Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Select the Best One Near Princeton Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Princeton AL, you may be wondering just how to pick the ideal college to receive your education and training. Naturally the first step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are critical factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Duties
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Princeton AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding directions 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 prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the common daily functions a pharmacy technician might carry out are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very rewarding career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an accepted Princeton AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program should furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more competitive in the job market. Also, many Princeton AL employers will only employ a technician that is certified. 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, be a high school graduate, 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 mandated every 2 years by each program, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly satisfied in a local Princeton 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 in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Princeton AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and study materials can be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online program you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to choose from in the Princeton AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Princeton home. If you are willing to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other factors that you should take into consideration so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may additionally receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Make sure to check that the degree or certificate program as well as the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, it may help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Princeton AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacist tech school should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain practical 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 a great way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Princeton AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Princeton AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any help. Find out if the colleges you are considering 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 signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they select will need to be within commuting distance of their Princeton AL home. Those who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of concern. Something to keep in mind is that if you choose 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 commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to 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 back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate determination. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacy technician college you finally select can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Princeton AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Princeton Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying occupation where assisting customers with their health is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician schools incorporate both classroom and clinical training. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to select a program that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to evaluate schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Princeton Alabama.