Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Find the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Prattville AL, you might be pondering just how to choose the right program to receive your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately pick the ideal one? When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You may also want to research some accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifiers and others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Prattville AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may assist customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. Several of the common daily tasks a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Receive and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Prattville AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two 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 down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician programs opt to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Prattville AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by each program, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Programs Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online school, it's important to understand that most schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in a local Prattville pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Prattville AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Tech Programs
Once you have determined whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to choose from in the Prattville AL area and throughout the Country, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare 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 Prattville home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other variables that you should consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech colleges 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 verified to provide a comprehensive quality education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require 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 required in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on 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 meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Prattville AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first job in Prattville AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging endeavor without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has an excellent reputation within the field generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the college they select will need to be within travelling distance of their Prattville AL home. Those who have chosen 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 consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering 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 final determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prattville AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Prattville Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacist techs were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and dedication you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Prattville Alabama.