Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Muscle Shoals AL in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Usually the first step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You might also choose to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and 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 Description
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Muscle Shoals AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Muscle Shoals AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Muscle Shoals AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that offer 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 finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by each program, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Muscle Shoals pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Muscle Shoals AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the ideal solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Muscle Shoals AL area and throughout the United States, so you need to create 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 first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Muscle Shoals home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you must consider in order to properly compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained 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 furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program together with the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it might help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Muscle Shoals AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This qualification can be met by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Muscle Shoals AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Muscle Shoals AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement 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 means that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Muscle Shoals AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Muscle Shoals AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Muscle Shoals Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were trained "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 technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory 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 holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Muscle Shoals Alabama.