Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Auburn Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Auburn AL so you can get the right training to build 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? Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss 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 techs have many job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Auburn AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 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 normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Auburn AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Auburn AL employers will only employ 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, be a high school graduate, has completed 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 exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Auburn pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Auburn AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Auburn AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Auburn residence. 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 many other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Auburn AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Auburn AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Auburn AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Auburn AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern 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 choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps 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 generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you finally pick 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 Auburn AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Auburn Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes 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 right selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Auburn Alabama.