Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Best One Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Mountain Brook AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. Many future students start by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a school, they are not the sole 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 attending classes in your home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then finding an accredited online college will also be part of your vetting process. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because 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 skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an approved Mountain Brook AL pharmacy or similar 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 offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Mountain Brook AL pharmacies 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 requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only 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 met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to understand that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Mountain Brook pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Mountain Brook AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech schools to choose from in the Mountain Brook AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Mountain Brook residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacist tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may additionally obtain 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 pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might assist in acquiring 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 Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification may be satisfied by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which may be met through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Mountain Brook AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Mountain Brook AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without some help. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the school they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Mountain Brook AL home. Students 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 keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Mountain Brook AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Mountain Brook Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a college 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 follow our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the proper education and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Mountain Brook Alabama.