How to Enroll In the Best Pharmacist Tech College Near Saraland Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near SaralandAL, you may be wondering just how to choose the best program to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at 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 Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Saraland AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills 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 terms so that they can assist 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 relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Saraland AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Saraland AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Saraland pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Saraland AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm 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 structured form of education, then online instruction might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Courses
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Saraland AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Saraland residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you should consider in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Saraland AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This qualification can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Saraland Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Saraland AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Saraland AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly 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 prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Saraland Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the right pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, 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 trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Saraland Alabama.