Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Auburn Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Auburn AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some 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 certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Auburn AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school 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 vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Auburn AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Auburn AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Auburn pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Auburn AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Auburn AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Auburn 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 factors that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Auburn 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 mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Auburn AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Auburn AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, 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 generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Auburn AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Auburn AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Learn More about Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Auburn
Choose the Right Auburn Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Auburn Alabama.
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