Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Hoover Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Hoover AL, you may be thinking about how to select the best program to receive your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. Many potential students start by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. You may also decide to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address 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 diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Hoover AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 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 usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Hoover AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two 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 down the road. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Hoover 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 at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. 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
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online school, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Hoover pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Hoover AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient 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 course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school 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 formal type of education, then online classes might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
After you have decided whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to select from in the Hoover AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Hoover home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Hoover AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Hoover AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Hoover AL after graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a daunting task without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out 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 demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Hoover AL residence. Individuals who have decided 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 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 typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student 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 converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out 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 might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Hoover Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician programs include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Hoover Alabama.