Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Princeton Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy technician degree or certificate program near Princeton AL in order to receive the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. But just how do you undertake evaluating and comparing schools so that you subsequently pick the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a school, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as cost and location. You might also choose to take a look at a few accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifiers 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 classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their principal responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Princeton AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may help customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete 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, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes having to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially two options to training to be a tech regardless if 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 aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Princeton AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Available
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges elect to become certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Princeton AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in a local Princeton pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken online in your Princeton AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for many students, especially for those who continue to work while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently less expensive than traditional options. Tuition and expenses 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 programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist technician programs to choose from in the Princeton AL area and throughout the USA, so you need to 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 first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Princeton home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you must consider in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a complete superior education. Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program as well as the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Along with helping make sure that you get a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the program of training is accredited. And many Princeton 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 all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacist technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition can be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician 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 an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Princeton AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Princeton AL after graduation, especially with no experience, can be a challenging task without some support. Ask if the colleges you are researching 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 college has an excellent reputation within the profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will have to be within travelling distance of their Princeton AL home. Individuals who have chosen to attend online classes 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 bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often 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 person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Princeton Pharmacy Tech School
Getting 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. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This is true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare colleges so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the right training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Princeton Alabama.