Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Best One Near Albertville Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Albertville AL in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. You might also decide to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Albertville AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature 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 technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives to becoming 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 typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Albertville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Albertville AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Albertville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Albertville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive 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 looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer 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 pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Albertville AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Albertville home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among 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 offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Albertville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Albertville AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Albertville AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Albertville AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching 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 ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Albertville Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Albertville Alabama.