Pharmacy Tech College
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Prichard Alabama
Having decided to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Prichard AL, you might be wondering just how to pick the right school to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are significant concerns when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You may also choose to look into a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Prichard AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be interacting 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 in order that they may help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice relating to medications or anything else. Any such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist supervision
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career helping people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Prichard AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually involves about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Prichard AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is required every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Programs
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online training program, it's necessary to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Prichard pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician so as to acquire some real world experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online in your Prichard AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the ideal solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have determined whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician schools to pick from in the Prichard AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Prichard home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you must take into consideration in order to properly compare programs. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Programs earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Prichard AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but a number of pharmacies prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program should prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of work experience. This condition can be fulfilled by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of job experience for certification, which may 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 degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have associations with Prichard AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that first position in Prichard AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some help. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Prichard AL home. Individuals 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 concern. One thing 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 usually 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 Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Prichard AL area, make sure that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Prichard Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is provided by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This applies both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and commitment you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Prichard Alabama.