Pharmacy Tech School
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Phenix City Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near Phenix City AL, you may be thinking about just how to pick the best program to get your education and training. Usually the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. A number of prospective students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are significant concerns when selecting a school, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be evaluated as well. And if you are interested in studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers 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 advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Phenix City AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily services a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Add prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work off-hours is a very fulfilling career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 options to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Phenix City AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Phenix City 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacy technician online school, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is usually fulfilled in a local Phenix City pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to obtain some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Phenix City AL home or via any available computer. This option is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that any online college you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the best option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Phenix City AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Phenix City residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are several other factors that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist technician colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to provide a complete quality education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Make 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Phenix City AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech college should ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This qualification may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Phenix City AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial position in Phenix City AL upon graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, 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 profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they pick will have to be within driving distance of their Phenix City AL home. Those who have decided to attend classes online obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Phenix City AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More on How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in Phenix City
Enroll in the Right Phenix City Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a gratifying occupation where helping customers with their health is your objective. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacists can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained techs. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for online classes 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 ideal selection. With the proper training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Phenix City Alabama.
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