Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Florence Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Florence AL, you may be pondering how to choose the ideal school to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students begin by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer attending classes in your home by means of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Florence AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can 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 give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. 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 occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Florence AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Florence 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 requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in an area Florence pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Florence AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you would like to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to choose from in the Florence AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Florence residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Florence AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Florence AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Florence AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Florence AL home. Students who have decided 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 importance. One thing 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big 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 likely want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Florence AL area, make sure 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 have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Florence Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Florence Alabama.