Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Millbrook Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Millbrook AL in order to get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are critical factors when selecting a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications including reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at 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 many job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Millbrook AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely gratifying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Millbrook AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. 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 Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Millbrook AL pharmacies 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 at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed 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 called for every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Millbrook 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 obtain some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Millbrook AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study 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 critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Millbrook AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Millbrook residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you need to consider in order to adequately compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected 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 comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Millbrook AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Millbrook AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Millbrook AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Millbrook AL home. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may 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 don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you finally choose can furnish 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 Millbrook AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Millbrook Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy tech colleges include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Millbrook Alabama.