Pharmacy Tech School
How to Choose the Best One Near Center Point Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Center Point AL, you may be thinking about just how to select the right school to get your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Center Point AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 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 usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Center Point AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Center Point AL employers will only hire a technician 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Center Point pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Center Point AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the Center Point AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop 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 programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Center Point home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you should take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program 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 Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train 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. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Center Point AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Center Point AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Center Point AL home. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want 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 student to teacher 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 a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Center Point AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Center Point Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech colleges include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Center Point Alabama.