Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Enterprise Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Enterprise AL, you may be pondering how to choose the ideal college to get your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by searching for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. You might also decide to take a look at several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and 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 diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Enterprise AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, 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 an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Enterprise AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option 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 opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Enterprise AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished 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 required every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in an area Enterprise pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Enterprise AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish 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 start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Enterprise AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Enterprise residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other issues that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Enterprise 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 all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one 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 technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Enterprise AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Enterprise AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If so, 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 field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Enterprise AL home. Those who have decided 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 concern. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose 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 usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Enterprise AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Enterprise Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech programs include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Enterprise Alabama.