Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Homewood Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Homewood AL, you may be wondering just how to choose the ideal program to receive your education and training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. And if you are interested in attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers 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 technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Homewood AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone 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
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with low 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 Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Homewood AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire 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 candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online college, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Homewood pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This alternative 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 traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Homewood residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you need to consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have earned 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 evaluated and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. 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. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical 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 a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Homewood AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial job in Homewood AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Homewood AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average 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 speak with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally pick can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Learn More about How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Homewood
Enroll in the Right Homewood Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech colleges include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Homewood Alabama.
Homewood How To Become A Pharmacy Tech | Homewood Pharmacy Tech Certificate