Pharmacy Tech College
How to Select the Right One Near Princeton Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Princeton AL, you might be thinking about how to choose the best school to get your education and training. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating schools so that you subsequently enroll in the ideal one? Many potential students begin by searching for colleges that are within driving distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While tuition and location are critical concerns when deciding on a school, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. And if you are interested in studying in your 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 go over these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have various job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Princeton AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the regular daily duties a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Add customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be completed in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Numerous programs also include an internship at an accepted Princeton AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
Certification is not required in every state, but many graduates of pharmacy technician programs choose to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, many Princeton AL employers will only employ a technician 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 at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, 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 both programs, which may be fulfilled by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Programs Online
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Princeton pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken over the internet in your Princeton AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, notably for those who continue to work while attaining their certificate or degree. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for driving and study materials can 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 critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have determined whether you want to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online college or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Princeton AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for colleges that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Princeton home. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other issues that you must consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech College Accredited? Most pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the degree or certificate program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And many Princeton AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but many pharmacies prefer that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech school should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of 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 degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Ask if the colleges have associations with Princeton AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that first position in Princeton AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some assistance. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Princeton AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally 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 bear in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 usually 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 person that prefers to sit way in the back of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are researching what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician program you ultimately select can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Princeton Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, most pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech schools include both clinical and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the appropriate education and dedication you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Princeton Alabama.