How to Find the Right Pharmacy Technician Training Program Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Vestavia HillsAL, you might be pondering just how to select the ideal program to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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The Function of Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Vestavia Hills AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Vestavia Hills AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacist Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Vestavia Hills AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Vestavia Hills pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Vestavia Hills AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete 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 an acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 instruction may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacist Technician Courses
Once 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 a large number of pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Vestavia Hills AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Vestavia Hills residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you must consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacist Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have earned 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 evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Vestavia Hills 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 all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through 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 tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Vestavia Hills Alabama area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Vestavia Hills AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Vestavia Hills AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech college you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Vestavia Hills AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Vestavia Hills Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right education and determination you can realize your goal of becoming a pharmacy technician in Vestavia Hills Alabama.