Pharmacy Tech College
How to Choose the Right One Near Dixiana Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Dixiana AL, you may be pondering just how to choose the best college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing 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 programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Dixiana 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 preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can 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 pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Dixiana AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead 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 choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Dixiana AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Dixiana pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Dixiana AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Dixiana AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Dixiana residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Dixiana AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on 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 a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Dixiana AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Dixiana AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within commuting distance of their Dixiana AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Dixiana AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Dixiana Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this 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. The majority of pharmacy tech schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Dixiana Alabama.