Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Oxford Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Oxford AL, you may be pondering how to choose the right program to get your education and training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? A number of prospective students begin by searching for schools that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are critical concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. You might also want to look into several accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision 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 preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an accepted Oxford AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive 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 requirements are that the candidate be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before deciding on a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Oxford pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Oxford AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for many students, particularly for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, 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 a large number of pharmacy technician colleges to choose from in the Oxford AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Oxford home. 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 issues that you should consider in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and trade schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Oxford AL pharmacies 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 every state, but many employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Oxford AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Oxford AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult task without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Oxford AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit far 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 researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Oxford AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 may miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Find Out More about Becoming a Pharmacy Tech in Oxford
Enroll in the Best Oxford Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist tech schools incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true 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 selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Oxford Alabama.
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