Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Find the Right One Near Calera Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Calera AL so you can get the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. You might also want to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Calera AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription 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
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Calera AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Calera AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Calera pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Calera AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be reduced 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 certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Calera AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Calera residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you need to consider in order to properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Calera AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Calera AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Calera AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement 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 creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Calera AL home. Those who have chosen 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 importance. Something to keep in mind 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 generally 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Calera Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. 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 laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Calera Alabama.