How to Find the Best Pharmacist Technician Course Near Scottsboro Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near ScottsboroAL, you might be wondering how to pick the right college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Scottsboro AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to becoming a technician 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 present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Scottsboro AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Scottsboro AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Programs
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Scottsboro pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Scottsboro AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Scottsboro AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Scottsboro home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are several other factors that you should consider in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Scottsboro AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways 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 practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Scottsboro Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Scottsboro AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Scottsboro AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching 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 a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Scottsboro Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the ideal pharmacist technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Scottsboro Alabama.