How to Pick the Right Pharmacy Technician Program Near Troy Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near TroyAL, you may be pondering just how to pick the best college to receive your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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The Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Troy AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Troy AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Technician Available Certifications
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 competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Troy 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 requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online college, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Troy pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Troy AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance 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 might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Troy AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Troy home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you must consider so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Troy AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Troy Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Troy AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Troy AL residence. Students who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Troy AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Troy Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Troy Alabama.