Pharmacy Tech Course
How to Choose the Right One Near Tillmans Corner Alabama
Having decided to earn your pharmacy technician degree or certificate near Tillmans Corner AL, you may be pondering just how to choose the best college to get your education and training. But just how do you undertake comparing and evaluating colleges so that you ultimately enroll in the right one? When checking out pharmacy technician programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While tuition and location are important factors when deciding on a college, they are not the only ones. Job placement and intership programs as well as accreditation are equally important if not more so as cost and location. And if you are interested in attending classes at home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifiers and some others that you will need to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the certificate and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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Pharmacy Technician Job Responsibilities
Pharmacy technicians have numerous job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when dispensing prescriptions they must perform under the management of a licensed Tillmans Corner AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities since they will be working directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medicines per the pharmacist's instructions. And they need to have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist 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 regarding medications or anything else. All such questions should be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the regular daily tasks a pharmacy tech might carry out are:
- Greet and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription drugs under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription 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 control inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, particularly for newer techs with low seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or at times being required to work off-hours is a very gratifying career assisting people with their health and well-being.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy technician school are qualified as long as they have a high school diploma or a GED. There are generally two alternatives to training to be a technician regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a diploma or a certificate, which typically can be finished in a year or less. These programs offer an overview to the different elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and generally include classroom and lab training. A number of programs also include an internship at an approved Tillmans Corner AL pharmacy or other facility. The second option is the Associate Degree program which typically takes about 2 years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does provide a more extensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program can furnish the necessary level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate decide to get certified.
Pharmacy Tech Certifications Offered
Certification is not required in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy technician colleges choose to become certified so as to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, many Tillmans Corner AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that has earned certification. There are 2 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 at least one year of work experience. The PTCB just requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is called for every two years by both programs, which can be met by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Schools
Before deciding on a pharmacy technician online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be conducted in a clinical environment. This is usually fulfilled in a local Tillmans Corner pharmacy or hospital through an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work with an experienced pharmacy tech so as to acquire some work place experience. Fortunately the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online in your Tillmans Corner AL home or via any available computer. This option is more practical for many students, especially for those who keep working while acquiring their degree or certificate. And online colleges are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and expenses for driving and course materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is offered. But not all online schools are accredited, which is essential for securing employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are looking at is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Pharmacy Tech Colleges
Once you have determined whether you would like to attain a degree or a certificate, and if you want to enroll in an online program or attend classes on campus, you can start to target your school alternatives. There are numerous pharmacist tech colleges to choose from in the Tillmans Corner AL area and throughout the United States, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will undoubtedly first start looking for schools that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Tillmans Corner residence. If you are willing to relocate or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be critical. But there are several other issues that you must consider so that you may effectively compare colleges. The following questions will help you in gathering that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacy Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician programs and vocational schools have acquired a national or regional accreditation. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Schools earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a comprehensive quality education. Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Make sure to confirm that the degree or certificate program in addition to the college you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it might help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, certification may mandate that the program of training is accredited. And a number of Tillmans Corner AL employers 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 every state, but many employers prefer that the technicians they hire are certified. The pharmacy technician program needs to ready its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of professional experience. This condition may be satisfied by entering a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be met with an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy technician is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy technician certificate or degree programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to meet the requirement. Find out if the colleges have a working relationship with Tillmans Corner AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Provide Job Placement Help? Finding that initial position in Tillmans Corner AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a difficult endeavor without any help. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the college has an excellent reputation within the profession creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of employer relationships where it can refer graduates.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they decide on will need to be within commuting distance of their Tillmans Corner AL residence. Those who have chosen 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 concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you might be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the kind of student that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the colleges you are researching what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with a few of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist technician program also.
Can the College Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must confirm that the pharmacist tech college you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Tillmans Corner AL area, check that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check 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 may miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Tillmans Corner Pharmacy Tech Program
Getting the best pharmacy technician training is a critical first step to launching your career in a gratifying profession where assisting people with their wellness is your objective. In the past, many pharmacy technicians were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of pharmacies can no longer operate this way 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 classroom and laboratory training. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a college that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This applies 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 schools so that you are certain to make the ideal selection. With the proper training and determination you can reach your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Tillmans Corner Alabama.