Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Homewood Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Homewood AL, you might be pondering how to choose the best school to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Homewood AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist 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 pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Homewood AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Homewood AL pharmacies will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in an area Homewood pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Homewood AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example 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 right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Homewood AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Homewood home. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have obtained a regional or national 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 certified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can 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 many Homewood AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This qualification can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may 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 degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Homewood AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Homewood AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any support. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Homewood AL residence. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition to 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 class or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacy tech school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Homewood AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Homewood Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online 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 ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Homewood Alabama.