Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Best One Near Hueytown Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Hueytown AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. A number of prospective students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are important factors when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also choose to take a look at a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Hueytown AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Hueytown AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Hueytown AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online program, 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 environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Hueytown pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Hueytown AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to pick from in the Hueytown AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Hueytown residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to verify 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 make sure that you receive a superior education, it may help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Hueytown AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This requirement may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Hueytown AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial job in Hueytown AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any support. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within driving distance of their Hueytown AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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 type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Hueytown AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hueytown Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Hueytown Alabama.