Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Muscle Shoals AL so you can receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when picking a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be evaluated as well. You may also want to research some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when reviewing 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 courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have many job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Muscle Shoals AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription 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 monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Muscle Shoals AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Muscle Shoals 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, 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 candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Muscle Shoals pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Muscle Shoals AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Muscle Shoals AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Muscle Shoals home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have earned a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Muscle Shoals AL pharmacies 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 employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This condition may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which can be met with 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 practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Muscle Shoals AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Muscle Shoals AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a challenging undertaking without some support. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the school they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Muscle Shoals AL home. Individuals who have opted 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. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college 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 often charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing 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 some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Muscle Shoals Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, most pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the best choice. With the right training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Muscle Shoals Alabama.