Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Best One Near Pelham Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Pelham AL in order to receive the proper training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when selecting 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 may also choose to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have multiple job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Pelham AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
Due to the nature 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 technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are essentially 2 alternatives 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 finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also include an internship at an accepted Pelham AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Pelham AL employers will only hire 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 applicant be 18 years or older, 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 applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to deciding on a pharmacy technician online program, it's important to understand that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Pelham 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. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed 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 degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each 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 formal type of education, then online training may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Pelham AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Pelham residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are many 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 final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it might assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Pelham AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech program needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be satisfied by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Offer Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get 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 prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Pelham AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first job in Pelham AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask 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 indication that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they select will have to be within driving distance of their Pelham AL home. Students who have decided 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. Something to keep 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally 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 far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacist technician school you finally choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Pelham Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacy technician programs include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Pelham Alabama.