How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Trussville Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near TrussvilleAL, you may be thinking about how to pick the right program to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer studying at 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 go over these qualifications and some 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 Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since 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 working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help 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 offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, 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 low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Trussville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Trussville AL employers 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 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 examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Trussville pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Trussville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you want to obtain 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 pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Trussville AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Trussville residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Trussville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Trussville Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Trussville AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Trussville AL home. Those who have opted 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 importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Trussville Pharmacy Technician School
Receiving the best pharmacist technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacist tech in Trussville Alabama.