Pharmacy Tech College
How to Select the Right One Near Albertville Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Albertville AL, you might be wondering how to pick the right college to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. You may also want to take a look at a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing 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 advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Albertville AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. 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 literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, 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 Tech Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Albertville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two 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. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Albertville AL pharmacies 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 requirements are that the applicant 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 candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Albertville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Albertville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Albertville AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Albertville residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Albertville AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Albertville AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Albertville AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task 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 school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Albertville AL residence. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble 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 decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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 sort of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Albertville AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Albertville Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school 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 schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Albertville Alabama.