Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Jacksonville Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Jacksonville AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the first step is to find schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant 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. You may also choose to look into some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Jacksonville AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially two alternatives to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Jacksonville AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Jacksonville 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 applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Jacksonville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Jacksonville AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online school you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction might be the right solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to pick from in the Jacksonville AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Jacksonville home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other variables that you must consider so that you may properly compare schools. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Jacksonville AL employers 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 required in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech program should ready 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 qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Jacksonville AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Jacksonville AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any assistance. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Jacksonville 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 local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical 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 an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jacksonville AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Jacksonville Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs include both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the right training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Jacksonville Alabama.