Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Cullman Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Cullman AL, you may be wondering how to pick the right program to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Cullman AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be dealing 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 help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be 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 completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Cullman AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two 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 in the future. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Cullman AL pharmacies 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 requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's necessary to realize that most 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 hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Cullman AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm 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 disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Cullman AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Cullman home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors 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 ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it might help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. 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 employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This qualification can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Cullman AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Cullman AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, 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 demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Cullman AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Cullman AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Cullman Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Cullman Alabama.