Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Right One Near East Florence Alabama
Having decided to earn 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. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. You might also choose to take a look at several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed East Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very rewarding career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of 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 requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive 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 choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many East Florence AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. 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 completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local East Florence pharmacy or hospital 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 non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your East Florence AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to choose from in the East Florence AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your East Florence home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible 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 graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with East Florence AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in East Florence AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, find out 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 signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their East Florence AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically 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 kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical 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 speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the East Florence AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best East Florence Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in East Florence Alabama.