Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Alexander City Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Alexander City AL so you can get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. You may also want to look into a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Alexander City AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be 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 introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Alexander City AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Alexander City AL pharmacies will only employ a technician 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 candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Alexander City pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Alexander City AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Alexander City AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Alexander City home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance 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 Alexander City AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This requirement may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Alexander City AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Alexander City AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Alexander City AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools 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 talk with some 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 pharmacist technician college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Alexander City AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Alexander City Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Alexander City Alabama.