Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Best One Near Moody Alabama
Now that you have decided to attain your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Moody AL, you might be thinking about just how to select the best school to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. And if you prefer studying at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be part of 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 discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree 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 medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Moody AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most 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 a very satisfying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Moody AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs elect to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Moody AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Moody pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Moody AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have determined whether you would like to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech schools to pick from in the Moody AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Moody residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are several other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Most pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you receive a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Moody AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work 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 fulfill the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Moody AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Moody AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Moody AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school 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 normally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller 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 classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to verify that the pharmacist tech school you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Moody AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Moody Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech programs include both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's important to select a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Moody Alabama.