Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Select the Best One Near Oxford Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Oxford AL so you can receive the right training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of medicine. Naturally the initial step is to locate schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You might also want to take a look at some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Oxford AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Training Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether 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 provide an introduction to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Oxford AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Oxford AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacist technician online school, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Oxford pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed over the internet in your Oxford AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Oxford AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably initially look for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Oxford home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you must consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it can help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Oxford AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Oxford AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Securing that first job in Oxford AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Oxford AL residence. Those who have chosen 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 school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized 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 final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Oxford Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Oxford Alabama.