Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
How to Find the Right One Near Selma Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy tech certificate or degree near Selma AL, you may be thinking about just how to select the best program to receive your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find colleges that offer the degree or certificate that you are interested in. When checking out pharmacy technician schools, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While tuition and location are critical factors when choosing a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs as well as accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You may also decide to research a few accredited pharmacy tech online programs as an option to attending classes on campus. We will address these qualifications and others that you will need to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy techs have many job duties, but their principal duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform 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 precise when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their medications in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no situation should they ever give medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily functions a pharmacy technician may perform are:
- Welcome and help customers with medications and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist supervision
- Add prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Contact customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and monitor and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day on their feet. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work after hours is an extremely satisfying career assisting customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Diplomas and Degrees
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two options to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Selma AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually requires about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certifications Offered
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but many graduates of pharmacy technician colleges elect to become certified in order to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Selma AL pharmacies will only hire a tech that is certified. There are 2 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 at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is required every 2 years by both programs, which may be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Colleges Online
Before selecting a pharmacy tech online college, it's important to realize that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Selma pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Selma AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for most students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is provided. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is essential for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So confirm that each online college you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less formal type of education, then online instruction may be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Technician Schools
After you have determined whether you want to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online college or go to classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist technician colleges to pick from in the Selma AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare community colleges and trade schools. As we discussed in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for colleges that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Selma residence. If you are able to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other issues that you must take into consideration in order to adequately compare schools. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician College Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and vocational schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected 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 comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals only with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program as well as the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it might assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Selma AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire are certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on 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 College Offer Internship Programs? As we just covered, the NHA requires one year of professional experience for certification, which can be met by means of an internship program. Perhaps the best way to get practical clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work 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 fulfill the requirement. Find out if the colleges have associations with Selma AL area pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Securing that first position in Selma AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging undertaking without any help. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the field generating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of employer contacts where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Selma AL home. Those who have opted to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually 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.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to converse with some of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must confirm that the pharmacist technician school you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Selma AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would have to carry. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find Out More on Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Selma
Enroll in the Best Selma Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where assisting people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, many pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated techs. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist tech colleges incorporate both laboratory and classroom training. As we have addressed in this article, it's essential to choose a school that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the ideal choice. With the proper training and commitment you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Selma Alabama.
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