Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Fairhope AL so you can get the right training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Naturally the first step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician 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 techs have many job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Fairhope AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data 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 control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Fairhope AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Fairhope AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Fairhope pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Fairhope AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, especially 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 driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want 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 schools to choose from in the Fairhope AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Fairhope home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade 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 certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Fairhope AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but a number of employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school should ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Fairhope AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Fairhope AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Fairhope AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 kind of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical 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 an opportunity to speak with some 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 pharmacy technician program you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Fairhope AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Fairhope Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper education and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Fairhope Alabama.