Pharmacy Tech Program
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Sylacauga Alabama
Having made the decision to attain your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Sylacauga AL, you might be pondering just how to pick the right school to get your education and training. Naturally the initial step is to find schools that offer the degree or certificate that you would like to earn. When checking out pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are significant factors when picking a college, they are not the only ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are just as important if not more so as location and cost. You might also want to research 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 reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the degree and certification options available, and the benefits of online programs.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy techs have numerous job duties, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the management of a licensed Sylacauga AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service skills because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when preparing prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they need to have a comprehensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they may help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no situation should they ever offer medical advice regarding prescriptions or anything else. Any such questions should be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the typical daily services a pharmacy technician might perform are:
- Receive and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Enter customer and prescription data into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are prepared for pick-up
- Complete and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy techs will spend most of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also typical, especially for newer technicians with low seniority. But the payoff for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career helping people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech college are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are basically two alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational 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 introduction to the different facets of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. A number of programs also require an internship at an approved Sylacauga AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which generally takes about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Each program can furnish the necessary amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate decide to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but numerous graduates of pharmacy tech programs opt to get certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Additionally, a number of Sylacauga AL employers will only employ a technician 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 finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has graduated high school and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every 2 years by both programs, which can be fulfilled by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Classes Online
Before selecting a pharmacist technician online school, it's necessary to understand that the majority of schools do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is typically fulfilled in an area Sylacauga pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some real world experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training can be accessed over the internet in your Sylacauga AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more convenient for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online schools are often more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenditures for commuting and course materials may be decreased substantially. With both the online and the clinical training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online programs are accredited, which is important for obtaining certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are looking at is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
After you have decided whether you wish to attain a certificate or degree, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacist tech schools to select from in the Sylacauga AL area and throughout the Country, so you need to develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast community colleges and trade schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will most likely first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and driving distance from your Sylacauga residence. If you are able to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other factors that you need to take into consideration in order to effectively compare programs. The questions below will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician School Accredited? Many pharmacy tech programs and trade schools have earned a national or regional accreditation. Among the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive superior education. Online schools may additionally obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the certificate or degree program together with the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you get a superior education, it can assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Sylacauga AL pharmacies will only hire entry level employees that have earned a degree from an accredited school.
Does the School Prep You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to prepare its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB exam. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will also need one year of job experience. This qualification may be fulfilled by taking part in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of job experience for certification, which may be fulfilled by means of an internship program. One of the best ways to acquire hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require practical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to meet the requirement. Check if the schools have associations with Sylacauga AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the College Provide Job Placement Assistance? Finding that initial position in Sylacauga AL after graduation, particularly with no professional experience, can be a daunting undertaking without some support. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indication that the school has a good reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also indicates that it has a large network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the school they select will have to be within commuting distance of their Sylacauga AL residence. Those who have chosen to attend classes online naturally will not have to worry 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 choose to enroll in a program that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly 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 Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of student that likes to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the colleges you are considering what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacy technician program also.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist tech program you finally choose can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while you attend classes. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, verify that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Right Sylacauga Pharmacy Tech School
Finding the best pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a gratifying profession where helping customers with their health is your purpose. In the past, many pharmacist technicians were taught "on the job". These days, the majority of employers can no longer operate this way and place a higher importance on hiring formally trained technicians. Training is offered by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. Most pharmacist technician programs incorporate both clinical and classroom work. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to select a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies both for classes online and for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other suggestions you will be able to compare schools so that you are certain to make the right choice. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Sylacauga Alabama.