Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Choose the Right One Near East Florence Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near East Florence AL in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation need to be evaluated as well. You may also decide to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed East Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved East Florence AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many East Florence AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area East Florence pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your East Florence AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want 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 colleges to pick from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your East Florence home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many East Florence AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with East Florence AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in East Florence AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within driving distance of their East Florence AL residence. Students 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class 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 schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy tech college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best East Florence Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in East Florence Alabama.