Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Pelham Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Pelham AL, you may be pondering how to pick the best college to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when deciding on a school, they are not the only 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 decide to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and some 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 Description
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Pelham AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally two options to becoming a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Pelham AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should 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 all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs choose to become certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Additionally, many Pelham AL employers 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 requires that the candidate be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's necessary to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Pelham pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Pelham AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy technician schools to select from in the Pelham AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Pelham residence. 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 many other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may effectively compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Make sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Pelham AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but numerous pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy technician college should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 meet the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Pelham AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Pelham AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult task without some support. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they pick will have to be within commuting distance of their Pelham AL home. Those who have chosen to attend classes online 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 keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician program you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pelham AL area, make sure that they are available. 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 enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Pelham Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated 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 clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the best selection. With the proper education and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Pelham Alabama.