How to Select the Right Pharmacy Tech College Near Sylacauga Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near SylacaugaAL, you may be pondering just how to pick the right program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Responsibilities of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Sylacauga AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Sylacauga 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 furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Sylacauga AL pharmacies will only hire a tech 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 applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Sylacauga pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Sylacauga AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 training may be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Sylacauga AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Sylacauga home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national 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 screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Sylacauga AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire 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 a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Sylacauga Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Sylacauga AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are considering 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 a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Sylacauga AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Sylacauga Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacist tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal of becoming a pharmacy tech in Sylacauga Alabama.