How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacy Tech Program Near Scottsboro Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near ScottsboroAL, you might be thinking about how to pick the ideal college to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Scottsboro AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Scottsboro AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Scottsboro AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only 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 met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Scottsboro pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Scottsboro AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Scottsboro AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Scottsboro residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired 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 evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Scottsboro Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Scottsboro AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Scottsboro AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Scottsboro Pharmacy Tech Course
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Scottsboro Alabama.