL, you may be thinking about just how to pick the ideal school to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means 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 some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Saraland AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals 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 tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Saraland AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Saraland AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant 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 just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Saraland pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Saraland AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance 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 might be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Saraland AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Saraland residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you need to consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Saraland AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire 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 in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Saraland Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Saraland AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, 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 creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Saraland AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even 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 generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher 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 talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saraland 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, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Saraland Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the best pharmacist tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Saraland Alabama.