Pharmacy Tech College
How to Choose the Best One Near Albertville Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Albertville AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in 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 take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Albertville AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared 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 on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Albertville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Albertville AL employers will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 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 only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Albertville pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Albertville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Albertville AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast 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 Albertville residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national 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 screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Albertville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Albertville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Albertville AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any support. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place 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 Albertville AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom 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 colleges you are looking at 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Albertville Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician schools include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Albertville Alabama.