Pharmacy Tech College
How to Find the Best One Near Selma Alabama
Now that you have made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Selma AL, you may be pondering how to choose the right program to get your education and training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Many potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their residence, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you prefer studying in your home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be part of your vetting process. 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 discuss what a pharmacy tech does, the diploma and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Description
Pharmacy techs have various job functions, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must operate under the management of a licensed Selma AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be interacting directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they can help customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions would be handled by the pharmacist. Some of the common daily tasks a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Receive and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Prepare prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call 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 techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work after hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Certificates
Individuals desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically 2 options to becoming a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a trade school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs present an introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Selma AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically requires about 2 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 down the road. Either program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified so as to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, many Selma AL employers will only employ a tech that is certified. 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 completed 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 examination. Recertification is required every two years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Before choosing a pharmacist technician online college, it's important to understand that most programs do require a portion of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually satisfied in a local Selma pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the benefit of working under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to obtain some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be taken over the internet in your Selma AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while earning their certificate or degree. And online schools are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and expenses for commuting and course materials can be reduced significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized 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 training may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online school or go to classes on campus, you can start to target your school options. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to select from in the Selma AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and technical schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Selma residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other issues that you must consider in order to effectively compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacist tech programs 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). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and certified to furnish a complete superior education. Online programs may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals exclusively with online or distance education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And a number of Selma AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the Program Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous pharmacies prefer that the technicians they hire be certified. The pharmacy tech college should prep its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be fulfilled by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Provide Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be satisfied by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Ask if the programs have a working relationship with Selma AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Help? Securing that initial position in Selma AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting endeavor without any support. Ask if the colleges you are looking at 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 college has an excellent reputation within the field creating appeal for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a substantial network of employer contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Selma AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend online classes naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. 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 might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Big are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final decision. This will also give you an opportunity to speak with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician program you finally choose can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending classes. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More about How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Selma
Choose the Right Selma Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the right pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting people with their wellness is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacy tech schools incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our additional suggestions you will be able to evaluate programs so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the proper training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Selma Alabama.
Selma Pharmacy Tech Schools | Selma How To Become A Pharmacy Tech