Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Mobile Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Mobile AL in order to get the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing 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 technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Mobile AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work after hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Mobile AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Mobile AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Mobile pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to receive some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Mobile AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician programs to select from in the Mobile AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Mobile home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are several other issues that you need to consider so that you may effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have acquired 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 verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make sure to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Mobile AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Mobile AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Mobile AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any support. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Mobile AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Mobile AL area, confirm that they are offered. 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 need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Mobile Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where helping customers with their health is your objective. In the past, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Mobile Alabama.