Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Center Point Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Center Point AL, you may be thinking about just how to pick the right program to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You might also decide to look into some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have various job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Center Point AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous 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 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Center Point AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Center Point pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Center Point AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer 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 pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Center Point AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Center Point residence. If you are willing 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 schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national 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 offer a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Center Point AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on 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 satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Center Point AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Center Point AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, 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 demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Center Point AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Center Point AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Center Point Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper education and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Center Point Alabama.