Pharmacy Tech College
How to Select the Right One Near Prichard Alabama
Now it’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Prichard AL so you can receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Of course the first step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation must be considered also. And if you prefer attending classes at home in front of your computer instead of in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will address these qualifications 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 tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Prichard AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily duties a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely rewarding career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Prichard AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more in depth education and opens doors 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 become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Prichard AL employers will only hire 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 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 a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by each program, which may be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Prichard pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to receive some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Prichard AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and study materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online programs are accredited, which is essential for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to attain 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 options. There are numerous pharmacist tech programs to choose from in the Prichard AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Prichard residence. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other factors that you must consider so that you may adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance education. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, it can assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Prichard AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy tech college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This condition can be fulfilled by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of professional experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Prichard AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Prichard AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the school they decide on will have to be within commuting distance of their Prichard AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally 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 sort of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a small class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing 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 determination. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician college you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you choose to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, check 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 need to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family emergencies.
Learn More about Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Prichard
Enroll in the Best Prichard Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to launching your career in a rewarding profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have covered in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true 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 ideal selection. With the appropriate education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Prichard Alabama.
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