Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Anniston Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Anniston AL, you might be pondering just how to select the best school to get your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need 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 benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have many job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Anniston AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working 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 terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Anniston AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Anniston AL pharmacies 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 requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Anniston pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Anniston AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 classes may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Anniston AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Anniston home. 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 several other issues that you should consider in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national 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 provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate 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 may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Anniston AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled 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 degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Anniston AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Anniston AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Anniston AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep 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 have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average 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 decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Anniston AL area, make sure that they are available. 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 have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Anniston Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential 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 follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Anniston Alabama.