Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Right One Near Anniston Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Anniston AL in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are important concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You may also want to take a look at several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have various job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Anniston AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, 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 sometimes being required to work after hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Anniston AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Anniston AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online college, it's important 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 usually satisfied in an area Anniston pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Anniston AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance 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.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Anniston AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Anniston residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you need to consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Anniston AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Anniston AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Anniston AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask 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 appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Anniston AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Anniston Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Anniston Alabama.