Pharmacy Tech School
How to Pick the Right One Near Cullman Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Cullman AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers 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 Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have numerous job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Cullman AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Cullman AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Cullman AL employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to choosing 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 carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Cullman pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Cullman AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each 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 dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy technician programs to select from in the Cullman AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Cullman home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you should consider in order to effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Cullman AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Cullman AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Cullman AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Cullman AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern 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 program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally 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 sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Cullman AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Cullman Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in 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 evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Cullman Alabama.