Pharmacy Tech Training Program
How to Select the Best One Near Saraland Alabama
Now that you have decided to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Saraland AL, you may be pondering how to pick the ideal program to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you would like to earn. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. You may also want to take a look at some accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will go over these qualifications and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have many job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Saraland AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions should be handled by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Add 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
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, particularly for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is an extremely fulfilling career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a technician 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 offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. Many programs also require an internship at an approved Saraland AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs elect to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Additionally, many Saraland AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, 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 exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy tech online program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Saraland pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training may be taken online in your Saraland AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online schools are frequently more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online program you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to earn a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacy technician programs to pick from in the Saraland AL area and throughout the United States, so you should develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely initially look for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Saraland home. If you are able to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you should consider so that you may effectively compare schools. The following questions will assist you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have earned 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 comprehensive quality education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Don't forget to verify that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And many Saraland AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers prefer that the techs they employ be certified. The pharmacist tech program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of job experience. This qualification may be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA mandates 1 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 technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Find out if the schools have associations with Saraland AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Saraland AL after graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult task without some help. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs. If they do, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the field 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 College Located? For many students, the school they select will have to be within driving distance of their Saraland 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 local internships will be of concern. 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 might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized 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 decision. This will also give you a chance to talk 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 finally you must confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Saraland Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the ideal pharmacy tech training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting customers with their health is your objective. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacist technician programs include both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional tips you will be able to evaluate colleges so that you are sure to make the ideal selection. With the right training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Saraland Alabama.