Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Right One Near Foley Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Foley AL so you can receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Usually the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You might also want to look into some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Foley AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Foley AL pharmacy or similar 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 offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Foley AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Foley pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Foley AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are considering 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 supervised form of education, then online training might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Foley AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Foley residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you need to consider in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Foley 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 required in every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Foley AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first job in Foley AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Foley AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 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 to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Foley AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Foley Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the right pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the proper education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Foley Alabama.