Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Best One Near Enterprise Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Enterprise AL, you might be pondering just how to pick the best program to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer attending classes at 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 qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Enterprise AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. 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 at times having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a technician 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 accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Enterprise AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Enterprise AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. 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, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant 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 Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to understand that the majority of schools 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 by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Enterprise AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Enterprise AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Enterprise residence. If you are able 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 should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech 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). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Enterprise 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 required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech 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 satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Enterprise AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Enterprise AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Enterprise AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Enterprise AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Enterprise Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools include both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Enterprise Alabama.