Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Best One Near Bessemer Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Bessemer AL so you can receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. You may also decide to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Bessemer AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Bessemer AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools choose to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Bessemer AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Bessemer pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Bessemer AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to obtain a degree or a certificate, 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 schools to pick from in the Bessemer AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Bessemer residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Bessemer AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Bessemer AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Bessemer AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Bessemer AL residence. Individuals who have chosen 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. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Bessemer AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Bessemer Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Bessemer Alabama.