How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Technician School Near Scottsboro Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near ScottsboroAL, you may be wondering just how to pick the right school to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Scottsboro AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually 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 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL employers 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 requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Scottsboro pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Scottsboro AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting 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 important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools 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 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 commuting distance from your Scottsboro residence. If you are willing 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 factors that you must consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Scottsboro AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College 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 tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Scottsboro Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Scottsboro AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult task without any support. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Scottsboro AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Scottsboro Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacist technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. 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 is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Scottsboro Alabama.