How to Enroll In the Right Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Vestavia HillsAL, you might be wondering how to pick the ideal school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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The Duties of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Vestavia Hills AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Vestavia Hills AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Vestavia Hills AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Vestavia Hills pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Vestavia Hills AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Vestavia Hills AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Vestavia Hills home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Vestavia Hills Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Vestavia Hills AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Vestavia Hills AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to bear 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 student that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Vestavia Hills AL area, check 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Vestavia Hills Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Vestavia Hills Alabama.