Pharmacy Tech College
How to Pick the Best One Near Daphne Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Daphne AL, you may be pondering how to select the right college to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need 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 Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Daphne AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so 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 circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Daphne AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Daphne AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Daphne pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Daphne AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Daphne AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Daphne home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make 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 make sure that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Daphne AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work 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 meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Daphne AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Daphne AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Daphne AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More about How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Daphne
Enroll in the Best Daphne Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a college 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 suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Daphne Alabama.
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