Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Fort Payne Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Fort Payne AL in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Usually the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of potential students start by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a college, 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. You may also decide to research some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing 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 Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Fort Payne AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs 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 payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Fort Payne AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Fort Payne AL pharmacies 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 requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Fort Payne pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Fort Payne AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Fort Payne AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Fort Payne home. If you are able to move 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 factors that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Fort Payne 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 all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of professional experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Fort Payne AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Fort Payne AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Fort Payne AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Fort Payne AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Fort Payne Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist 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 provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the proper education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Fort Payne Alabama.