Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Cullman Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Cullman AL so you can receive the right training to build 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 schools, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will address 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 diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Cullman AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out 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 on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab 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 normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Cullman AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled 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 technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Cullman AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may 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 critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Cullman AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Cullman home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you need to consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Cullman AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with 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 tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Cullman AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Cullman AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Cullman AL home. Students who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Cullman AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Cullman Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician schools include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies 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 programs so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Cullman Alabama.