Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Pell City Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Pell City AL, you might be thinking about just how to choose the ideal college to receive your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important concerns when selecting a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. You might also want to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Pell City AL pharmacist. They must also have good 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 instructions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career helping customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives 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 normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Pell City AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician schools elect to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Pell City AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has completed a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Schools Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Pell City pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed online in your Pell City AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often 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 provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online classes might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Pell City AL area and throughout the USA, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Pell City home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other factors that you should consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Pell City AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates one year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied 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 technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Pell City AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Pell City AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult undertaking without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they select will have to be within travelling distance of their Pell City AL residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy tech program you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Find Out More on Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Pell City
Enroll in the Right Pell City Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where helping people with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have covered in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate education and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Pell City Alabama.
Pell City Pharmacy Tech Schools Online | Pell City Pharmacy Technician Certificate