How to Select the Best Pharmacist Tech School Near Trussville Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near TrussvilleAL, you may be wondering just how to select the right school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers 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 diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Trussville AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth 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. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Trussville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not required 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 furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Trussville AL employers will only hire a technician 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, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Online Programs
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Trussville pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain 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 convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study 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 important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech programs to pick from in the Trussville AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to 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 programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Trussville home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Trussville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep 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 tech college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Trussville Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Trussville AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Trussville AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Trussville AL area, make certain 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, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Trussville Pharmacy Technician Program
Getting the best pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper training and commitment you can accomplish your goal of becoming a pharmacist tech in Trussville Alabama.