Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Jasper Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Jasper AL, you may be wondering how to pick the ideal program to get your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? Many potential students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when picking a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. You may also choose to take a look at several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing 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 Duties
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Jasper AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent 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 directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Add customer and prescription 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 control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students 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 regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Jasper AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and can lead 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 become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Jasper AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, 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 exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's necessary to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Jasper pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Jasper AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician colleges to select from in the Jasper 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 discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Jasper home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have earned 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 evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Jasper AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the programs have a working relationship with Jasper AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Jasper AL upon graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Jasper AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something 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 usually 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 Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher 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 talk with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Jasper Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and dedication you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Jasper Alabama.