Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Montgomery Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Montgomery AL, you may be pondering just how to choose the right college to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the best one? A number of potential students begin by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be evaluated as well. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications 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 tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Montgomery AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring 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 trade 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 different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Montgomery AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Montgomery AL employers will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate 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 a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Montgomery pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken online in your Montgomery AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be decreased 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 college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged 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 training may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school options. There are a large number of pharmacist technician schools to choose from in the Montgomery AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Montgomery residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Montgomery AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This requirement may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can 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 train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Montgomery AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first job in Montgomery AL upon graduation, especially with no prior experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they pick will need to be within travelling distance of their Montgomery AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, make certain that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Find Out More about Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Montgomery
Choose the Best Montgomery Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a school 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 colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Montgomery Alabama.
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