Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Find the Best One Near Montgomery Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Montgomery AL, you might be pondering just how to pick the right college to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? A number of potential students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications including accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. You might also choose to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Montgomery AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Montgomery AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Montgomery AL pharmacies will only employ 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Montgomery pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Montgomery AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online program you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Montgomery AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Montgomery home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you should consider in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with distance or online education. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Montgomery 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 numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech school should prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Montgomery AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Montgomery AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, 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 profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Montgomery AL home. Those who have chosen to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges frequently charge a higher tuition for 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 back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Montgomery AL area, confirm 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 have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More on How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Montgomery
Choose the Best Montgomery Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to select 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 selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Montgomery Alabama.
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