Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Sylacauga Alabama
It’s time to select and enroll in a pharmacy tech degree or certificate program near Sylacauga AL so you can receive the proper training to begin a career in the rewarding field of medicine. But just how do you approach comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the best one? When looking for pharmacy technician programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are significant concerns when choosing a school, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer rather than in a classroom, then finding an accredited online program will also be part of your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and others that you will need to include when comparing 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 courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have numerous job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must operate under the supervision of a licensed Sylacauga AL pharmacist. They must also have great customer service skills since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be absolute when filling prescription drugs per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology so that they can assist customers with understanding directions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical information and literature. However, under no circumstance should they ever provide medical advice relating to prescriptions or anything else. All such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. A few of the typical daily duties a pharmacy tech might perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medicines under pharmacist guidance
- Enter prescription and customer information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock 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 evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally being required to work after hours is a very fulfilling career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a tech whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an introduction to the different aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an approved Sylacauga AL pharmacy or similar facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does offer a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education down the road. Either program can provide the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certification Options
It is not required to earn certification in every state, but numerous graduates of pharmacy technician colleges opt to become certified so as to be more qualified in the job market. Also, a number of Sylacauga AL employers will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requires that the candidate be 18 years or older, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has one or more years of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the candidate has graduated high school and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every 2 years by both programs, which may be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Technician Online Classes
Prior to choosing a pharmacy tech online training program, it's important to understand that the majority of programs do require a portion of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is usually satisfied in an area Sylacauga pharmacy or health center by means of an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech so as to get some work place experience. However the balance or non-clinical training can be taken over the internet in your Sylacauga AL home or via any available computer. This alternative is more accommodating for most students, especially for those who continue to work while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are sometimes more affordable than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and study materials may be decreased substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is important for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that any online school you are considering is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online classes might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacy Technician Colleges
Once you have decided whether you would like to attain a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can start to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech programs to select from in the Sylacauga AL area and throughout the USA, so you must develop a list of qualifying questions so that you can compare colleges and vocational schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will probably initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Sylacauga residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be significant. But there are many other factors that you need to consider in order to adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your ultimate choice.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? The majority of pharmacist tech programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting organizations is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to furnish a complete quality education. Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to check that the certificate or degree program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping guarantee that you get a quality education, it might assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may 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 College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in every state, but many pharmacies desire that the technicians they employ be certified. The pharmacist technician college needs to ready its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students planning on obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition can be satisfied by participating in a college sponsored internship program.
Does the College Offer Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA requires a year of professional experience for certification, which can be fulfilled through 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 technician degree or certificate programs also require clinical training in order to graduate and an internship is an excellent way to satisfy the requirement. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with Sylacauga AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Offer Job Placement Assistance? Finding that first position in Sylacauga AL upon graduation, especially with no experience, can be a daunting task without some assistance. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also signifies that it has a large network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduates.
Where is the College Located? For many students, the college they decide on will have to be within travelling distance of their Sylacauga AL residence. Students who have chosen to attend online classes obviously will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges commonly charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What Size are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are considering what the typical student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer 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 opinions regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you need to confirm that the pharmacy technician college you ultimately pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an option and how many courses or credit hours you would have to carry. Also, find out what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family obligations.
Choose the Best Sylacauga Pharmacy Tech School
Receiving the right pharmacy technician training is an important first step to beginning your career in a fulfilling profession where helping people with their wellness is your mission. In the past, most pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, most pharmacies can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained technicians. Training is provided by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. The majority of pharmacy technician schools include both laboratory and classroom training. As we have discussed in this article, it's important to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This holds true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare programs so that you are certain to make the right selection. With the right education and determination you can realize your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Sylacauga Alabama.