How to Find the Best Pharmacist Tech Program Near Trussville Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near TrussvilleAL, you might be thinking about just how to choose the best school to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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The Role of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Trussville AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two 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 present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Trussville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacist Tech Available Certifications
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Trussville AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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 one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Trussville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Trussville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Trussville AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Trussville home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacist Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Trussville 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 every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Trussville Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Trussville AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any help. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Trussville AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep 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 may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Find the Best Trussville Pharmacy Technician Course
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians 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 provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Trussville Alabama.