How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Tech School Near Selma Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near SelmaAL, you might be wondering just how to choose the ideal program to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications 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 benefits of online courses.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Selma AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help 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 provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Selma AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually 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 down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Selma AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 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 at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Selma pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Selma AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged 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 training might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Schools
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 numerous pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Selma AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Selma residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And many Selma AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain 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 a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Selma Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Selma AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Selma AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Selma Pharmacy Technician Program
Finding the right pharmacist technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can reach your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Selma Alabama.