Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Select the Best One Near Alabaster Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Alabaster AL in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Naturally the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are important concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Alabaster AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Alabaster AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Alabaster AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, 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 examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Alabaster pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Alabaster AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving 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 critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Alabaster AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Alabaster residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you should consider in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate 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 might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Alabaster AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 meet the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Alabaster AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Alabaster AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Alabaster AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alabaster AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Learn More on Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Alabaster
Enroll in the Right Alabaster Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Alabaster Alabama.
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