Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Pelham Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Pelham AL, you may be pondering just how to select the right college to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. You might also decide to take a look at a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job functions, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Pelham AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms 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 offer medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Some of the common daily services a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Certificates and Degrees
Students 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 becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Pelham AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Pelham AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide 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 professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is commonly satisfied in an area Pelham pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Pelham AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and study materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacist tech colleges to select from in the Pelham AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Pelham residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. 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 sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it can assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Pelham AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification may be met by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Pelham AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Pelham AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some help. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Pelham AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often 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.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to verify that the pharmacist technician college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, check that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Pelham Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is an important first step to starting your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician colleges incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the right training and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Pelham Alabama.