Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Jacksonville Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Jacksonville AL so you can get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You might also choose to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some 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 advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Jacksonville AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out 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 on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Jacksonville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Jacksonville AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are two 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in an area Jacksonville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Jacksonville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can 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 important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 may be the ideal solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Jacksonville AL area and throughout the USA, 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 colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Jacksonville home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 schools may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be 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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Jacksonville AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Jacksonville AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first job in Jacksonville AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are looking at 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 a good reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Jacksonville AL residence. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to bear 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 need 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 live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Jacksonville Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Jacksonville Alabama.