Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Hoover Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Hoover AL in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of prospective students start by looking for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing 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 might also want to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Hoover AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Hoover AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, a number of Hoover AL employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are 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 only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in an area Hoover pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Hoover AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Hoover AL area and throughout the Country, 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 programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Hoover home. 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 a number of other issues that you must consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national 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 superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Hoover AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of professional experience. This condition can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work 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 meet the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Hoover AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Hoover AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If so, 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 demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Hoover AL home. Students 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 importance. One thing to bear 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 generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently 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 rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Hoover AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative 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 due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Hoover Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Hoover Alabama.