Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Best One Near East Florence Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near East Florence AL, you may be thinking about just how to pick the best school to receive your education and training. Usually the first step is to find 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 significant factors when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You may also decide to research several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed East Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications 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 directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved East Florence AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many East Florence AL employers will only employ 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 applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local East Florence pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your East Florence AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering 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 formal type of education, then online training may be the right solution for you.
Questions 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 program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician programs to choose from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your East Florence residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of East Florence 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 desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with East Florence AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in East Florence AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting task without any 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 indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their East Florence AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear 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 be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical teacher to student 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 talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right East Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes 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 sure to make the best choice. With the right education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in East Florence Alabama.