Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Find the Best One Near Gardendale Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Gardendale AL in order to get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of 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 take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Gardendale AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as 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 certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Gardendale AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth 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 become certified.
Pharmacy Technician 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 qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Gardendale AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online college, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Gardendale pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Gardendale AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged 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 training may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Gardendale AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Gardendale home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Make sure 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 agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Gardendale 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 a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the programs have associations with Gardendale AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Gardendale AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Gardendale AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need 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 Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. 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 talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Gardendale AL area, make certain that they are available. 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Gardendale Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Gardendale Alabama.