Pharmacy Tech College
How to Choose the Right One Near Dothan Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Dothan AL, you might be wondering how to select the ideal school to get your education and training. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer 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 included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Dothan AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Dothan AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Dothan AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Dothan pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Dothan AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving 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 important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Dothan AL area and throughout the United States, 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 initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Dothan residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired 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 certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Dothan AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of 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 tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Dothan AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Dothan AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will need to be within driving distance of their Dothan AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep 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 may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized 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 final decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Dothan AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dothan Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as 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 right choice. With the proper training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Dothan Alabama.