Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Right One Near Scottsboro Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Scottsboro 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 colleges that offer the diploma or degree that you are interested in. When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifiers including accreditation and reputation should be evaluated as well. You may also want to take a look at several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifiers and 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 technician does, the degree and certification options available, and the advantages of online classes.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Pharmacy Tech Career Below
Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have various job duties, but their main responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Scottsboro AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medicines per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terms so that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily tasks a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription drugs under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription 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 manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is a very rewarding career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 options to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include classroom and lab training. Numerous programs also require an internship at an approved Scottsboro AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which normally requires about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Scottsboro AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that has earned certification. There are two 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 completed a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the candidate has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by both programs, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacist technician online program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically satisfied in a local Scottsboro pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed online in your Scottsboro AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, notably for those who keep working while acquiring their certificate or degree. And online programs are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for driving and course materials can be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 option for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you wish to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacy tech colleges to choose from in the Scottsboro AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Scottsboro residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must take into consideration so that you may adequately compare programs. The questions below will help you in collecting that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a regional or national accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been evaluated and verified to offer a complete superior education. Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the college you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it may assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the training program is accredited. And a number of Scottsboro AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but many employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep 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 condition may be met by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way 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 in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Scottsboro AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Scottsboro AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without some help. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within commuting distance of their Scottsboro AL residence. Students who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are looking at what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacist tech school you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Learn More on How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Scottsboro
Enroll in the Right Scottsboro Pharmacy Tech Program
Receiving the ideal pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a rewarding profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech programs include both classroom and laboratory work. As we have discussed in this article, it's essential to enroll in a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This holds true both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are sure to make the ideal choice. With the right education and determination you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Scottsboro Alabama.
Scottsboro Pharmacy Technician Courses | Scottsboro Pharmacy Tech Schools Online