Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Find the Best One Near Scottsboro Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Scottsboro AL so you can get the right training to build a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently enroll in the right one? Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the cost. While cost and location are significant concerns when deciding on a school, 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. You may also decide to look into several accredited online pharmacy tech programs as an alternative to attending classes on campus. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online classes.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job responsibilities, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Scottsboro AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service abilities since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. On the other hand, under no situation should they ever provide medical advice pertaining to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Input customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and control inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Certificates and Degrees
Individuals wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician program are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two options to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs offer an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include classroom and lab training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Scottsboro AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which normally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more expansive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, many Scottsboro AL employers will only employ a tech that has earned certification. There are 2 organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has completed a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which may be satisfied by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Prior to choosing a pharmacist tech online training program, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in an area Scottsboro pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the benefit of working under an experienced pharmacy technician so as to acquire some work place experience. However the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Scottsboro AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online programs are sometimes less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So verify that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less structured form of education, then online instruction may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Programs
After you have decided whether you wish to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Scottsboro AL area and throughout the United States, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Scottsboro home. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are many other factors that you must consider so that you may properly compare colleges. The following questions will assist you in collecting that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have obtained 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 certified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Be sure to confirm that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you select are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Scottsboro 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 every state, but a number of employers desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of work experience. This condition may be satisfied by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which can be satisfied by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Ask if the colleges have a working relationship with Scottsboro AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Securing that initial job in Scottsboro AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some assistance. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a sizable network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the Program Located? For a lot of students, the college they choose will have to be within driving distance of their Scottsboro AL residence. 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 importance. One thing to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of person that likes to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a small class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. 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 some 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 tech program you ultimately choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you opt to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Scottsboro AL area, make certain that they are offered. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Scottsboro Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the right pharmacy tech training is a crucial first step to starting your career in a gratifying profession where helping people with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, many pharmacy technicians were taught "on the job". Nowadays, most employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and laboratory work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Scottsboro Alabama.