Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Hartselle Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Hartselle AL so you can get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Usually the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You may also choose to take a look at several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have various 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 Hartselle AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing 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 terms so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs 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 occasionally having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Hartselle AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative 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. Each program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, a number of Hartselle AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide 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 one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Hartselle pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Hartselle AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician schools to select from in the Hartselle AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Hartselle home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you should consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Hartselle 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 every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate 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 associations with Hartselle AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Hartselle AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any support. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Hartselle AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing 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 may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller 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 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 perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hartselle AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Learn More on Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Hartselle
Enroll in the Best Hartselle Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Hartselle Alabama.
Hartselle Pharmacy Technician Training | Hartselle Pharmacy Technician Courses