Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Choose the Best One Near Selma Alabama
It’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy technician certificate or degree program near Selma AL so you can get the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of healthcare. Of course the initial step is to find colleges that offer the certificate or degree that you would like to earn. Many potential students begin by looking for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are important concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. And if you prefer studying at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online programs.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their primary responsibility is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Selma AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medicines 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 directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice concerning medications or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech may carry out are:
- Greet and help customers with medications and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and control inventory
As a consequence of their profession, pharmacy techs will spend the majority of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work off-hours is an extremely gratifying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
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 essentially two options to becoming a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be completed in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and typically include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Selma AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and opens doors to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program should furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech schools choose to get certified in order to be more competitive in the job market. Additionally, a number of Selma 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 requirements are that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by each program, which may be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Programs
Prior to selecting a pharmacist tech online college, it's important to realize that most schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in a local Selma pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working with a seasoned pharmacy technician in order to obtain some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be taken online in your Selma AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for most students, notably for those who continue to work while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials may be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less supervised form of education, then online classes may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you want to obtain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are a large number of pharmacy technician schools to pick from in the Selma AL area and throughout the Country, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and trade schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for programs that are within both your financial budget and driving distance from your Selma residence. If you are willing to move or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be important. But there are a number of other variables that you need to take into consideration so that you may properly compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final selection.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and trade schools have acquired a regional or national 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 provide a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also obtain 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you get a superior education, it might assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Selma AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the School Ready You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist tech program should prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need 1 year of work experience. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking part in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires 1 year of job experience for certification, which may be satisfied with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to acquire practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Ask if the schools have associations with Selma AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Selma AL after graduation, particularly with no prior experience, can be a daunting undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools 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 a good reputation within the profession creating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the school they choose will have to be within travelling distance of their Selma AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or even 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 frequently charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of person that prefers to sit far in the back of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. 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 some of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the pharmacy technician school you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly essential if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma 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 enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Selma Pharmacy Tech Program
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, most employers can no longer afford to do this and place a higher importance on hiring formally educated technicians. Training is offered by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacist technician colleges include both clinical and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will prepare you for certification. This is true both for classes online as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the appropriate education and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Selma Alabama.