How to Choose the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Selma Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near SelmaAL, you may be wondering how to select the ideal college to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Selma AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Selma AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Selma AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 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 finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Selma pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under 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 Selma AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Selma AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Selma residence. If you are willing to relocate 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 consider in order to properly compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Selma AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Selma Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Selma AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Selma AL residence. Individuals who have chosen 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 even 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 usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit 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 monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Selma Pharmacy Technician Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Selma Alabama.