Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Madison Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Madison AL so you can get the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. You might also decide to take a look at several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Madison AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Madison AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Madison AL employers will only hire a technician 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, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Madison pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Madison AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to choose from in the Madison AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Madison home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate 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 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 offer a complete quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it might help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Madison AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be met with 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 practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Madison AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Madison AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within driving distance of their Madison AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern 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 program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacy technician program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Madison AL area, make sure that they are available. 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 have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Madison Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is 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 colleges so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Madison Alabama.