How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Scottsboro Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near ScottsboroAL, you may be wondering just how to choose the right program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Scottsboro AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add 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
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Scottsboro AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Scottsboro AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Scottsboro pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire 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, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Courses
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Scottsboro AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Scottsboro residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you should consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might 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 College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Scottsboro Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Scottsboro AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Scottsboro AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes obviously 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Scottsboro Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the best pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most employers 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. The majority of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose 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 tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Scottsboro Alabama.