Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Best One Near Hartselle Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Hartselle AL, you might be wondering how to select the right college to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many prospective students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated also. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Hartselle AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications 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 addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Hartselle AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes 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 in the future. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Hartselle AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Hartselle 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 receive some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Hartselle AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to pick from in the Hartselle AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Hartselle residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are many other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired 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 programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Hartselle AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Hartselle AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Hartselle AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without any support. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Hartselle AL residence. 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 area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? 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 probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, check 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 need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Hartselle Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Hartselle Alabama.