Pharmacy Tech College
How to Pick the Right One Near Pell City Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Pell City AL, you might be thinking about how to select the best program to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the ideal one? A number of future students start by looking for schools that are within driving 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. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. You might also decide to look into a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative 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 to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Pell City 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 preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications 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 would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily services a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Diplomas
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Pell City AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should provide the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Pell City AL pharmacies will only employ a tech that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant 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 only requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Pell City 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 receive some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Pell City AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have decided whether you would like to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Pell City AL area and throughout the Country, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Pell City home. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to offer a complete superior education. Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, it can assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Pell City 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 all states, but many employers prefer that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician college should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work 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. Check if the programs have a working relationship with Pell City AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial position in Pell City AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If so, 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 demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Pell City AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Pell City AL area, check that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Pell City Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the best selection. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Pell City Alabama.