How to Select the Best Pharmacy Technician Program Near Tillmans Corner Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Tillmans CornerAL, you might be wondering how to choose the ideal school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Role of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Tillmans Corner AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings 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 wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 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 normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets 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 two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Technician Certifications
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Tillmans Corner AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate 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 applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Tillmans Corner pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Tillmans Corner AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Tillmans Corner AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Tillmans Corner residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you must consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among 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 certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Tillmans Corner AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Tillmans Corner Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Tillmans Corner AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out 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 demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Tillmans Corner AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local 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 might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Tillmans Corner AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Tillmans Corner Pharmacy Technician Course
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right training and determination you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Tillmans Corner Alabama.