How to Pick the Right Pharmacist Technician Program Near Sylacauga Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near SylacaugaAL, you may be pondering just how to pick the ideal program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. A number of future students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Sylacauga AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Sylacauga AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not required 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 should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Sylacauga AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Classes Online
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Sylacauga pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Sylacauga AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Sylacauga AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Sylacauga 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 issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require 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 School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be fulfilled 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 practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Sylacauga Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Sylacauga AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Sylacauga AL residence. Students who have opted 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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 kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Sylacauga Pharmacy Technician School
Getting the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Sylacauga Alabama.