How to Pick the Best Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Selma Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near SelmaAL, you might be thinking about just how to choose the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Function of a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Selma AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock 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, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Selma AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Selma AL employers will only hire a technician 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 at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Selma pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Selma AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any 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 supervised form of education, then online training may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Selma AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Selma home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you should consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded 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 schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you receive a superior education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may 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 College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of 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 meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Selma Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Selma AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Selma AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally 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 keep 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Right Selma Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Selma Alabama.