Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Prattville AL so you can get the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Of course the initial step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. Many prospective students start by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are important concerns when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You might also decide to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will address 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 technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have various job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Prattville AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Prattville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Prattville AL employers will only hire a tech 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 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Schools Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Prattville pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Prattville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college 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 study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction might be the best solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to select from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade 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 Prattville residence. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you need to consider so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech programs 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Be sure to verify that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Prattville 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 mandated in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacist technician school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This requirement can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates a year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Prattville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Getting that initial position in Prattville AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some support. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Prattville AL home. Students who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist tech program you finally select 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 night or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Learn More on How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Prattville
Choose the Best Prattville Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling occupation where assisting people with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacists can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician schools include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and 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 ideal selection. With the proper training and commitment you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Prattville Alabama.
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