How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech Program Near Saraland Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near SaralandAL, you might be pondering how to pick the best school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
The Function of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since 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 working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs 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 occasionally having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Saraland AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires 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. Each program can furnish the necessary 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 every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Saraland AL pharmacies 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 requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only 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 satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Saraland pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the 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, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
After you have decided whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Saraland AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Saraland residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must consider in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional 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 offer a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it might assist 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 a number of Saraland AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of 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 tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Saraland Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Saraland AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Saraland AL home. Those who have decided 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Saraland Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacist tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the proper training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Saraland Alabama.