Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Foley Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Foley AL, you may be pondering how to select the right program to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. A number of future students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You might also choose to take a look at a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
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 work 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 preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must 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. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact 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 technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Foley AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools opt to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Foley AL employers will only hire a technician 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 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Foley pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Foley AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to select from in the Foley AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Foley residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Foley AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech program should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This requirement can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be met with 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 technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Foley AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Foley AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Foley AL residence. Individuals 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 consider is that if you decide 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can offer 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 Foley AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option 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 might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Foley Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will ready 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 dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Foley Alabama.