Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Homewood Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Homewood AL, you might be thinking about just how to select the ideal school to receive your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have various job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Homewood AL pharmacist. They must also have great 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 instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Homewood AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 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 furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Homewood pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Homewood residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are several other variables that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Homewood 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 every state, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to ready 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 qualification can be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Homewood AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Homewood AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without any assistance. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Homewood AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing 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 need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or get lost 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 researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, make certain that they are offered. 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 carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More on Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Homewood
Choose the Right Homewood Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Homewood Alabama.
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