Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Best One Near Dixiana Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Dixiana AL, you might be wondering just how to pick the ideal college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of future students start by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Dixiana AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Dixiana 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 offer 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 Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Dixiana AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Dixiana pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Dixiana AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Dixiana AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Dixiana residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired 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 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. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you get a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Dixiana AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Dixiana AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Dixiana AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication 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 employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Dixiana AL home. Individuals who have opted 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. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately select 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 evening or weekend classes in the Dixiana AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dixiana Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Dixiana Alabama.