Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Center Point Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Center Point AL in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You might also decide to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Center Point AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Center Point AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Center Point AL employers will only employ 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 candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Center Point pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Center Point AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Center Point AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Center Point 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 several other variables that you should consider in order to adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Center Point AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Center Point AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Center Point AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Center Point AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear 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 typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Center Point AL area, make sure that they are offered. 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 have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Center Point Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Center Point Alabama.