Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Ozark Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Ozark AL in order to receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant factors when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you prefer attending classes in your home in front of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need 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 benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have multiple job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision 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 accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the common daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Ozark AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, many Ozark AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that has earned certification. 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, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Colleges
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in an area Ozark pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed over the internet in your Ozark AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist technician programs to pick from in the Ozark 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 initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Ozark home. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you should take into consideration in order to 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 College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Make sure to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Ozark 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 required in all states, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacy 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 requirement can be satisfied by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Ozark AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that first position in Ozark AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the college has a good reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Ozark AL home. Individuals who have opted 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 importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a college 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 to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Ozark AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Ozark Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the best pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Ozark Alabama.