Pharmacy Tech School
How to Find the Best One Near Scottsboro Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Scottsboro AL in order to get the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. Naturally the first step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. You might also decide to look into a few accredited pharmacy tech online 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 to begin with, let's take a look at what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Scottsboro AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service abilities because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help 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 offer medical advice concerning prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medicines under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degree Programs
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are basically 2 alternatives to becoming a technician 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 finished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Scottsboro AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
Certification is not required in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Scottsboro AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two 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, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Colleges
Prior to choosing a pharmacy technician online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Scottsboro pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Scottsboro AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, especially for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online programs are frequently more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college 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 supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the right solution for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have determined whether you want to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Scottsboro AL area and throughout the United States, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Scottsboro home. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech college, then location may not be critical. But there are several other variables that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting organizations 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 additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with online or distance learning. Be sure to verify that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Scottsboro AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prepare You for Certification? Certification is not required in all states, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician school needs to prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This requirement can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates 1 year of experience for certification, which can be satisfied with an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the programs have associations with Scottsboro AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that first position in Scottsboro AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without some support. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs. If they do, 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 profession generating demand for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a sizable network of employer contacts where it can place graduates.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the school they choose will have to be within commuting distance of their Scottsboro AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online obviously 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 decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might need 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 don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, make certain that they are offered. 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, ask what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find Out More about How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Scottsboro
Enroll in the Right Scottsboro Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the right pharmacy technician training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is offered by technical colleges, vocational and trade schools, as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist tech schools include both classroom and laboratory training. As we have covered in this article, it's important to choose a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our additional suggestions you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the right training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Scottsboro Alabama.
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