Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Ozark Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech degree or certificate near Ozark AL, you may be thinking about how to pick the right college to get your education and training. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as 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 go over these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have various job responsibilities, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Ozark 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 medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help 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 regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very fulfilling career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to becoming 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 provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Ozark AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Ozark AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, 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 graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Ozark pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Ozark AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are considering is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online classes may be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you want to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Ozark AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Ozark residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you must consider so that you may properly compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Along with helping guarantee that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Ozark AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of professional experience. This requirement may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Ozark AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Ozark AL upon graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 school has an excellent reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Ozark AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? 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 prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Ozark Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program 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 additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate training and determination you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Ozark Alabama.