Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Right One Near Calera Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Calera AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. You may also want to look into some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need 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 programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Calera AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most 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 payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Calera AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Calera AL pharmacies will only hire a technician 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, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Calera pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Calera AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm 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 learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Calera AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Calera home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might 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 Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through 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 degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Calera AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Calera AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Calera AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big 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 small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing 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 talk with a few 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 verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally 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 evening or weekend classes in the Calera AL area, make certain that they are available. 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 have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Calera Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Calera Alabama.