Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Right One Near Daphne Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Daphne AL, you might be pondering just how to choose the ideal college to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. You might also want to research several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover 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 technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Daphne AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 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 diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Daphne AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Daphne AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Daphne pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Daphne AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any 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 learn with a less supervised form of education, then online training may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Daphne AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Daphne home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the training program 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 Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which can be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Daphne AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Daphne AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Daphne AL residence. Those who have chosen 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. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools 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 determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Daphne AL area, make sure 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 may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Daphne Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Daphne Alabama.