How to Pick the Best Pharmacist Tech College Near Selma Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near SelmaAL, you might be wondering just how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Selma AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help 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 medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. 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 occasionally having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements 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 alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive 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 Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Selma AL pharmacies 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Selma pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Selma AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Selma AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical 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 Selma residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you must consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to 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 schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Selma AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Selma Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Selma AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some support. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will need 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 area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student 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 an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Selma Pharmacy Technician Course
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in 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 evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist technician in Selma Alabama.