How to Pick the Best Pharmacy Technician School Near Tillmans Corner Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Tillmans CornerAL, you may be thinking about how to pick the right program to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers 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 tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Tillmans Corner AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
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 two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Tillmans Corner AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Tillmans Corner AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Tech Online Colleges
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Tillmans Corner pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Tillmans Corner AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain 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 Tillmans Corner AL area and throughout the USA, so you must 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 schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Tillmans Corner home. If you are able to move 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 take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Tillmans Corner AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can 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 technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Tillmans Corner Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Tillmans Corner AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Tillmans Corner AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Tillmans Corner AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Tillmans Corner Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the ideal pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Tillmans Corner Alabama.