Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Right One Near Jasper Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Jasper AL in order to get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Jasper AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Jasper AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 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 down the road. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Jasper AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide 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 one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Before deciding on a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in a local Jasper pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Jasper AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online training may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you want 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 narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Jasper AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Jasper residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you should take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Jasper AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire 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 in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Jasper AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Jasper AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, find out 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 appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Jasper AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally 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 the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Jasper AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Jasper Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies 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 accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Jasper Alabama.