Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Mountain Brook AL, you might be thinking about how to select the right program to receive your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? Many future students start by looking for colleges that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only 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 attending classes in your home by means 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 cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Mountain Brook AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions 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 most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely fulfilling career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Mountain Brook AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire a technician that is certified. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's necessary to realize that most schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Mountain Brook pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to obtain some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Mountain Brook AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical 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 school 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 formal type of education, then online classes may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have determined 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 begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Mountain Brook AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Mountain Brook home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you need to consider in order to effectively compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete superior education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to check that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Mountain Brook AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Mountain Brook AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging task without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Mountain Brook AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Mountain Brook Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the best choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Mountain Brook Alabama.