Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Best One Near Dothan Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Dothan AL in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the right one? Many future students begin by looking for schools 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. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Dothan AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide 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 approved Dothan AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Dothan 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 candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online school, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Dothan pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Dothan AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged 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 may be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Dothan AL area and throughout the Country, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Dothan home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you must consider so that you may properly compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Dothan 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 required in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Dothan AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Dothan AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Dothan AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose 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 normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, check 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 protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Dothan Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Dothan Alabama.