Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Gadsden Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Gadsden AL in order to receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. You might also want to look into several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Gadsden AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Gadsden AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Gadsden AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that offer 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically satisfied in a local Gadsden pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Gadsden AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are many pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Gadsden AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Gadsden residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you should take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Gadsden AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Gadsden AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Gadsden AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting task without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Gadsden AL home. Students who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Gadsden AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gadsden Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician schools incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program 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 suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Gadsden Alabama.